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Join Us For The Live Chat

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2009 – 7:28 pm

Game time is here, so we’ll suspend blog entries until the conclusion of the game.

But join us for the live game chat.

You can access the chat by clicking here and engaging the user-friendly interface.


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Packed House Tonight

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2009 – 6:54 pm

It goes without saying that tonight’s Vikings-Packers game is sold out, but the stadium isn’t filled with only Vikings fans tonight. Several dignitaries have found their way to Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome.

Governor Tim Pawlenty will reportedly be in attendance; Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak are also here.

Legendary Cowboys RB Tony Dorsett is on the sidelines chatting with people, as are Twins outfielders Denard Span and Delmon Young. Span and Young will take this very field tomorrow night as the Twins and Tigers compete in a 1-game playoff for the AL Central crown and a chance to play the New York Yankees in the American League Division  Series.

Randall McDaniel is in the house serving as the Vikings honorary captain and Gjallarhorn sounder; he’ll also be presented with his Pro Football Hall of Fame Ring at halftime of tonight’s game.

Well-known player representative Drew Rosenhaus is also at the game tonight; he represents several players on both the Vikings and Packers roster.


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Inactives For Tonight

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on October 5, 2009 – 6:17 pm

Vikings inactives for tonight’s game are:

QB Sage Rosenfels (third quarterback), WR Darius Reynaud, DT Latroy Guion, S Jamarca Sanford, LB Erin Henderson, C Jon Cooper, DE Jayme Mitchell, and CB Asher Allen.


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Kickoff Nearing

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2009 – 4:50 pm

Preparations for tonight’s mega-hyped game between the Vikings and Packers continue inside the newly re-named Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome. A handful of players are beginning to find their way onto the field to begin warming up and the media circus that will unfold tonight is beginning to, well, unfold.

The atmosphere in here tonight will be electric, at least at the beginning of the game (hopefully it will remain that way throughout). Pink towels, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, have been placed on every seat in the stadium and the streets and parking lots are already full of animated fans.

Rumor has it the Vikings will be wearing their throwback uniforms tonight, which will add to the “classic” feel of tonight’s game, a contest that of course features QB Brett Favre facing the team with which he suited up for 16 years.

It will be emotional and electric in here at kickoff, and game time is quickly approaching.


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Are You Following The Vikings On Twitter?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2009 – 2:30 pm

Are you following the Vikings on Twitter? If not, you should because just like the vikings.com Blog, it’s a great way to stay on top of Vikings news.

It’s an especially great way to follow the Vikings on game. We’ll have the active/inactive players prior to the game, score and injury updates during the game and any breaking news after the game.

Remember, you don’t need a Twitter account yourself to follow the Vikings on Twitter. Just go to Twitter.com and follow @VikingsFootball.


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Vikings To Recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Tonight

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2009 – 12:55 pm

If you watched NFL games this weekend or have seen highlights of games today, you surely noticed that the NFL and its teams have included the color pink into their color concepts. This is in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, something the league and its teams are prominently promoting in October.

Prominently promoting will be an understatement tonight at Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome. Players will be wearing pink wristbands, sideline hats will have pink in them, there will be a logo on the field, the goal post pads will be pink, fans will be waving pink towels and volunteers, including the Vikings Women’s Organization, will be handing out pink ribbons to fans outside of the stadium and in the concourse.

In addition, and as you’ve seen many other players do this weekend, several Vikings players will be wearing pink shoes to support the initiative. QB Brett Favre, LB Chad Greenway and RBs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor will be the players wearing pink shoes.


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Another 40th Anniversary Memory

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2009 – 12:27 pm

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Vikings 1969 NFL Championship season, and we’ve been periodically looking back at notable moments from that historic season, as has Vikings Weekly. Last week, we made mention of Joe Kapp’s 449-yard, 7-TD passing performance against Baltimore.

This week, we point out quite the coincidence. During the 1969 season, the Vikings played the Green Bay Packers on October 5, defeating them 19-7 at the University of Minnesota. Of course the team went on to have a special year, winning the NFL Championship.

Twenty-nine years later in 1998, the Vikings again played the Packers on October 5, defeating them 37-24 at Lambeau Field. The Vikings went on to a 15-1 season and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.

Now, 11 years after the win at Lambeau in 1998 and subsequent 15-1 record, and exactly 40 years after the 19-7 win and subsequent NFL Championship, the Vikings will once again play the Packers on October 5. Hopefully the outcome of this game will fit the pattern established 11 and 40 years ago.


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Clifton’s Status Key In Tonight’s Game

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2009 – 11:51 am

The current fan poll on vikings.com asks for the fans’ opinion on the most important factor in tonight’s Vikings-Packers game. The overwhelming choice by fans, with 49% of the vote, is pressuring Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers.

