Reynaud Goes Through Familiar Progression

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 16, 2009 – 4:10 pm

Vikings WR Darius Reynaud has gone through a progression during his brief NFL career. He joined the Purple last year as an undrafted rookie free agent, earned a spot on the practice squad after training camp and eventually was elevated to the active roster for 3 games last season.

Through it all, Reynaud’s progression has been based largely on his ability to contribute on special teams, primarily as a returner. As Reynaud explained on Wednesday, his progression in the NFL is familiar to his experience as a college player with the West Virginia Mountaineers.

“At West Virginia when I started off, it was the same situation as it is here,” Reynaud said. “I started off on special teams, they saw what I could do on special teams, so they bumped me up to receiver. Hopefully it’ll go the same way here.”

Reynaud made the Vikings 53-man roster at the beginning of the season this year because of his hard work last year on the practice squad and also because of his performance during the 2009 preseason. In the 2nd week of the preseason, he hauled in a 64-yard TD reception. A couple weeks later against the Cowboys in the preseason finale, Reynaud ripped off a dazzling 81-yard punt return TD.

It is that kind of versatility that allows Reynaud to provide value to the Vikings.

“The situation I’m in, there are quality players at receiver so I know my biggest way to impact the Vikings is to play special teams,” Reynaud said. “I’m just trying to take advantage of that opportunity right now.”

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Quartet of Players On Wednesday Injury Report

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 16, 2009 – 3:41 pm

A quartet of players appeared on the Vikings Wednesday injury report, while 7 players were on Detroit’s first report of the week.

For the Vikings, LB Erin Henderson (calf) did not participate in practice. LB Heath Farwell (hamstring) and G Anthony Herrera (back) were limited participants, while TE Jim Kleinsasser (hand) participated fully in today’s workout.

For the Lions, DE Cliff Avril (hamstring) and QB Drew Stanton (knee) did not participate in practice. DT Andre Fluellen (knee), DT Grady Jackson (knee), CB William James (foot) and CB Eric King (shoulder) were limited. K Jason Hanson (knee) was a full participant.

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Reverse Psychology

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 16, 2009 – 3:12 pm

It’s been well-chronicled that the Detroit Lions were 0-16 in 2008. Because they lost their last game in 2007 and were defeated by New Orleans last week, the losing streak has reached 18 straight games.

At some point the Lions will win for the first time in over a year, but if they do it against the Vikings it won’t be because of complacency. Vikings players are well-aware of the losing streak Detroit is currently enduring. Rather than looking past a team that hasn’t won in over a year, they are digging down even deeper this week to avoid being “the team.”

“It doesn’t make it easier,” S Tyrell Johnson said of playing a team down on its luck. “You have to remind yourself that this team can beat you.”

The Vikings certainly realize it’s possible for the Lions to beat them. It almost happened last year, twice.

“I don’t have any illusions,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Wednesday. “Detroit always plays us very, very tough. It’s a divisional game so it counts as two. Tarvaris had to come in and win that game for us last year (at Detroit) and when they were here it was “fire Childress” to kick three points and win. Detroit plays us hard, and we’re well aware of that.”

While Johnson expressed the sentiment of not wanting to be the team to end Detroit’s losing streak, Childress explained that there are plenty of other reasons the Lions can be a dangerous team.

“I don’t know anything about that streak,” Childress said. “They’re playing hard. I think they’re dangerous for the reasons that I stated in terms of having a strong-armed quarterback, exceptional wide receiver, a good runner, (offensive coordinator) Scott Linehan is very good at putting those people in different places and a defense that’s playing hard and their first home game. I see it more for those reasons that anything.”

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Storylines To Watch This Week

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 16, 2009 – 11:40 am

Here are a few storylines to watch this week as the Vikings prepare for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field…

– With a start on Sunday, QB Brett Favre will break the all-time record for the most consecutive starts in NFL history, which he currently shares with another Viking – Jim Marshall at 270.

– Sunday’s game at Detroit will mark the Vikings 2nd consecutive road game to begin the season. The last time the Vikings opened a season with 2 straight road games was in 1997, when they went 2-0 against the Bills in Buffalo and against the Bears in Chicago.

– After going 0-16 in 2008 and then losing on opening weekend this season to New Orleans 45-27, the Lions might seem like an easy opponent for the Vikings on Sunday. But you can be sure the Vikings won’t take that attitude with them to Detroit this weekend. Twice last year, the Lions came thisclose to defeating Minnesota. So even though the Vikings currently hold a 63-30-2 record in the overall series with Detroit and even though Minnesota has won 13 of the last 14 games since 2002 in this matchup, the Vikings will need to be about their business to defeat a division opponent on the road.

– DE Jared Allen will return to the field where he suffered a knee injury last year on a low block from Lions OT Gosder Cherilus. Allen will surely have that play in the back of his mind as he lines up on Sunday, but the 2-time Pro Bowler is smart and composed player, so I’m sure he’ll channel his feelings of “revenge” in the appropriate manner.

– The passing game – Minnesota’s offensive attack and the Lions defense – will be a focus all week. Detroit yielded 6 TD passes to Drew Brees and the Saints last week, while the Vikings tallied just 110 passing yards against the Browns in Week 1. Both units will look to improve this week.

– During Adrian Peterson’s rookie season (2007), the Lions were the 1st team to keep him under 100 yards rushing and the only team in the Vikings 1st 5 games to do so. Since then, Peterson has gone on to average 4.9 yards per carry against Detroit. #28 already ranks tied for 2nd in Vikings annals for career 100-yard rushing performances with 17 in just 31 career games. He can
move into sole possession of 2nd place with a 100-yard performance against the Lions on Sunday.

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Vote For Peterson, Harvin

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 16, 2009 – 6:47 am

A pair of Vikings who were key in the team’s 34-20 season opening win at Cleveland are up for awards, which can be voted on by fans until 11:00 a.m. on Friday. Peterson has been named for finalist for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week and Harvin is up for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors.

Peterson rushed for 180 yards and 3 TDs on 25 carries last Sunday, pacing the Vikings victory on the road. Harvin had 8 touches on the day for 157 yards, including a 6-yard TD reception from QB Brett Favre.

Other finalists for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week are Julius Jones and Thomas Jones. Joining Harvin as finalists for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors are Tennessee’s Kenny Britt, Oakland’s Louis Murphy, Baltimore’s Michael Oher and the Jets QB Mark Sanchez.

Peterson was named the FedEx NFL Ground Player of the Year in 2008 after leading the league in rushing and also winning the weekly award 4 times.

Click here to vote for the FedEx NFL Ground Player of the Week award.
Click here to vote for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week.

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