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Late For Work 10/14: Vikings Beat Teams With 7-17 Record. Overrated?

Plus the Vikings’ defense, the Ravens’ defense, Flacco’s stock and the power rankings.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 at 9:28 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Vikings beat teams with combined 7-17 record. Overrated?

Yes, the Minnesota Vikings are 5-0. But, as Judd Zulgad of the Mineapolis Star Tribune points out, what Brad Childress’ team has done is make the most of an opportunity to play teams that have gone a combined 7-17.

The Vikings’ record includes victories over Cleveland (1-4), Detroit (1-4) and St. Louis (0-5). They needed Favre’s last-second heroics to beat San Francisco (3-2) at home. And the seven-point victory over Green Bay (2-2) was fueled by a division rivalry and Favre’s first shot against his former team.  Both tough games were at home.

What does all of this mean? Maybe nothing. But, the Vikings are feeling a lot like the Ravens were when they had a 3-0 record. The consensus among fans in message boards is that Minnesota’s win over the Rams last week was a “boring blowout.” Columnists at the Star Tribune are asking if the Vikings can keep focused at 5-0.

It may be a little early for Kevin Seifert of ESPN to debate whether this Vikings team is the most talented and well-balanced in years. And it might be a little early for Seifert to suggest the this team may be the franchise’s most successful since it appeared in Super Bowl XI, a mere 33 years ago.

The Ravens, or at least I, would like nothing more than to give this Vikings team a wake up call.

Vikings defense thriving

Members of the Vikings defense stated their collective goal on the first day of training camp to finish No. 1 overall in total defense, says Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.

Five games into the season, the Vikings have slipped to 14th in total defense, allowing an average of 320.6 yards per game. But, the Vikings say they are not overly concerned because they are thriving in takeaways (second-most in the league) and they lead the league in red-zone defense.

Must stop the run

In an online chat on nfl.com, a fan asked Terrell Suggs if it was more important to stop Adrian Peterson or Brett Favre on Sunday. Suggs’ reply:

“AP. If we stop the run, they can’t win. Favre could throw for 1,000 yards on Sunday and it wouldn’t matter to me. If they want to win, they have to run the ball.”

Stock drop

James Walker of ESPN says quarterback Joe Flacco’s stock is falling. In a big game for first place in the division in Week 5, Walker says Flacco was average for the first time this season. The second-year quarterback threw for 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in Baltimore’s loss to the Bengals.

Joe’s stock is not only dropping in Walker’s eyes, but he has fallen off several MVP watch lists, including that of SI.com’s Peter King. But, I’m sure Flacco couldn’t care less.

Rankings

It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago, the Ravens were sitting atop several of these rankings. Losing two nail biters to two worthy opponents and dropping up to 12 spots in two weeks – I’d say the Ravens are another example of how fluky these rankings are.

ESPN – dropped four spots to No. 11
Fox Sports – dropped five spots to No. 12
The Sporting News – dropped five spots to No. 14
CBS Sports – dropped four spots to No. 12
NFL.com – dropped nine spots to No. 13

Quick Hits

Former Ravens kicker Matt Stover confirmed that he was in Indianapolis Tuesday for a workout with the Colts.

Former Ravens wide-out/kick returner Yamon Figurs signed with his third team this season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Head Coach John Harbaugh told Brain Billick on FoxSports.com that he’s not too disappointed with the Ravens’ pass coverage. “It’s never as good as it seems and it’s never as bad as it seems.”

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