It’s pretty hard to make a case for anything else, and the task of pressuring Rodgers will be a lot easier for the Vikings if Green Bay starting LT Chad Clifton doesn’t play. Clifton is battling an ankle injury and did not practice at all this week. Earlier in the week, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said that if Clifton didn’t practice, he wouldn’t play. It remains to be seen what McCarthy will ultimately decide.

Clifton’s status for the game is of ultimate importance because, as the fans appropriately decided, tonight’s outcome may hinge primarily on the Vikings ability or inability to get to Rodgers and pressure him. If Clifton goes tonight, the Packers will have a dependable player to counter Jared Allen’s pass rushing ability. If Clifton doesn’t go, Green Bay will once again have to shuffle their offensive line, something that hasn’t yielded good results in 2009.

So far this season, Rodgers has been sacked 12 times. Although the pressure he’s faced hasn’t caused him to make mistakes – he has 0 INTs this season – sacks and even pressure disrupt the passing game.

If Clifton can’t go, starting LG Daryn Colledge would slide over to LT, starting C Jason Spitz would move to LG and backup Scott Wells would be the starting C. So Clifton’s absence not only creates an irregularity at LT, but all along the left side of the line and at C. In addition, the Packers will likely provide Colledge with help via chip blocks from TEs and RBs, giving Rodgers fewer targets in the passing game.

But it’s not all doom-and-gloom for Green Bay. Maybe Clifton will play, rendering all of this speculation useless. Or, if Clifton doesn’t play, Colledge might step in and play well against Allen. He’s a starting lineman on an NFL team for a reason – he knows how to play the game.

Either way, everyone will be keeping an eye on whether Clifton plays tonight or not. If he does play, we’ll be treated to a great matchup between Allen and Clifton. If he doesn’t play, Allen has an even better chance to treat us to a few of his hog-tie dances.


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Peterson On ESPN Airwaves Tuesday, Too

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2009 – 11:21 am

After watching RB Adrian Peterson take on the Green Bay Packers on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, you can watch him again on Tuesday night as the network’s primetime magazine show – E60 – features the superstar RB at 6:00 p.m. CT.

Members of Peterson’s family share stories with “E:60″ of the adversity he has faced along the way to the top, including watching as his younger brother was struck and killed by a drunk driver, enduring the imprisonment of his father and learning of his stepbrother’s murder only hours before the NFL Combine.

There are also appearances by legendary NFL RB Jim Brown and both Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress and QB Brett Favre.

In addition, there is a lighter side to the piece as Peterson gives “E:60’s” Rachel Nichols an all-access look at his life off the field.

Click here to watch a preview of the feature that will air on Tuesday evening at 6:00.


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Methodical Is Out, Explosive Is In

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2009 – 9:34 am

Is there anything better than watching the Vikings offense methodically drive down the field against an opponent and put together a 9-, 10- or 12-play drive that eats up a bunch of clock?

Actually, there might be. While those extended drives are a function of the offense exerting its will over the defense, they also expose the offense to costly mistakes that come in the form of penalties, sacks and turnovers.

Perhaps a better way to do it is through short drives that are highlighted by explosive plays. An explosive play is a run of 12+ yards or pass of 16+ yards. Explosive plays allow the offense to pick up chunks of yards at a time and move down the field quickly, before a great defensive play or untimely penalty can stall a drive.

A great illustration of this point came earlier this year when the Indianapolis Colts defeated Miami 27-23 on the road. In that game, the Dolphins crushed Indianapolis in time of possession by a 45:07 to 14:53 margin. Yet it was the Colts who came out on top because they were able to strike quickly with explosive plays – they had TD drives of 1, 4 and 6 plays. The Dolphins, meanwhile, had a 14-play drive that ended with an interception, a 12-play drive that resulted in a missed FG and 10- and 13-play drives that ended with FGs.

Statistics through 3 games show that the Vikings are better off when they have shorter drives that feature explosive plays. Of the Vikings 10 TDs this season (including Percy Harvin’s 101-yard TD return), the average number of plays per TD drive is 5.7, including a pair of 1-play drives against the Browns and Lions (there was also a 0-play drive – Harvin’s return).

On the flip side, the Vikings have had a number of long, time-consuming drives that didn’t result in TDs. Against Cleveland, the Vikings had a 12-play series that resulted in a FG. In Detroit during Week 2, the Vikings had 10- and 9-play drives end in FGs. And last week against San Francisco, the Vikings punted after a 9-play drive and kicked FGs after a pair of 7-play drives.

Of course it’s important to salvage drives with FGs, but clearly an explosive play or 2 in those longer non-TD drives would increase the likelihood of the Vikings capping the series with 7 points rather than 3, even though the drives had fewer plays and didn’t consume much time.
 
So while it’d be great to see the Vikings churn out a bunch of 10-play drives tonight against the Packers and dominate time of possession, it seems more effective for the Vikings to manufacture shorter drives that are more explosive.


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