|NFC North favorite stumbles out of the gate to 0-2 record|
|Written by Michael Boyd, Daily Vidette Sports Columnist|
|Wednesday, 22 September 2010 17:53|
When I missed my fantasy football draft this year, I was just hoping the auto-pick would give me one of the top-five running backs in the league.
With the fourth overall pick, I was not surprised to see that I got Ravens star Ray Rice. What did surprise me however was that I also got Brett Favre late in the fifth round.
Although I am a diehard Bears fan and despise the 40-year-old gunslinger, I was ecstatic at the thought of reaping the benefits of another 33 touchdown pass season from the Vikings quarterback.
But what I’ve gotten so far is squat, and that is exactly what every Vikings fan in the country has received as well.
Last year’s NFC runner-ups not only stumbled on opening night against the reigning Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, but the Vikings completely choked in week two against an average Miami Dolphins squad.
There are several reasons for the 0-2 start and the most obvious is the loss of wide receiver Sidney Rice. Rice became Favre’s go-to target last year, snagging 83 receptions for a total of 1,312 yards along with eight touchdowns.
Unfortunately, the six-foot-four wide out is recovering from offseason hip surgery from August and is expected to miss more than half of the 2010-11 season.
Even with the acquisition of former Green Bay Packer teammate Javon Walker and former Dolphin Greg Camarillo, Favre is still missing his Pro Bowl receiver and has tried to do too much to make up for his absence.
Favre’s four interceptions in the first two games prove my point.
Fans of the team better hope the rumors about a possible trade for San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson are true as another Pro Bowl caliber target for Favre will limit the amount of passes he tries to force downfield.
Once Rice returns from injury, Favre could potentially have the best wide out package in the NFL in Jackson, Rice, Walker, former Bear Bernard Berrian and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.
Minnesota was not supposed to rely on the passing attack for its success however. With arguably the best running back in the NFL at their disposal in Adrian Peterson, the ground game was going to be the meat and potatoes of the Vikings offense.
After a stellar first three seasons with the club, which saw an average of 1,495 yards and a little over 13 touchdowns, the three-time Pro Bowler has yet to deliver this season. On 47 attempts thus far, Peterson has tallied 232 yards for an average of 4.9 per carry, but only one touchdown.
That stat came back to haunt the Vikings last week late in the fourth quarter when head coach Brad Childress elected to hand the ball to Peterson four straight times from within the Miami 10-yard line when his team trailed 10-14.
The Miami defensive line prevailed all four times, and denied the Vikings their go-ahead touchdown.
The defensive side of the ball has not looked entirely sharp either.
Last year, the Vikings’ “D” came up big all season forcing 23 fumbles while only giving up 12. Currently they have only recovered two.
The same goes for interceptions. In 2009-10 the ‘Vikes snagged 11 picks while Favre only threw seven in the regular season. Through the first eighth of the season, Minnesota has yet to seize any.
With the red-hot Packers off to the start everyone thought they would be along with the surprising 2-0 start from Jay Cutler’s Bears, the Vikings have quickly found themselves in a hole they desperately need to climb out of.