Can Harvin Go 3 For 3?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 23, 2009 – 4:22 pm

Lost in the coverage of Adrian Peterson’s 180-yard, 3-TD outing in Cleveland, and Brett Favre’s efficient and successful 2-0 debut as QB, and Chad Greenway’s 3-turnover effort against the Lions, is the fact that Vikings 1st round pick Percy Harvin is off to a great start as well.

Through his first 2 regular season games in the NFL, Harvin has 291 all-purpose yards on 18 touches. He also has a receiving TD in each of the Vikings first 2 games. If the explosive rookie can find his way into the endzone on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, he’ll set a team record for most consecutive games with a TD at the start of a rookie season.

The record is currently 2 and was set by Sammy White in 1976.

Here is a breakdown of Harvin’s touches so far in 2009:

8 receptions, 77 yards and 2 TDs
6 kickoff returns for 178 yards (29.7-yd. average)
4 rushes for 36 yards (9.0-yd. average)

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Revisiting the 2008 Offseason

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 23, 2009 – 11:34 am

One of the subplots in this weekend’s Vikings-49ers matchup is the comparison between DEs Jared Allen and Justin Smith. If you remember, there were reports that the Vikings were pursuing Smith – who was a free agent after 7 seasons in Cincinnati – before they completed a trade with Kansas City to land Allen.

Before we go much further on this topic, it’s important to acknowledge that Smith is a different type of player than Allen. Although they both play DE and are both proficient pass rushers, Smith is considered more of a base end, while Allen is characterized as more of a pass-rushing end. Both players, however, are good at playing against both the run and the pass.

Going back to the offseason before the 2008 campaign, the Vikings were on a mission to bolster their defensive line with a pass-rushing presence. After tallying 43.5 sacks in those 7 seasons with the Bengals, Smith was one of the best options at DE on the market.

Smith was scheduled to meet with the 49ers and then reportedly fly to Minnesota to meet with the Vikings. He never got to Minnesota because San Francisco offered him a contract that he didn’t refuse.

Later in the offseason, the Vikings acquired Allen to accomplish their goal of bolstering the defensive line. Since becoming a Viking, Allen has recorded 15.5 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl after last season, his 1st with the Vikings. Smith has been solid for the 49ers as well, putting up 7.0 sacks and registering 73 tackles for the 49ers as a DE in their 3-4 defensive scheme.

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From Final Tune-Up To Great Matchup

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 23, 2009 – 6:49 am

When the NFL released its 2009 schedule back in April, the Week 3 Vikings-49ers matchup was looked upon by many as a final tune-up for the Vikings before their big Week 4 showdown with the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.

Thoughts of a pair of 3-0 NFC North division rivals meeting on MNF crept into the collective football fan’s mind.

Now, however, in what illustrates the unpredictable nature of the NFL, this Week 3 matchup has gone from a final tune-up to perhaps the game of the week. And next week’s game between the Vikings and Packers – something the Vikings can’t afford to look forward to with the 49ers coming to town – won’t feature a pair of undefeated teams because Green Bay has already lost.

Vikings vs. 49ers presents a pair of teams with identical records and similar numbers in several significant statistical categories. It is also the NFL’s only Week 3 game between 2 undefeated teams.

The Vikings have more 1st down this season, but San Francisco is average more total offense. The 49ers have been better against the run, but the Vikings are better against the pass. The Vikings have Adrian Peterson, but San Francisco can counter with Frank Gore.

While the casual NFL fan may have overlooked this San Francisco 49ers team a few months ago, you can be sure that the Vikings aren’t overlooking them now. San Francisco took down the defending NFC champs Arizona on the road in Week 1 and then took care of Seattle last week at home.

San Francisco’s main threat through 2 games has been Gore. He is the NFL’s 3rd leading rusher, behind Peterson and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson. While the Vikings have continued their impressive string of not allowing a 100-yard rusher, the Lions found a way last week to net 129 yards rushing as a team against the Vikings. With Gore and the 49ers coming to town this weekend, the Vikings realize they need to make corrections on defense and be prepared for a physical team.

“Against a good runner, against a team that emphasizes what they emphasize and their level of physical toughness, you better be about your business that way,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said. “Because I tell you they are not going to come in here like some people do and say ‘geez we’re not going to be able to run the football.’ They are going to try and exert their will physically on you running the football. They are going to do that.”

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