The St. Paul Pioneer Press had a good article in today's paper about the recent Vikes success and the keys to it. I thought it was one of the better articles I have read lately. I have included a portion of the article below that I found interesting:
Was I surprised the Vikings won in Green Bay? No. Would I be surprised if they lose at home to Cleveland on Sunday? No. This is a very unpredictable group.
"We have more guys buying into what we are doing," Mike Tice said. "We have more guys believing we can win.
"Young guys are stepping up and playing well. It's just growth, the growth of the team."
There probably is some growth and maturity. But perhaps the most significant factor in the turnaround is the new formula for success. The Vikings no longer are a high-powered offensive team. For the first time in many years, they don't have to run up a big score to win.
"We're not going to score 35-40 points," Tice said. "Times have changed."
Said quarterback Brad Johnson: "You've got to let last year go. Just let it go and move on."
These Vikings, at least during their current period of good fortune, are relying on defense and special teams while hoping to eke out just enough offense. That is exactly what it takes to win on the road.
The shocker is that it has taken the Vikings so long to figure it out.
"I kind of like this new way," Tice said. "It works on the road."
Can you see the light bulb going on above the head of every coach, scout and front-office employee in the organization?
High-risk, pass 'em dizzy football is very entertaining. It also leads to a lot of mistakes, the kind that kill a team on the road. Interceptions, fumbles from the quarterback holding the ball too long, penalties from having to protect the passer for too long, injuries from scrambles and broken plays Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
Heck, it's great if you can do it. But a team needs a terrific offensive line and an extremely talented group of wide receivers to play that way. The Vikings don't have any of that.
So the running game has become much more important. Possession time is increasingly looked upon as a key stat as the offense grinds toward the end zone.
Tice understands that his team isn't going to get "huge chunks of yardage downfield." He says he would like to mix in several longer passes, but he isn't going to mess too much with the current blueprint.