Vikings, Lions searching for elusive first win
Two teams will be searching for the first win of the season Sunday when the Vikings host the Detroit Lions.
On the face of it you see a team caught in a downward spiral stuck at 0-2, its star athlete humbled for not being able to maintain control of the ball and its starting quarterback hampered by an injury, but you'd be wrong to write them off. It's a long season and success will come.
Relying on the strength of a dominant line, the defense will always keep the game close. Consistency on offense will be the key to the season and if not for a failed 2-minute drill last week and a couple of crucial misplays the week before, you would be looking at a 2-0 team.
"We've got a team that's coming here expecting to win a football game," Vikings coach Brad Childress said Wednesday. "They're 0-2, we're 0-2; wouldn't have it any other way."
They could easily be 2-0 though.
In a close game at the season opener in Chicago, Detroit's Calvin Johnson looked to have won the game with an end zone grab that ended up being ruled incomplete because he didn't maintain possession throughout the entire play.
Last week quarterback Shaun Hill, starting in place of an injured Matt Stafford threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns, but failed to move the ball after the Lions recovered an onside quick with 1:50 remaining as the Lions lost 35-32 to Philadelphia.
Much has been made about the Vikings schedule over the next two months, all playoff teams from last year, except for Chicago which currently leads the NFC North. A fast start was a must for the purple, but that didn't happen. Favre waited too long to unretire, Sidney Rice waited too long to have surgery and Childress waited too long to fix it. It was official at 3 p.m. Wednesday, when Minnesota opted not to make a deal for Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson.
Instead they announced the signing of former Eagles receiver Hank Baskett. He'll join Bernard Berrian, Greg Lewis and Greg Camarillo as the backbone of the Vikings aerial attack as Percy Harvin missed practice again with Migraines.
Berrian, Lewis and Camarillo have a combined seven catches this year, only two more than Baskett had last year with the Eagles and Colts.
"Familiarity never hurts," said Childress when asked about Baskett's signing. "We're always looking for guys that have a west-coast background."
With Rice out for at least another month and lingering questions about the health of Harvin, the focus of the passing game falls squarely on Brett Favre.
Favre needs only two touchdowns to become the first player in NFL history to throw for 500 touchdowns, but he may be running for his life on Sunday.
The Lions are 2nd in the league for sacks and hard-hitting rookie Ndamukong Suh has his sights set on Favre, he declared that over the summer.
"I would definitely like to sack Favre," he told KFXX radio in Portland. "That would be a nice notch on my belt."
Suh has been a beast for Detroit, in only two games the defensive tackle has nine tackles (three for loss), two sacks and three quarterback hits. If the Vikings are to be successful on Sunday they'll need to find a way to contain him, if they don't Chilly could lose both his Iron Man and the season.