Planet Purple Week Kicks Off

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2009 – 3:53 pm

Planet Purple Week kicked off this afternoon when the Vikings organization, along with students, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis Public Schools and Toro, combined forces to plant more than 100 trees at Jenny Lind Community School and Bohanon Park.

Several Vikings players, including T Bryant McKinnie, QB Sage Rosenfels, C John Sullivan, WR Greg Lewis, S Jamarca Sanford and WR Vinny Perretta, joined more than 450 students from Jenny Lind School, volunteers from the Lind-Bohanon Neighborhood Association and MPRB Forestry staff to plant and water the trees.

The Vikings recently created Planet Purple in conjunction with the NFL’s Green Team as an initiative with the mission of developing sustainable business practices and utilizing renewable energy in an effort to lessen the team’s impact on the environment.

Planet Purple Week features several environmentally-focused events in the days prior to the October 18 home game against Baltimore at Mall of America Field.

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Pass Protection Key Against Nasty Ravens Defense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2009 – 3:14 pm

Off to a 5-0 start, ranked 3rd in the league in scoring and ranked 5th in the league in scoring defense can get a team to start feeling good about itself. Even though the Vikings can claim all 3 of the accomplishments listed above, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Monday that he thinks his team has the proper mindset in light of its quick start.

“They are really pretty good at taking that (being 5-0) in,” Childress explained. “It is a fine line between being cocky and having a swagger and being beaten down and not thinking you are any good. You are always balancing that.

“I want them to think that they are good football team. Can we be a better football team? We absolutely can. When we go in here (to a meeting) we are going to look back at this last one and make those corrections and then embrace what we got to do this week.”

Childress indicated he was generally pleased with the way his team played on Sunday against the Rams, but he specifically referenced the pair of sacks allowed as an area that they’ll look to improve upon this week.

Favre was indeed sacked twice by the Rams, once on a safety blitz by O.J. Atogwe in the 1st quarter and then a 2nd time on a safety blitz by Craig Dahl.

“We had people (blockers) for those guys (that had the sacks),” Childress said. “We had a guy get physically beat and then we had a wrong call on the offensive line the one time. So that is something that we need to continue to work on. We are going to face a multiple defense this week.”

The defense to which Childress refers is the Baltimore Raven’s unit, which is one of the nastiest in the NFL and features perennial Pro Bowlers and defensive player of the year candidates LB Ray Lewis and S Ed Reed, among several other quality players.

The Ravens are an aggressive unit that loves to blitz on 3rd down (60% of the time). They rank 12th in the NFL with 11 sacks, while the Vikings offense ranks 19th in the NFL with 11 sacks allowed.

There might be an added twist to the chess match between the Vikings offense and Ravens defense on Sunday. Both teams will have to take into account former Vikings C and current Ravens C Matt Birk’s familiarity with the Vikings protection scheme under Childress from the 3 seasons prior to 2009. The Ravens might be picking Birk’s brain about how the Vikings operate and perhaps the Vikings are tweaking things to neutralize any advantage the Ravens might gain from Birk’s knowledge of the scheme.

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Vikings Game @ Lambeau Moved To 3:15

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2009 – 9:59 am

The Vikings and Packers combined earlier this season on Monday Night Football to create a ratings bonanza. QB Brett Favre’s 1st game against his former team was the most-watched cable TV program in history.

The Vikings and Packers will meet once more this year as Favre will make his 1st return to Lambeau Field on November 1. It was announced today that the game time has been moved from a noon kickoff to a 3:15 p.m. start on FOX.

The last time the Vikings won at Lambeau Field was a 20-17 victory in 2005.

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Jared Allen Autograph Signing at MOA This Wednesday

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on October 13, 2009 – 9:55 am

Vikings defensive end Jared Allen will be signing autographs at the Minnesota Vikings Locker Room store at Mall of America on Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. CST, as well as promoting his line of clothing, Jared Allen 69 Inc., which is available at all Vikings Locker Room stores, including the online store.

