Let's learn a little bit about the next opponent this week, the Minnesota Vikings, shall we? And what better way to do that than by talking with the SB Nation blogger who covers the team. I exchanged questions with Eric Thompson from Daily Norseman and have his answers to my questions for all of you today.
I'd like to thank Eric for taking time to answer my questions. To read my answers to his questions, check out Daily Norseman on SB Nation.
Dave Cariello: Let's not beat around the bush, I'm in the playoffs in my fantasy league and I've got Adrian Petersen on my team. Is he gonna freakin' play or what?
Eric Thompson: All signs are pointing to AP playing on Sunday. It sounded like he probably could have played last week in Detroit, and he practiced on Wednesday. Good news for your fantasy team, bad news for your real team. I have Peterson in one of my fantasy leagues as well. He's in the starting lineup for the playoffs until I hear otherwise. I'd still expect to see a dusting of Toby Gerhart and Lorenzo Booker if he starts, but Peterson should get the bulk of the carries barring a big setback.
Dave: Christian Ponder was benched during last weeks game so what's next for the Ponder Project? And who will be playing quarterback this Sunday?
Eric: Everyone, especially Leslie Frazier, is hoping that last week's game was simply a clunker from Christian Ponder. He's still a rookie with only seven NFL starts under his belt, and he really looked like a rookie against the Lions. Frazier named Ponder the starter for the New Orleans game immediately after the game last Sunday and that won't change.
Most Vikings fans are hoping that the last game was a one-time anomaly rather than Ponder getting exposed, and I honestly think that's the case. Ponder obviously needs to play better through the last three games of the year to prove that he's the long-term solution at quarterback in Minnesota, and I truly believe he will. He was limited with his mobility last week due to a hip pointer suffered in the Denver game, and I think that hindered his decision making skills. Ponder has been excellent with his legs this year. I think the combination of his injury and an awful offensive line in front of him forced him into some very bad decisions.
Some Viking fans have called for more Joe Webb after he took the Vikings within a yard of a huge comeback after Ponder was benched. He's kind of Minnesota's version of Tebow Lite--he can't pass worth a lick, but man can the guy run. I hope that Minnesota's coaching staff can find creative ways to get Webb the ball in the future, because he can do some incredible things when he has some space. But for now, Ponder's definitely the starter.
Dave: In a season filled with disappointment, who/what has been a bright spot for Vikings fans?
Eric: Well, Donovan McNabb is no longer a Viking, Bernard Berrian was finally relieved of his duties, and it has been over a year since the Metrodome roof collapsed--does that count?
But seriously, you have to admire the season that Jared Allen is having. While he may have just bad mouthed the fair city of N'awlins, he's still having a ridiculous year. No matter what the score or situation is, Allen is constantly attacking in the opponent's backfield. He even played long snapper perfectly for a game! If the rest of the team played with Allen's passion and desire, Minnesota would have a lot more than two victories right now.
Dave: What do you think will be the most important matchup in this game?
Eric: The Vikings' (complete lack of) secondary against the Saints' (unfair amount of) wide receivers and tight ends. I seriously have no clue how Minnesota's abysmal and beat-up corners and safeties will slow down the likes of Devery Henderson, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore, and Robert Meachem. The Vikings haven't intercepted a pass in EIGHT GAMES! EIGHT!! Unless the secondary play improves astronomically, the Saints should put up Arena League numbers this week.
You asked me about AP in the first question mostly because of fantasy reasons. Well here's my implication: I have Drew Brees as my QB in both fantasy league playoffs this week. I'll seriously be disappointed if he scores less than 30 points for my teams.
Dave: Complete this sentence: Every time the Vikings ______ I want to gouge my eyes out with a dull and rusty spoon.
Eric: Um, "play"? Or is that too harsh? It's so, so sad to watch the Rams, see how terrible they are, and then realize that my favorite team has the exact same record. And unless the Rams upset the Bengals this week, that fact isn't going to change because there is no way the Vikings win on Sunday.