49ers-Vikings: A Q&A with Daily Norseman

We've had yet another great week of discussion in the opposing blogger FanPost.  Big thanks to Gonzo and his followers, and of course great discussion from NN readers as well.  However, I had a few specific questions I wanted to draw out in our weekly Q&A with an opposing blogger.  Gonzo was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about a variety of Vikings-related issues heading into tomorrow's huge contest between the 2-0 squads.  I also answered 5 questions for Gonzo.  Feel free to head over and check out the answers and provide your own insight.  Remember, NFC dominance is on the line.

NN: Favre! Favre! Favre! Ok, needed to get that out of my system.  Given that Adrian Peterson is such a beast, is the Vikings offensive scheme intended to minimize Favre's passing opportunities and basically be some sort of advanced game manager?  Can you provide us some details on Favre's role in the offense?

DN: The thing about the Vikings' offensive scheme thus far is that Favre is still clearly getting a grasp of the system and, more importantly, the tendencies of his teammates.  As I said in a post earlier this week, it seems that the Vikings sort of treated the Cleveland and Detroit games as extensions of the pre-season in order to give Favre some more work and build his rapport with his teammates.  It's amazing to me that the guy went out and completed 85% of his passes last week when he still, clearly, doesn't know all the nuances of the Vikings' offensive scheme.  Now, they won't be able to get away with that this weekend against the Niners, and I think everybody knows that, so it will be interesting to see what kind of aerial attack we see from the Minnesota offense on Sunday.

NN: With the Williams Wall back in action this season, this would seem to be Frank Gore's biggest test of the season.  Small sample size aside, Football Outsiders ranks your defense 3rd against the pass and 11th against the run.  Will the Vikings focus on Gore and leave their corners out on an island given Shaun Hill's limitations?  Or should 49ers expect a big mix of pass rush and run defense?  And yes that last question is rather poorly worded.

DN: The Vikings will bring the heat on Shaun Hill in obvious passing situations. . .and if the Williams Wall and middle linebacker E.J. Henderson can step up their performances from the past couple of weeks, where the Vikings' rush defense has been weaker than we've become accustomed to, hopefully there will be a lot of "obvious passing situations."  From what I've seen, the Vikings have run blitzed a whole heck of a lot during the first two weeks of the season, but I'm sure that's something that will change with a back like Frank Gore in the mix for San Francisco.  But the Vikings feel that they can generally get enough pressure with their front four on defense that they can get away with blitzing just every so often, and against most teams that proves to be accurate.

Minnesota's offensive line has given up seven sacks in the first two games.  The only two teams that have allowed more are. . .the two teams that Minnesota faces in the next two weeks, San Francisco and Green Bay.  Given those numbers and the tendencies of both offenses thus far, I'd anticipate both quarterbacks going down a few times this Sunday.

NN: What's the deal with Harvin's migraines?  Was this an issue in training camp or in the first weeks of the season?

DN: This is really the first time we've heard about Harvin having an issue with migraines.  He had a couple of incidents during the off-season when he was ill, but they were dismissed as him having the flu.  I'm hoping that this doesn't turn out to be a serious problem.  He's listed as questionable for Sunday's contest, so we'll have to see what happens there.

NN: Brad Childress doesn't get a lot of love nationally.  What does he bring to the table as a coach?  Or are the VIkings successful in spite of him?

DN: I'll begrudgingly admit that Childress has gotten better as a coach in the time he's been in Minnesota.  His offensive play calling is sadly predictable most of the time, but that's something that could change starting this weekend, depending on how comfortable he feels Favre is with the offense.  But you can't argue with the fact that his team has improved by 2 victories every year he's been the head coach (6-10 to 8-8 to 10-6), and that the Vikings have added a lot more talent since he took over.  He's still not my favorite Vikings' coach of all time, by any stretch, but he's getting better.

NN: Is there somebody under the radar that 49ers fans can expect to make an impact on Sunday?

DN: Percy Harvin has gotten a lot of the ink for the Vikings through the first two games between his running, receiving, and kickoff returns.  But he hasn't been placed on the punt return unit. . .that distinction has gone to second-year man Darius Reynaud, and he's responded quite favorably to his new responsibilities.  He's returned four punts (along with four fair catches), but in those four returns he's averaging 19 yards per return.  Those sorts of things are difference makers, and given the opportunity, Reynaud could be the guy that Niners fans might not know about that makes a big impact on this Sunday's contest.

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