This week I had an opportunity to exchange with Dan Zinski from FanSided’s The Viking Age.
Take a look at what he had to tell me about this weekends matchup between the Giants and Vikings. Highlights include Brett Favre’s real status, whether he’ll retire next year, whether the Giants can stop Adrian Peterson, and what the X-Factors for both teams are this Sunday.
Brett Favre, on the tip of everyone’s tongue. He’s barely practiced this week and word is he can barely tie his shoes — is that an indicator for whether Favre is going to play or not this week?
Normally I would say Favre’s physical status during the week means nothing, cause you know, he’ll be half-dead and then suddenly miraculously play…but this time I think it might be different. He really took a hard shot against Buffalo, and the fact that he couldn’t get back into the game says a lot. I’d like to believe he’s playing possum but I suspect he truly is hurting. I think it’s probably 50-50 right now. The people who say he definitely will play have just bought into the Favre myth a little too much. He’s human, he’s got a breaking point. I think we may have found it.
If he starts I think he’ll try to stay in the whole game. I’m not buying this thing where he just plays a few plays to keep the streak alive, or wimps out if the Giants get after him too hard. That’s not the way he’s wired. He’ll stay in until someone kills him. Which could happen, considering how banged up our O-line is, and how hard the Giants’ D-line gets after it.
I think fans are nervous every time Favre steps on the field, cause he’s old and can’t move. Obviously the Giants are a pretty fearsome defense this year so maybe there’s a little extra concern. And yes I think he’s done after this year, for real. It’s got nothing to do with him saying he’s done, cause he’s said that before, but it’s all the other stuff, the injuries, the off-field crap, just his body language at times and his demeanor. I think we’re seeing the last of him.
Right now I don’t think anyone can stop him. The run blocking has only been so-so but it doesn’t matter. He’s seeing the holes better than ever and seems to have his burst back after looking a little slower last year. My advice for defenses would be to forget about trying to strip the ball – cause he doesn’t fumble anymore either – and just concentrate on getting him down. I’m sure, with either a half-dead Favre or fully living Tarvaris in there, the Giants will load the box.
I can’t really read anything into Rice’s performance with Jackson against Buffalo because he missed so much of the season and didn’t really get into the swing of things until that game. Favre didn’t get any rhythm going with Rice because Rice just wasn’t up to speed yet. Maybe Jackson is a tiny bit more accurate throwing the deep ball than Favre right now, because Favre’s arm is shot and Jackson’s is still fresh.
I’m sure if Favre is in there the Vikings will use Shiancoe a lot. Can’t say the same for Jackson because I don’t think he reads the field that well, so he sort of forgets about his tight end. Shank’s actually had kind of a down season compared to last year, especially in his touchdowns. He’s working just as hard but the opportunities haven’t been there as consistently. I expect as Rice gets back into the groove downfield, Shank will see more open area underneath. If the Giants want to limit him, I’d watch out for the seam routes, which is where he does a lot of his damage.
It’s hard to say if Percy will play. He’ll miss practice, then the migraine will clear up and he’ll play, but it’s completely unpredictable. Everyone was expecting him to play last week but the migraine just never went away, and now it’s lingering into this week. They’ve tried lots of stuff with him including some kind of gadget to help him sleep better. The favorite theory right now is that cold weather triggers the migraines, since he had a bad one at the start of winter last year too. This obviously doesn’t bode well for his future in Minnesota. Unless global warming kicks in here in the next few years, I think Percy may flee south once his contract is up. Well, unless the Vikings go to L.A., then he’ll be good.
There won’t be any surprises. The Vikings aren’t that into wrinkles, they just like rushing their front-4 really hard. Jared Allen and Kevin Williams are playing terrific and Brian Robison and Letroy Guion are coming on strong. Eli caught this team at the wrong time. And we know Eli has had some tough games against the Vikings in the past. Didn’t Darren Sharper pick him off fifteen times one game? He’s glad Sharper’s not here anymore, I’m sure.
I would figure Bradshaw would be the main concern for the Vikings, even with his injured wrist. I know you’ve got Smith and Nicks coming back too. Kevin Boss is a guy I’d look out for because he’s been coming on strong the last few weeks, and the Vikes have some problems covering the middle where the tight ends roam. If Eli gets time, I imagine the Giants might try to attack deep down the sideline the way Aaron Rodgers and the Packers did a couple weeks ago. The Packers really exposed the Vikings’ corners. Thanks to injuries the Vikings are having to use guys like Frank Walker and Lito Sheppard, which could be slightly terrifying against a good passing team. Obviously, it’s all about the pass rush. If the Vikes get after Eli they should be all right. I know the Giants can run the ball but I never really worry about the run. We clog the middle well and our linebackers really chase down ball-carriers.
I think it’s Percy’s health. If he plays the Vikings will have a well-rounded offensive attack. Without him I think they might be a tad limited. They did well against the Bills because the Bills just stink, but against a good defense, you need to be able to work the whole field. The Vikings’ offense clicks when they can use Percy in the slot and get him some plays in the backfield, just move him all around and find ways of getting him the ball.
What is the X-Factor for the Giants?
The offensive line. I know it’s been good despite having injuries, but the Vikings’ front-four is playing really well right now. They better hold up or Eli will have a tough day.
Vikings win 24-21.