Column: Vikings look like a team

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Now that was a little bit more like what a lot of Minnesota Vikings fans were thinking they were going to see when the 2005-2006 football season got underway.

And yes, I realize it was the Detroit Lions.

The Detroit Lions that are led by Joey Harrington.

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However, a convincing victory is still a convincing victory in the NFL no matter who the opponent is.

Twenty-one points in just seven plays may be a little unrealistic to expect each week.

But a running game that was effective led by oft-injured Michael Bennett’s 106 yards and a defense that was able to make plays will go a long way to helping the Vikings continue to climb back north in the standings.

It was Bennett’s first 100-yard game since Dec. 7, 2003, against Seattle, but it might be the jumpstart both he and the team need.

Not all of the Vikings’ success was their doing &045; missed tackles turned solid plays into big ones &045; but it was important for the team to see that they can have success anyway they can get it.

The biggest thing that I saw on Sunday was the play of Brad Johnson.

The one-time Viking who is donning the purple one more time probably is not the same quarterback he was when he led Tampa Bay to a title a few years ago, but he did remind me of another former Buc QB who has done good things.

Trent Dilfer.

I know, not a ringing endorsement but maybe it can be.

If Johnson can manage games without throwing interceptions or turning the ball over the Vikings may just get into the thick of a division race that is anything but sewed up.

Don’t you think Baltimore, which hasn’t scored more than 20 points in a game so far this season, would like to have a veteran QB under center right now like Dilfer.

After all he did lead them to a Super Bowl victory only to be discarded for Kyle Boller.


Johnson doesn’t have the ability or natural talent of Daunte Culpepper but he has proven to be capable of playing well enough under center to take a team all the way to a Super Bowl victory himself.

A trip to the title game is not realistic for the Vikes right now but after a trip to New York to face the Giants this weekend, Minnesota has four games that it should have a very good chance to win.

A road game at staggering Green Bay, followed by a home date with rebuilding Cleveland, a trip to Detroit and a home contest with St. Louis.

For all the negatives that have surrounded this team so far this season a win is a big positive and maybe, just maybe a chance to put something positive together.