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Good Bye

By Archie

The Minnesota Vikings will enjoy some much-needed time off as the team enters its bye week a little earlier than normal. The team will rest for Week 4 of the NFL season, the earliest a team is given a bye week. The break comes at a time when the Vikings need it most. The Vikings have earned just one win in three games, defeating the hapless Detroit Lions at home on Sunday handing the Lions their 13th loss in a row to the Vikings at Mall of America Field and the team's 23rd straight road game defeat.

The extra time off will be invaluable to the recovery of injured players and building on the cohesiveness of the offense as a whole, which took a couple steps in the wrong direction Sunday with injuries to starters Visanthe Shiancoe and John Sullivan.

Players looking to rehab from injuries will work hard throughout the off week to be healthy for the next game. Visanthe Shiancoe, the team's leading receiver through the first two games, was sidelined Sunday with a hamstring injury. In a depleted receiving corps, "Shiancs", as Favre calls his favorite tight-end, has been the most reliable target for Favre. He may be healthy in time to play in Week 5.
John Sullivan, center, played just one down on Sunday before leaving the game with a calf injury. It is unknown whether Sullivan will be able to play in Week 5. Ryan Cook delivered snaps to Favre in replacement for Sullivan on Sunday. Things started out shaky for Cook, who hesitated on some snaps and sometimes had a difficult time with Favre's hard count but after a couple of series he was able to handle the duties nicely. Cook should see extra practice time in the center position during the off week and be prepared for Week 5 should Sullivan be unavailable.

Sydney Rice is on schedule with his rehab from hip surgery and, with any luck, will be making his regular season debut for the Vikes on October 11th on Monday Night Football. It will be great to have Syd back!
Speaking of receivers, did you see Percy Harvin's diving TD reception on Sunday? It came after the Lion's fumbled a punt return on their own 20 yard line. Favre only needed one play to capitalize on Detroit's mistake. Harvin got wide open and streaked for the end zone and made an amazing grab to tie the game at 7-7. Despite Harvin's migraines and nagging hip he still plays hard on every down and makes the difficult plays look easy. The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year's contributions on Sunday added up to 62 yards receiving, including the TD score, and 13 yards rushing on two carries. At first glance those numbers may not seem like much, but remember that this offensive squad is making progress each and every game and improvement is what the team, and the fans, are all eager to see. Harvin's involvement as a play-maker is crucial to the team's success.

What about the old man?

Well, Brett Favre always seems to be beaten up and nursing an ankle, shoulder, or elbow injury of some kind and has admitted to feeling fatigued and dehydrated after three games. Favre's play on Sunday was decent. He was able to connect with Percy Harvin on one TD score and threw the ball for 201 yards and 2 INTs. Not a bad day but there is still work to be done getting familiar with his receivers.

The start of the NFL season was not as expected for the Vikings. Picking up a win in Week 3 was the best-case scenario for improving the team's mental health going forward.

The road ahead is not a smooth one for the Vikings. Three of the next four games are on the road, starting Monday Night at the New York Jets. As a silver lining to the tough schedule just one game is against a divisional opponent. The Vikes play the Packers at Lambeau Field Sunday, October 24th. The team's schedule also pits the Vikes on the road against the Patriots the 31st. The lone home game is October 17th vs the Dallas Cowboys. Getting healthy, both physically and mentally, is priority number one for the team during the off week.

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