Player, date and time subject to change without notice.  One signed item per person.  Only the first 300 people in line will be guaranteed an autograph.

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Hicks’ Position Flexibility Helped Vikings On Sunday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2009 – 9:10 am

Rookie RT Phil Loadholt missed Sunday’s game against the Rams because of an ankle injury but he told the Star Tribune that he’s confident he’ll be able to give the ankle a go during practice on Wednesday.

Starting in Loadholt’s place on Sunday was veteran swingman Artis Hicks. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said Hicks did a “nice job,” especially for not having practiced in the RT spot for much of the week.

“With only having Friday as a full practice at the right tackle position,” Childress said, “I thought he did a nice job for being on that side. He is a natural left sided guy, left handed guy. I thought he did a nice job for lining up there.”

Childress dealt for Hicks after he took the job in Minnesota because the 2 were familiar with each from their time in Philadelphia together and because of Hicks’ tremendous position flexibility. Hicks can play 4 positions along the line.

“About the only thing he is not studying is the center position because Ryan Cook is a guy that we would typically have up and slide into that spot (center),” Childress explained. “Artis has got to have a feel for a right-hand and left-hand. He’s got to know the personnel along the front, right-handed and left-handed. He has to know how we are blocking plays right-handed and left-handed.”

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Darius Reynaud Update

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2009 – 8:11 am

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said that WR/PR Darius Reynaud was scheduled to be back with team on Monday – good news for the Vikings. Reynaud injured his hamstring in Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers and then was away from the team for personal reasons; he’s missed practice time and 2 games.

Reynaud has climbed the ladder from undrafted rookie free agent to explosive receiver and punt returner. He made the team last year coming out of training camp, was placed on the practice squad and then suited up for 3 games.

Coming out of training camp this year, Reynaud had made a good case for himself to be a member of the 53-man roster. His explosiveness was on display in the preseason when he tallied both a 64-yard TD reception against Kansas City and an 81-yard punt return against the Dallas Cowboys.

Prior to his injury in Week 3, Reynaud was sharp in the punt return game, averaging 17.3 yards per return on 7 attempts. He’s a sure-handed receiver of punts and is excellent at making the 1st man miss.

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Vikings Defense On Red Alert In Red Zone

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2009 – 6:22 am

The statistic that had the most profound impact on the outcome of Sunday’s game between the Vikings and Rams (besides, you know, points scored) was red zone efficiency.

The Vikings offense was perfect in the red zone, scoring TDs on all 4 of their trips and needing just 8 total plays inside the Rams 20-yardline. But the Vikings defense was perfect in the red zone, too, holding St. Louis to 0 TDs in 4 trips (they gave up a FG on one trip).

As a result, the Vikings notched their 5th victory of the season via a 38-10 thrashing of St. Louis.

St. Louis’ shortcomings in the red zone were the product of turnovers. While the Vikings scored quickly upon entering the red zone, the Rams labored inside the Vikings 20-yardline, running a total of 14 plays. Those 14 plays provided enough time for the Vikings to register 3 takeaways inside the 5-yardline.

“They are doing a great job of breaking on the football, whether you are talking about (Chad) Greenway’s hit and E.J. (Henderson) rallying behind that, or you’re talking about Tyrell Johnson’s interception,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said of his defense. “I just think they are doing a great job of running to the football and moving to the football when the ball comes out.”

Childress pointed out that even on the Rams 1st red zone turnover – a failed exchange between QB Kyle Boller and RB Steven Jackson on the 1-yardline – the Vikings defense is to be credited for making a play.

“Then obviously on the one where I guess there was an exchange issue you have to be aggressive from the standpoint of penetration, knowing where the ball is and being able to cover that thing up,” Childress explained. “So I just thought they were on top of it down there (in the red zone). They picked their game up down there.”

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