There was no single star in today’s 33-31 victory over the Ravens, but it’s tough to point to a player who had a better game than WR Sidney Rice. Against a nasty Ravens defense, Rice earned his first career 100-yard receiving game.
Rice’s 176 receiving yards ranks as the 9th most in team history for single game, and is the most any Vikings receiver has gained against the Ravens.
The 6-4 receiver had 6 grabs on the day, but perhaps to catch was more important than his 58-yarder late in the 4th quarter that set up Ryan Longwell’s game-winning FG.
On the play, the Vikings faced a 2nd and 6 from their own 24-yardline with just under 3 minutes to play and trailing 31-30. Favre took the snap, run-faked to the left and then rolled out on a naked bootleg to the right. Rice changed his route mid-play and ran a fly pattern down the right sideline. Favre saw Rice streaking, pump faked a few times to allow Rice time to get down the field and then launched a pass in Rice’s direction. Rice located the ball in the air, ran under it and hauled in the catch, in spite of a pass interference penalty.
The result was a 58-yard gain that advanced the Vikings from their own 24-yardline to the Ravens 18 and allowed Longwell to hit the eventual game-winning FG 3 plays later.
Rice has been an emerging player for the Vikings all season and he took another step in that direction today.
“When he got here a couple years ago, he was twenty years old,” Vikings G Steve Hutchinson said. “He’s really matured as a player. He understands what this offense needs out of him.”
Tags: Sidney Rice, Steve Hutchinson
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Starting LT Jared Gaither will be inactive for Baltimore today, meaning the Ravens will have to shuffle their offensive line.
Regular starting RT Michael Oher will move to LT, and backup LG Marshal Yanda will slide to RT to fill the spot left vacant by Oher moving to LT.
This means that both Vikings DEs Jared Allen and Ray Edwards will be going against players who don’t start at their respective positions today. The last time Allen went up against a backup LT was when Green Bay came to Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome and Daryn Colledge gave up 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble and safety to #69.
A repreat effort today from Allen would go a long way towards the Vikings slowing down an efficient and productive Ravens offense that is led by calm, cool and collected sophomore QB Joe Flacco and a talented rushing attack led by Willis McGahee, La’Ron McClain and Ray Rice.
Tags: Jared Allen
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Vikings WR Percy Harvin, who dealt with a shoulder ailment all week and missed practice time, was not on the list of inactive players for the Vikings today in their game against the Ravens.
Harvin’s availability is important for the Vikings depth today because WR Darius Reynaud was on the list of inactive players. With Reynaud out, the Vikings need to fill his responsibilities on special teams as a punt returner as well as offensively as a WR (Jaymar Johnson will be active and will fulfill both roles).
If the Ravens blitz heavily today, Harvin could be an important weapon. Often blitzing forces a defense to cover WRs man-to-man and Harvin has proven to be a tough man to bring down in space.
Tags: Percy Harvin
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The Vikings’ inactives for today’s game against the Ravens are:
QB Sage Rosenfels (3rd quarterback), CB Asher Allen, RB Albert Young, LB Erin Henderson, C Jon Cooper, WR Darius Reynaud, DE Jayme Mitchell, and DT Letroy Guion.
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