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Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween from the Minnesota Vikings

As expected, the Minnesota Vikings coming to Gillette yesterday was similar to the circus coming to the TD Garden.

There was plenty of media coverage and in the end, the team with more substance (the Patriots) beat a team loaded with way more talent (the Vikings) but completely held back by their joke of a quarterback (Brett Favre) and powerless, enabler of a head coach (Brad Childress).

New England (6-1) won their fifth straight game overall, 28-18 over Minnesota (2-5) and surprisingly Favre (22 of 32, 259 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT) didn't cost them the game. However, since he couldn't win, he still had to get some attention and he successfully did that by acting like he was dead after a fourth quarter hit.

His pathetic 41-year old body was dragged off the field and he was laid on the training table. My buddy compared it to the Undertaker of WWF fame cause once the Vikings scored on the next play after he left, he raised his arm then sat up like nothing happened. Sure, he had a nasty laceration on his chin (which required eight stitches) but I feel no pity for the biggest fraud in sports and possibly on the planet.

Nobody with the Vikings has the balls to sit him down when he clearly can't help this Super Bowl contender as they fade faster than Randy Moss (1 catch, 8 yards) in crunch time.

Ah yes, it was Moss' return to Gillette after his surprising trade four weeks ago. The only thing more predictable than Favre's attention whore tendencies are seeing Moss completely disappear against our average secondary. Moss is done, over the hill, case closed.

He opened the field up for his teammates but he can't be counted on to do anything other than that anymore. It's all reputation with him now, his skills have really diminished. Seeing him reflect on his days as a Patriot after the game was strange but that's typical for his post-game stream of consciousness diatribes.

Adrian Peterson (92 yards rushing, 50 yards receiving) is still the best running back in the NFL, sorry Chris Johnson, but for the most part, the Pats contained him. He started off the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run to start the second quarter. It's a moot point since he probably would have gotten in on the next play (third down) but it didn't look like he broke the plain since Jerod Mayo (14 tackles) met him in the air and sent him flying back with a shoulder thump.

New England answered on the next drive with a 3-yard touchdown run by everybody's favorite folk hero Danny Woodhead (58 yards).

Childress had a chance to take a 10-7 lead into halftime but decided to predictably run up the gut with Peterson on fourth down late in the second quarter and he was stuffed.

Ryan Longwell gave the Vikings a 10-7 lead on their first drive of the third quarter with a 24-yard kick.

That's when the luck and bounces started to go the Patriots' way. Brandon Tate caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Brady on a broken play. Brady had absolutely nobody to throw to but he bought time with a spin move and then found Tate (101 yards receiving) wide open on the sideline after his defender bit on a short pass.

After that, Percy Harvin (6 catches, 104 yards) had a reception ripped from his hands by Devin McCourty, who returned it 37 yards. How much of a stud is McCourty? Nobody knew who he was when he was drafted late in the first round this April but he's proven to be a solid all-around football player: he can cover, tackle and play special teams. What's not to like about him?

From there, it was the BenJarvus Green-Ellis (career-high 112 yards rushing) show. He used the short field to get a 13-yard TD run which put the Pats up 21-10 late in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota was in the red zone halfway through the fourth quarter when Favre got crushed by bum Myron Pryor. On the next play, Tavaris Jackson threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Naufahu Tahi and then found Harvin for a nice grab in the corner of the end zone on the two-point conversion.

I'm not dumb enough to say Tavaris Jackson is the answer but how long can the Vikings stick with Favre? This season is pretty much a wrap already unless they win out or go on a crazy run (which is quite unlikely).

The Pats iced it with a long, clock-killing drive, including a 16-yard catch and run by Woodhead on third-and-12. Green-Ellis put it away with a 2-yard touchdown run, his first two TD game of his career.

Don't look now but New England is in first place in the AFC East, thanks to the Packers' shutout of the Jets, and they have the best record in the NFL. That doesn't mean anything in the middle of the season but it's crazy how much progress they've already made this season.

The Patriots go to Cleveland next Sunday afternoon to play the Browns. I'm not going to break out my Super Bowl DVDs quite yet but this season is quickly starting to feel like one of those magical years.

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