In their first game under interim head coach Leslie Frazier, the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Washington Redskins 17-13 thanks to stifling run defense (29 rushing yards allowed) and a strong ground game minus Adrian Peterson (144 total rushing yards, two touchdowns). For the first time in recent memory, the performance of Brett Favre (15 of 23, 172 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT) was an afterthought.
Frazier has been adamant about his commitment to the run since taking over for Brad Childress a week ago. Considering the fact that the Buffalo Bills are still, by a wide margin, the league's worst run defense, that's not likely to change in Week 13. Has Favre, then, officially reached "game manager" status at age 41? I asked the Daily Norseman's Ted Glover that very question.
"I doubt Brett Favre will ever really be a game manager, truth be told," said Glover. "To be honest, I think there's a difference between a 'game manager' and a 'commitment to the run'. A game manager strikes me as a guy that can't go out and win games for you if he absolutely has to. Granted, Favre has had troubles with turning the ball over this year, but if the Vikings need a drive to win a game, I'll still take my chances with Favre."
Just how much of a departure is the new-look, Frazier-styled offense than the Childress offense? Glover had a few things to say about that idea, too.
"The Vikings, for whatever reason, have quit on the running game too early this season," Glover told me. "They get a nice rhythm going, make some plays, AP starts looking like he's ready to just explode, and then the run game is inexplicably abandoned. The only time they haven't was last week against Washington. Brad Childress talked about running the ball and 'imposing your will' on teams, but he was too quick to pull the plug. Frazier, along with coordinator Darrell Bevell, stuck with the run, even after Peterson got hurt, and it paid off. If Chilly had been the coach, a dime gets you a dollar that once AP got hurt last week, the Vikings would've run the ball less than ten more times that game."
Minnesota will surely continue to work Peterson and Toby Gerhart heavily, particularly since the Bills have held opposing quarterbacks to a pedestrian 76.8 QB rating in their last three games. Favre, for the record, has not been particularly successful in seven career games against the Bills, carrying a 78.0 career rating in those contests. He is 4-3 all-time against Buffalo, with two of those wins coming in 2008 as a member of the New York Jets.