Defending “a Blade of Grass”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 25, 2009 – 3:24 pm

We mentioned earlier today, and linked to a video of, the Vikings late-game goal line stand against the Chiefs last Friday night that preserved a 17-13 victory. Kansas City had driven down to the Vikings 1-yardline with 55 seconds to play, but the Vikings stood firm thereafter and denied the Chiefs on 4 consecutive plays from only 3 feet away.

Following today’s practice, Vikings assistant coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was asked about the way his defensive reserves performed in those final 55 seconds last Friday.

“It’s huge,” Frazier said. “As a defense, we talk about defending a blade of grass. Just give us a chance to defend a blade of grass. For the young guys to buy into that this early and go out and do what they did gets you excited and makes you feel good about those guys.”

Immediately after the 4th-down play, a pass that was ruled incomplete after Karl Paymah pushed a Chiefs WR out of the endzone, several Vikings defenders rushed onto the field to celebrate the victory with their teammates. But prior to that snap, Frazier said it was good to see plenty of other starters rooting their teammates on in the game’s most crucial moment.

“It was awesome to see Pat Williams and Kevin Williams and all those guys cheering for them and rooting them on,” Frazier said. “We’ve seen our number ones do that before and now to get the young guys winning as well is great for our defense and our team.”

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A Replay of the Vikings 4th Quarter Goal Line Stand

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 25, 2009 – 7:16 am

So what was the key to last Friday night’s victory over the Kansas City Chiefs? While Tarvaris Jackson’s 12-15 for 202 yards and 2 TD performance certainly played a large factor, perhaps even more significant was the staunch goal line stand the Vikings defense had to end the game.

After a nice drive orchestrated by Chiefs QB Matt Gutierrez and then a pass interference penalty on DB Derrick Roberson, Kansas City had the ball 1st and goal from the Vikings 1-yardline with 55 seconds to play. And they didn’t get in.

You can re-live that goal line stand by clicking here to watch a sideline view of all 4 plays.

On 1st down, with the Metrodome crowd in mid-season form, DE Martail Burnett and DT Jimmy Kennedy teamed to stuff RB Javarris Williams. Rookie S Jamarca Sanford forced an incomplete pass on 2nd down. On 3rd down, with Vikings defenders trying to pump the crowd up even more, Burnett and the middle of the Vikings defensive line stuffed another rushing attempt, this one by Kolby Smith. And then on 4th down, Gutierrez saw another pass fall incomplete when CB Karl Paymah pushed a receiver out of bounds, and the Vikings defense had completed its goal line stand to cap the team’s come-from-behind 17-13 win.

On the field immediately after the game, several Vikings starters, including DE Jared Allen and LB E.J. Henderson, rushed the field to congratulate their teammates on what was an impressive final 4 plays.

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Childress on Jackson: Deliberate and Confident

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 24, 2009 – 4:15 pm

Part of the difficulty in evaluating players against each other during preseason action is that the playing field is not always equal. This situation is perhaps best illustrated at the QB position, where one player will enjoy the opportunity of playing with mostly 1st teamers while the competing player will be surrounded by 2nd team players.

This was the case for the Vikings in their 1st preseason game, when QB Sage Rosenfels got the start and looked impressive while going 10-13 for 91 yards and leading the Vikings to 10 points in 2 possessions. His fellow QB, Tarvaris Jackson, took the field later in the game and was an unremarkable 7 of 15 for 39 yards.

But then in the team’s 2nd preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday night, Jackson received the opportunity to play with 1st teamers and looked the part of an NFL starter, attaining a perfect passer rating by going 12 of 15 for 202 yards and 2 TDs.

“I would say when you’re playing with the first group of offensive lineman, backs, and receivers it bodes better for your chance to have success,” Childress said. “With guys in the right spot, running the right routes, and running the place you’re looking. You can say the quarterback doesn’t look good, but you have heard me say in the past, you have to play around the quarterback. Whether it’s the protection game or wiggling open against man-to-man.”

Although Childress acknowledged that Jackson was surrounded by better players against the Chiefs, he also remarked that the 4th-year signal caller displayed poise.

“I’m not going to take anything away from what he did; I thought he was very deliberate in what he was doing and confident in what he was doing.”

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RB Peterson Featured in ESPN Ad Campaign

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 24, 2009 – 3:38 pm

ESPN has commenced airing its Monday Night Football ad campaign, a series of commercials that will feature Vikings RB Adrian Peterson. To view one of the ads featuring Peterson, click here.

Aside from being one of the league’s top players, part of the appeal of having Peterson appear in ads promoting Monday Night Football is that the Vikings will appear on MNF 2 times this season – a home game against Green Bay on October 5 and then a road game at Chicago on December 28.

The ads featuring Peterson focus on the grind of training camp that he experiences and then relates that to the everyday work experience fans endure – waking up early to a screaming alarm clock, getting “hit” with the stresses of work and dealing with fellow “co-workers” (in the locker room). Peterson gets through the day by dreaming about playing on Monday Night Football and also displays moves so amazing that ESPN MNF commentators Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski use the words “mean back”, “re-donkulous” and “play on, playa” to describe his play.

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Favre Slated to Play 1st Half Against Texans

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 24, 2009 – 3:06 pm

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress met with reporters at Winter Park on Monday and was quickly asked about his QB situation, which during training camp was the most important position battle on the team but has since become one of the highest profile roster spots in the entire league due to the signing of Brett Favre.

