New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Know Your Enemy: Q&A with Vikings Territory’s Adam Warwas

Matt Cassel pitches the ball to Adrian Peterson. (Photo From Vikings.com)

Matt Cassel pitches the ball to Adrian Peterson.
(Photo From Vikings.com)

This week we hear from VikingsTerritory.com’s Adam Warwas as we get ready for the upcoming battle between the New England Patriots and the Minnesota Vikings.

Adam Warwas, founder of Vikings Territory, answered questions about the team the Pats will face this Sunday to help us know our enemy a little better.

1. The Vikings over-matched the Rams, especially on defense where they only allowed 6 points by the Rams and had 5 sacks in the game. Just how good is this Minnesota defense and what can they do Sunday to give New England fits?

Obviously, the Patriots are in a better position to succeed than the Rams were, as I hear this Tom Brady fellow is a little better than Austin Davis. However, the Vikings defense shocked fans who had grown accustomed to the conservative Tampa-2 style we’ve been playing in for so long. This defense looked so much faster, harder hitting, tougher and so much more aggressive under Mike Zimmer that it felt “too good to be true” last Sunday.

I worry about our linebackers covering Rob Gronkowski, but otherwise I’m not certain this defense showed us anything last Sunday to make me believe they can’t get the job done against New England. They will pressure Brady, Linval Joseph is a beast against the run, and even our secondary looks capable of sticking to New England’s wide outs and generating the occasional turnover.

Just how good are they this year? Well, Vikings fans are curious to find that out over the next two weeks.

2. Aside from Cordarrelle Patterson, who can do everything, who’s the best receiver on the Vikings team?

Hands down, it is Greg Jennings. He had a lackluster first season with the Vikings, but it is pretty much a consensus that it had more to do with Christian Ponder’s quarterback play than anything else. Jennings was always open, as has been well documented, but the production didn’t start adding up until Matt Cassel took over. Cassel and Jennings showed that the chemistry is still there as Jennings led the team in catches and yards last week, including a beautiful touchdown play.

Jennings is no spring chicken, but he is just so savvy in his route running and his hands are as dependable as ever. Patterson is an emerging threat, but some could argue that Jennings is still the more valuable of the two when it comes to the passing game.

3. What do you expect out of Adrian Peterson going against a line that allowed 132 yards rushing to Knowshon Moreno? How much of an impact do you expect him to make Sunday?

Contrary to the artificially inflated offseason chatter, I don’t think Peterson is in any sort of serious decline, and think he still has the weekly potential to break off a 200-plus yard game against any defense in the league. Last week, Norv Turner knew the Rams front seven has elite talent, and I think he called a much more conservative game than we will see against New England. I’d expect to see more shots down the field against the Patriots defense who will then, hopefully, have to spread themselves out.

If Matt Cassel can have a good day (a bad day always seems possible with him), then I think Peterson can match Moreno’s success and possibly even exceed it substantially.

4. Julian Edelman and Gronk are the clear number one and two guys for Tom Brady, how do you expect Minnesota will slow them down?

I think the Vikings are well-enough suited to cover Edelman over the course of 60 minutes. Captain Munnerlyn, possibly with some safety help, will certainly make Edelman work for his yardage.

Gronk is another story. He worries me because the Vikings have seemingly struggled with pass-catching tight ends since the beginning of time, and Jared Cook found space last week against us. I just don’t know that our linebackers are athletic enough to keep him in check over the course of an entire game and, in fact, doubt that they do. Our best chance at neutralizing Gronk is going to be via a tenacious and consistent pass rush, but even then I think he gets fed.

Let me put it this way: If I had Gronkowski on my fantasy team, I’d expect big things this week.

5. Is there an area of concern for Minnesota, either on offense or defense, heading into this game with New England?

Yes, of course. On offense, I think my biggest concern would just be that Matt Cassel has one of those “slump” type of days. He has those and, throughout his career, it seems pretty random when they come about. If Cassel can be mildly efficient, though, then I am fairly certain everything else will fall into place and this offense will do quite well.

The defense has me less confident, mostly because they have been so mediocre for so long. As a Vikings fan, you almost just assume last week was a mirage and this will be just another year of misery in the secondary. Mike Zimmer has given us faith, however, and they really did look like the real deal last week.

I think they can pressure Brady on a regular basis, I think your run game will suffer, and I think our secondary can mostly contain New England’s wide outs. The only thing I really worry about is our ability to contain Gronkowski. I really feel like our personnel is mismatched against him and they would have to sell out to stop him, leaving vulnerabilities elsewhere. How the Vikings attempt to cover Gronkowski will be a major factor in the outcome of this game.

6. Who wins in a foot race, Matt Cassel or Tom Brady?

Did you see Cassel’s jets in the preseason? I take Cassel in this one, but that isn’t saying much.

7. Prediction Vikings or New England and why?

Just a week ago, I predicted this game to be one that the Vikings lose, but now I am not so sure. It might be crazy to reverse that pick after just one week of the regular season, but no more crazy than basing it on the past achievements and failures of these two organization. That’s right, I’m changing my tune and picking the Vikings in a shootout.

34-24, Vikings

For the reasons mentioned above and many others (Kyle Rudolph – couldn’t get through all of this without mentioning him) I think Norv Turner will have a field day against this New England defense. I think Tom Brady will be able to exploit some favorable matchups, such as Gronkowski against Chad Greenway for example, but that the Vikings defense will be able to do enough to get another “W” under our belt.

No matter what, though, this game will be far more exciting and entertaining to watch than it would have been two years ago. I hope you all enjoy it, I know I will.


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3 Responses to “Know Your Enemy: Q&A with Vikings Territory’s Adam Warwas”

  1. […] Morgan asked me to return the favor by answering some questions about the Vikings and making a prediction of my own.  For that, please head on over to Patriots Gab to check it out. […]

  2. Fran the Man says:

    Just EXACTLY as Adam said. Vikings are going to prevail. And probably by quite a bit better margin. . .Adam is just to polite to rub the score in but luckily, I’m not!
    Vikings, 35-21.

  3. peterplaysbass says:

    I worry about Norv’s ability to beat New England. I don’t think Minnesota will score a ton in this game. They won’t go 3-out often, but they’ll have a mix of punts, FGs and a TD or two without getting any explosive/long plays.

    I see Minnesota scoring anywhere from 13 to 23 points on offense, but I’m not sure that will be enough. A defensive or special teams TD would help a lot.

    I see New England scoring 14 to 24 points on offense. This is a super interesting game to me. If it goes lopsided either way, it will be because of big plays or turnovers.

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