Hate placing a must-win tag on any team this early in the season, but if the Vikings don't win the home opener Sunday against Cleveland the whole thing might get ugly. Fans already are frustrated with the starting QB, the offensive approach, the perceived bad defensive calls at the end of the Chicago game and the fact the December of dominance it enjoyed last year is slow to go this season.
The Browns are averaging eight points a game and have scored one TD this year. Stud running back TRENT RICHARDSON is off to a non-descript start and averaged 3.2 YPC last game. They have gone against a couple of quality defenses in Miami and Baltimore and must look at the Vikings as a chance to break out. After all and for myriad reasons the Vikings are allowing 32 1/2 PPG and 440 YPG.
Too, their best WR JOSH GORDON debuts off suspension, and he had a quality preseason (nine catches, 23 YPR). These Browns might be looking at us as a chance to right the proverbial ship, and we absoliutely cannot permit that to happen.
Shoot, the Browns most likely will be sans their starting QB, too, and JASON CAMPBELL or BRIAN HOYER will get the call. This absolutely is a win, right? Our passing game clicked pretty well at Chicago (especially in the second half), and ADRIAN is coming off a 100-yard game. Peterson found the century mark on 26 carries, and my feeling is when he totes the ball 26 times that should be a 175-yard game or better. In fairness, Adrian slipped a couple of times I genuinely believe he was set to pop one, so that number could be a ton higher.
MVP has more yards through two games this year than he did last year and went for more than 2,000 yards in 2012. He absolutely still can bust ERIC DICKERSON'S single-season record, and I am curious to see what changes with the approach when Pro Bowl FB JEROME FELTON returns for the London game. They might go back to more run-heavy sets and just ride MVP to win after win. I hope that's not the case because JENNINGS and RUDOLPH are getting open plenty of times, and JEROME SIMPSON is off to a fast start.
From a running back standpoint we obviously have to do a better job Sunday against Richardson than we have the first two games. From REGGIE BUSH to JOIQUE BELL to MATT FORTE we have permitted 463 total yards to halfbacks, and that's just an awful number. Forte entered Sunday's game averaging 69 RYPG versus Minnesota and left almost cracking 100.
Bush beat us for almost 200 rushing and passing and came back last week at Arizona and amassed 69 total yards. The Cardinals placed a major focus on him, allowed MEGATRON to score two TDs and still found a way to win. We did a great job versus Johnson, but last game Forte had 161 total yards and BRANDON MARSHALL got loose for more than 100 yards and one. Tight end MARTELLUS BENNETT scored twice on us and Cleveland's TE JORDAN CAMERON is off to a wonderful start, averaging 102 YPG and has scored Cleveland's only TD.
This needs to be a total team effort to bounce back Sunday. The QB cannot miss guys wide open for big gains, Adrian needs to push the 150-yard rushing mark, rookie WR CORDARRELLE PATTERSON needs to play more than six plays, the defense needs to shut down Richardson and the coverage teams need to throttle Clevelands kick-return game. This just has to happen. Cleveland has some nice players on defense in PAUL KRUGER and JOE HADEN and is a tough, physical team.
I don't care if we grind out a 24-10 win or whatever, just win. The fan base desperately needs it because it is hurting and upset we already are 0-and-2 in the division. They want to leave a game feeling good about the team, kind of like it did last year after killing Houston and scoring the "win-and-in" against Green Bay. Copyright the lategreat AL DAVIS "Just win, baby!" No more of this "Just win, maybe?"