Specifically, Childress was asked about managing playing time for a group of 4 QBs during the preseason.

“It’s not difficult to manage, it’s difficult for everyone to play,” Childress said. “One guy plays for a half and then you parcel out the rest. That’s typically the way it is when you have four quarterbacks.”

Asked even more specifically if Favre would be the one to play the 1st half next Monday against the Houston Texans in Reliant Stadium, Childress said: “That’s what we’re looking at. Yep.”

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Game One for 2009

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on August 24, 2009 – 11:29 am

This is my 12th season coaching the MVC.  I love every NEW year.  The excitement of the rookies, the pride of seeing veteran team members returning, the thrill of each team in the NFL starting at 0 – 0, a clean slate for everyone to begin – it is awesome!

Something this year feels different though – it has since our tryouts.  Our “inside joke” for the cheerleaders came out of that feeling – we say often at practice “This is our year!” and the call and response in return is everyone on the team yelling “YES!”  We even had tank tops made with this message on it.  So, you can imagine our excitement, along with everyone else last week when we signed Brett Favre.  It didn’t seem quite real until the game on Friday.  I was standing on the sidelines monitoring the ladies routines and formation lines when he ran onto the field for his first play early in the game.  I have never seen anything like it…….it looked like a sea of diamonds sparkling or twinkling stars in the sky.  I think every person in the Metrodome who had a camera began snapping a photo of the first time Brett was on the field as a Viking.  Then the same thing happened as he made his first pass – stars, flashing and lights across the Metrodome.  AMAZING!!!!  “I am watching history be made” was the thought that ran thru my mind in that moment.  It was here and then gone in a flash, (pun intended ?) but it was special to witness.

I hope this season has many more of those moments and maybe a Super Bowl ring – come on lets dream!  Sometimes dreams do come true!  We sure have a lot to cheer about this season.

Tami Krause

Head Coach – Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders

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Favre’s Arrival Doesn’t Alter Expectations

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 24, 2009 – 11:27 am

Although the presence of 6 Pro Bowlers, one of the league’s most dynamic rookies and a 10-6 record last year to go along with a division title already gave the Vikings high-profile status as they entered the 2009 season, there’s no denying that the addition of QB Brett Favre last week has increased the club’s profile moving forward.

Many times, an increase in profile lends itself to an increase in expectations. And, generally speaking, that was the feeling conveyed this past week from a variety of sources…except the Vikings locker room.

“Our goals haven’t changed,” Vikings 6-time Pro Bowl G Steve Hutchinson said earlier this week. “We want to build on what we did last year.”

Hutchinson was sincere in saying the team’s goals haven’t changed, even with the addition of a Hall of Fame signal caller. Don’t get me wrong, I am in the camp that says the addition of Favre makes the Vikings a better team. But I also submit, along with Hutchinson, that the Vikings goals for this season have not changed. With or without Favre, the Vikings were in a position to strive for another division championship and hold the ultimate goal of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi has said he has great expectations for this team, and he expressed that opinion as a seal of approval to this point rather than an ultimatum to his club.

“I have great expectations,” Wilf said during training camp. “Again, we fought hard last year, came back many times when people doubted us and we did it with different combinations with different guys injured. To have those guys come back healthy for the most part and be able to start off the season as division champs, we look forward to holding on to that and doing better things.”

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Wilf Reflects on Action-Packed Week

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 22, 2009 – 4:38 pm

Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins have a couple of interesting entries in their “Access Vikings” blog since last night, including reaction from Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf on what was quite an eventful week.

“That Tuesday was some day,” Wilf told the Star Tribune during pregame activities on Friday night. “We did not know [he was coming back], so that’s really what happened. Going to training camp we thought that the decision was final on Brett’s part but happily things work out when you least expect it and he’s here with us tonight.”

Although Wilf acknowledged that this past week was exciting, he came short of calling it the most exciting week of his time as the Vikings owner.

“I tell you the most exciting week was when we won the division last year and hopefully we can build on that,” he said. “Like we always said, we want to make our team better and whoever we bring in, including Brett, I think our team will be better. So, we look forward to a great season and we want to repeat as division champs. We have a lot to look forward to and a lot to fight for.”

On another note, Zulgad said in his latest entry that Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress gave his players Saturday and Sunday off and that the team will report back to Winter Park on Monday but won’t practice until Tuesday.

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Big Night For Potential Reserves/Backups

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 21, 2009 – 6:59 pm

Tonight’s game will be a national spectacle because it’s QB Brett Favre’s debut in a Vikings uniform. But the reality is that tonight is actually a bigger night for those battling for key reserve/backup roles.

The Vikings brought 80 players with them to training camp in Mankato this summer, but only 53 will make the final cut next month. Tonight is a big night because starters typically see minimal action in the 2nd preseason game. The 3rd preseason game is as close to a dress rehearsal as you are going to see, which means the guys vying for reserve/backup roles don’t see much time.

Other than tonight, the 4th preseason game is also a key time for the potential reserves/backups.

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QB Rosenfels Not Suited Up; DE Allen Is

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 21, 2009 – 6:51 pm

Vikings QB Sage Rosenfels was not in uniform for pregame warmups, leading to the obvious conclusion that he won’t see the field tonight. DE Jared Allen, whom many speculated would not suit up tonight, was in uniform during pregame warmups.

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