Pardon the lack of posting the last day - busy day for me. Back to it though as Sunday's intriguing matchup between the Vikings and Steelers approaches. Earlier in the week we look at a pair of interesting matchups in the trenches - Jared Allen vs. Max Starks and Kevin Williams vs. the interior offensive linemen of the Steelers. There are plenty of other interesting individual and unit matchups, but because it's late in the week, I thought I'd instead just cover a broader and more random range of thoughts and notes about the upcoming game.
* The Minnesota Vikings have won 16 of their past 19 regular season games. That's pretty darn impressive. They've also won their last 8 regular season games. Considering that 13 of those past 19 regular season games came with either Tavaris Jackson or Gus Frerotte under center, it's pretty safe to say that Minnesota has put together a fairly well-balanced and talented team on both sides of the ball.
* The Vikings have also won their past six road games dating back to last year. Now granted, the three road wins for Minnesota this year have come against the Browns, Lions and Rams. But that still doesn't tarnish the accomplishment. It's not as tough as it once was, but it's nevertheless not an easy task to avoid having a slip up or two every so often away from home field.
* The Vikings offense is off to a torrid start - Minnesota has scored at least 27 points in all six of their games, and have eclipsed 30+ points in four of the six.
* Minnesota has faced two competent quarterbacks in 2009 - Joe Flacco of Baltimore and Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay. Flacco threw for 367 yards; Rodgers for 342.
* Jiminy Christmas - how good is Adrian Peterson? AP has led the league in rushing yards per game in each of his first two professional seasons (95.8 ypg in '07; 110 ypg in '08) and is on pace to for a three-peat in 2009 (104 ypg). I'll be watching nervously to see if James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu are able to keep AP in front of them and not allow him to rip off any huge run(s).
* The top three completion percentages in the NFL through 6 weeks: 1) Peyton Manning (73.5 %) 2) Ben Roethlisberger (72.5 %) 3) Brett Favre (69.7 %).
* Brett Favre has never finished a season with a QB rating of 100 or higher. In fact, he's only had three season with a QB rating of 95 or higher. Big Ben meanwhile has three seasons with a 95 or higher QB rating, including one year where he eclipsed the century mark. Goodness, I love our quarterback.
* Since losing consecutive home games in the middle of last season, the Steelers have won 9 in a row at Heinz Field.
* The Steelers have the smallest point differential margin (+28) of any team that is tied for or winning their division through 6 weeks. That shouldn't come as any huge surprise - the Steelers haven't been able to blow any team out in quite some time (not counting Week 17 against the Browns last year), even though they are the defending champs and are sitting at a very respectable 4-2 thus far in '09.
* Phil Loadholt, meet LaMarr Woodley. The Vikings rookie right tackle has been pretty good so far for Minnesota, but he's a bit banged up and has been limited in practice for much of this week. Here's hoping Woodley has the breakout game we've been expecting out of him this coming Sunday.
* Bernard Berrian may lack the physical gifts of his teammates Sidney Rice or Percy Harvin, but it wouldn't surprise me if he has his number called quite a bit on Sunday. I'd imagine that William Gay will be defending him for much of the game and I'd expect the Vikings to call a lot of quick-hitting passing plays that don't allow the Steelers to really vamp up their pass pressure. Berrian may lack the explosiveness to burn the Steelers down the field, but he's more than capable of helping them grind out long drives and eat up precious game clock while Big Ben looks on.
Back to work for me. More soon.