The Vikings’ 2015 season so far has been incomplete: solid at home and indifferent on the road. At 2-2, the Vikings get to regroup and figure out how they can take their show on the road and break through.
The Vikings lost 20-3 at San Francisco on Monday Night Football September 14. The Vikings rebounded for back to back 26-16 and 31-14 victories over Detroit and San Diego at home. Sunday the Vikings had a chance to get a big first road win at Denver. The game was tight — in fact, it was tied 20-20 in the fourth quarter. The team with the better defense, Denver, won it.
The Broncos’ number-one-rated defense sacked Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater seven times and held Adrian Peterson in check, which is under 100 yards rushing. Peterson was held to 81 yards but did bust a 48-yard touchdown run that cut Denver’s lead to 20-17 in the fourth quarter. Peterson has 17 career touchdown runs of 40 yards or more. Only Hall of Famer Barry Sanders has more with 20.
The Broncos were able to run the football consistently with Ronnie Hillman (103 yards) and C.J. Anderson (43 yards). The Broncos average 6.0 yards per carry against the Vikings, who intercepted Peyton Manning twice.
The Vikings are 2-2 and now chasing the 4-0 Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. After the bye week, the Vikings play host to Kansas City and St. Louis at TCF Stadium with back-to-back road games in between at Detroit and Chicago.
The Vikings are close but have not been consistent offensively on the road; they need to fix that. Averaging 12 points a game on the road is not going to cut it, or chasing the Packers will be a big uphill problem. Peterson, however, looks like himself he has been explosive with 372 yards rushing in four games.
The early season blueprint to victory is Peterson rushing for 100-plus yards and the defense wrecking havoc at opposing quarterbacks. The Vikings have shown some signs that they can be a good football team. They are 2-0 when Peterson runs for 100-plus yards — 0-2 when he does not. The problem is they have to be able to take that show on the road and dictate to their opponents. With the bye week early in the season, they have time to regroup.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.