The game must be getting close because it's time for 5 Questions. This week, we speak to Gonzo over at the Daily Norseman.
Blogging The Boys: We know all about Adrian Peterson, he's the man. I read some stuff about the amount of carries he's getting and maybe he should get more. What's the story on that? Is he getting enough of the touches and how are they utilizing him?
Daily Norseman: There hasn't been a hotter topic over the last week than "Should Adrian Peterson be getting more touches?" With as hard as I've been on Brad Childress since he took over as Vikings coach. . .and, I might add, rightfully so in most cases. . .I think this is one thing that he's doing right. Adrian Peterson is the long-term future of this franchise, at least offensively, and the last thing we need to do is turn him into the next Earl Campbell. . .a guy that started off his career in spectacular fashion, but took such a beating over his first few years that he just physically fell apart. Having Peterson split carries with Chester Taylor at this point is the right thing to do. As the season progresses, Peterson will slowly begin to take over more of a lead role, and there's a good chance that Taylor won't even be a Viking next year at the rate this is going, but for now I think that Brad Childress is handling things the proper way.
BTB: Tell us about your young QB Tarvaris Jackson? What can we expect out of him on Sunday?
DN: While Tarvaris Jackson is nowhere near being an upper-echelon quarterback at this point in his career, I don't think he's nearly as bad as a lot of people make him out to be. I saw your review of the Bears/Vikings game from last week, and you found the real problem with the Vikings' passing game. When Jackson gets time, he goes through his reads well and gets the ball to the open man. The problem usually comes when we ask that open man to catch the football, as you saw on a couple of slant patterns to Sidney Rice and Troy Williamson against the Bears. I don't expect this team to put games on Jackson's shoulders yet and ask him to win. What I want to see out of Tarvaris Jackson at this point in his career is to see him play mistake-free football like he did last weekend at Soldier Field. With our team being constructed the way it currently is, our best chance to win is to control the clock with the run and the short passing game, keep the opposing offense off the field, and not give the opposing team more possessions. If Jackson can do that, then this team should be in almost every game this season.
BTB: What's the problem with the Viking's pass defense? Is it the young corners besides Antoine Winfield? Are you not getting enough pass rush? Break it down for us.
DN: It's a little bit of both, actually. I love Antoine Winfield, one of the NFL's truly underrated players, but the rest of the Vikings' corners have had problems. Cedric Griffin, who came on in the second half of his rookie year in 2006, has gotten picked on a lot, as has rookie Marcus McCauley. Griffin in particular seems to have really fallen off. He's giving too much cushion, his technique has been bad, and he's missing tackles when his receiver does catch the football. The Vikings seem to be having their annual problems covering tight ends, too. . .bad news for them to have to see Jason Witten lining up across from them all day.
The pass rush is better than it was last year, but not as improved as I think the Vikings would have liked. The other big problem with the Vikings' pass defense is that teams know that they're so good against the run with the Williams boys in the middle that they usually just give up on it. They'll throw in sort of a "token" run every once in a while to keep the Minnesota defense honest, but then they go right back to throwing the football.
BTB: The receiving corps has been inconsistent so far. Who do you see as your best receiver? Besides Peterson, who else on the offense do the Cowboys need to watch?
DN: In terms of pure physical talent, Minnesota's best receiver is clearly Sidney Rice, our second-round pick out of South Carolina in the 2007 Draft. At 6'4" and 215 pounds, he's got great size for an NFL receiver, he's got the speed to get deep, and he's got outstanding hands. Right now, his biggest weakness is his route running, but I think that as the season continues, the Vikings will realize what kind of talent this kid is and start getting him the ball on a more frequent basis. If the Vikings get close enough to attempt it on Sunday, I'm sure you'll see at least one attempt at a fade in the end zone to #18.
Outside of Rice, Peterson, and Chester Taylor, the other player for the Dallas defense to watch out for is Visanthe Shiancoe, a tight end that we signed this off-season. There have been a couple of games this season where he's disappeared, but when he gets worked into the flow of the game, he's shown to have pretty good hands and the speed to get down the seam. We'll have to wait and see exactly how involved he gets in this week's offense.
BTB: What's the game plan for a Minnesota victory?
DN: The game plan for a Minnesota victory is pretty much what I described above. . .control the clock with the running game, don't turn the ball over, get pressure on Tony Romo, and get off the field on third down. Unfortunately, the Vikings are going to have to play the perfect game in this one to pull off the upset, and I don't think they're going to be able to do it. My final score prediction for this one is along the lines of 27-17, Dallas.