Sunday's victory wasn't pretty, but it was exactly the blueprint the Vikings should have had in mind at the start of the season: a lot of Adrian Peterson, a good defense led by a ferocious pass rush and a timely completion or two late in the game to seal the win.
Though it seemed like the Vikings were outplayed for long stretches of the game, they hung around with timely takeaways and stops on defense and were able to make enough plays late to win. Better late than never.
It appeared that the Vikings were perfectly positioned to execute that blueprint for victory earlier in the season, but because of their inability to make plays late in games on both sides of the ball, they got off to a 1-6 start.
Now with Christian Ponder taking the reins at quarterback, they made those plays this week and are set up to work their blueprint after the bye week for a few more victories.
With Peterson playing at a high level and Jared Allen hiding some of the secondary's deficiencies with his relentless pass rush, the Vikings can stay close to elite teams like the Packers and beat mediocre to bad teams like the Panthers and Cardinals.
To continue that blueprint, they need Ponder to maintain his play on third downs and get the crucial conversions to extend drives, and the running game to continue to be featured as prominently as it has.
After the bye, the Vikings have three winnable games in the second half of the season, with the Raiders and Broncos visiting the Metrodome, and the Vikings going to D.C. to face the Redskins. Five wins may not seem like a lot, but considering the way the season started, it could give Ponder and the rest of the team the confidence to execute the blueprint going into 2012.