Posted by: Jeff | September 9, 2010

Bad Blood

I’m a big Vikings fan, so the beginning of this season is unavoidably tinged by the lasting effects of disappointment from January, when the Vikings’ seemingly inevitable march to the Super Bowl was cut short by a pretty vicious New Orleans team that benefited from a few calls (and non-calls) from a refereeing crew that eventually drew criticism from the NFL League Office.  I don’t think too highly of the Vikings’ chances to duplicate the fantastic 2009 season, but I really want to beat the Saints tonight in New Orleans.

In its 31-28 overtime defeat to the eventual Super Bowl champions, Minnesota accumulated 475 yards of total offense. This included 122 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson.

The only issue was that Peterson fumbled twice, and could have been charged with a third that resulted in a key turnover late in the first half, as the Vikings finished with three lost fumbles and two interceptions.

Then there was the 12-men in the huddle penalty late in the fourth quarter as the Vikings were driving with hopes of taking the lead. That led to Brett Favre’s(notes) ill-timed pass into the middle of the field which was picked off by Saints cornerback Tracy Porter(notes).

All of this, however, seems to have been overshadowed by the beating that Favre took at the hands of a Saints defense that is led by coordinator Gregg Williams.

It became evident rather quickly that if the 40-year-old Favre was going to remain on the field that day he was going to pay the price. New Orleans was assessed two 15-yard penalties for hits on Favre and defensive linemen Bobby McCray(notes) ($20,000) and Anthony Hargrove(notes) ($5,000) were both fined by the NFL.

A high-low hit on Favre in the third quarter left him with a damaged ankle and resulted in an interception. Only later did it result in an NFL executive admitting a penalty should have wiped out the pick.

Vikings coach Brad Childress has said on more than one occasion of late that he didn’t like the Saints approach. “What I hate to see are late hits or attempts to hurt anybody,” Childress said. “I don’t think there’s a place for that in the game.”


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