So what is the average Vikings' fan hoping to see in this weekend's home game against the Buffalo Bills? Well, here's a laundry list that could probably cover just about everyone.
First, the first-string offense needs to finish its drives. It's fine for coaches to say they saw good things out of Chris Ponder but the team needs to start scoring points. Fans don't care how they do it, just put points on the scoreboard.
Second, the defense needs to play much better against the run.Three different San Francisco running backs combined for 182 yards on the ground Friday and none of them was named Frank Gore. You can talk about making adjustments or switching out personnel but the defensive line and linebackers have to play better.
Third, the wide receivers need to show a bit more. We need to see them get open consistently and find the chemistry they're going to need with Ponder. Granted, Percy Harvin and Jerome Simpson were non-factors on Friday but it's time to start letting the wideouts make plays.
Fourth, get rookie safety Harrison Smith some time with the first team. We realize it's difficult for first-year players to excel at that position right away in the NFL, but you spent a first-round draft choice on him so let's roll him out there.
Fifth, have the defense stop the opponents a few times so we can see what the Vikings' punt return team is going to look like. There are a bunch of guys practicing at the return position but that's a job that is usually won in games.
If the Vikings can address most of these points in the matchup against Buffalo, fans will not only be happy, they'll have hope. And hope is exactly what everyone needs going into the regular season.