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Childress Pleased With Team’s Preparation, Attitude

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 19, 2009 – 3:29 pm

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress had his usual day-after-the-game press conference with reporters on Monday, as he reviewed his team’s 33-31 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

As he reflected back on the game and the week of preparation leading up to the game, Childress said he was pleased with how his group prepared.

“I thought the coaches and players did a great job of game-planning that particular opponent,” Childress said. “I thought our guys did a great job preparation-wise for a team that’s heavy in the blitz. By and large that offensive line, tight ends, running backs, that whole group did a great job of keeping the quarterback fairly clean because it can be a confusing defense to block.”

Baltimore came into Sunday’s game as the 4th-ranked run defense but the Vikings were able to tally 167 yards rushing on 31 attempts, including a 143-yard effort from Adrian Peterson on 22 carries. QB Brett Favre also had an effective day, completing 21 of 29 pass attempts for 278 yards and 3 TDs.

The Vikings scored TDs on their opening 2 series and then held Baltimore scoreless until K Steven Hauschka split the uprights on a 29-yard try as time expired in the 2nd quarter. Although the Vikings weren’t able to muster any more points after their quick 14-0 start in the 1st quarter, Childress said from an offensive, defensive and special teams standpoint, Sunday’s 1st half was the best half of football the Vikings had registered all season.

The Ravens 2nd-half surge and then the Vikings subsequent comeback victory have been well-chronicled. And although Childress was pleased with his team’s preparation for the game, the 1st half performance and of course the 33-31 victory, he and his team know there are plenty of corrections to make as they prepare for another tough contest this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“And I guess that’s the thing that’s particularly gratifying; our group is never satisfied,” Childress said. “There’s a bunch of guys in there right now that are anxious to look at that tape if they haven’t already snuck a look at it; some of them can’t help themselves. But it’s (the locker room) filled with guys that want to get better.

“I just think they’ll continue to improve and I’m happy to be on the right side of that. It was a tremendous battle. It’s a pretty good offensive and defensive group there (in Baltimore) and good to win that football game. (We) have to put it in a box and move on to another good football game this week.”


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Childress Questioned About Pass Defense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 19, 2009 – 2:29 pm

Those who turned off Sunday’s Vikings-Ravens game after the Vikings scored their early-4th quarter TD to go up 27-10 came away from the game with the impression that the Vikings dominated Baltimore, a team that appeared in the AFC title game last year and is chalk-full of defensive all-stars and productive offensive standouts.

At that point in the game, the Vikings held a 17-point lead and had allowed just 45 yards rushing on 16 carries and only 189 yards passing to QB Joe Flacco.

But as those who didn’t turn the game off after that early-4th quarter TD witnessed, the Ravens would not go away easily. They stormed back and eventually took a 31-30 lead with just 3:37 to play after scoring 21 points in a matter of minutes.

So how did it happen? Put simply, it happened through the air. Although Baltimore’s go-ahead TD was a 33-yard rush by RB Ray Rice, it was Flacco and his bevy of receivers who led the furious 4th quarter comeback.

Flacco completed 10 of 16 passes for 196 yards and 2 scores in the final stanza, taking advantage of a Vikings defense that was without starting CB Antoine Winfield and was using reserve S Husain Abdullah because nickel CB Benny Sapp was dealing with an injury, too.

With the injury to Sapp, 2009 free agent signee Karl Paymah played in Winfield’s stead and the Ravens took advantage of that matchup. Although Paymah seemed to be in good position on several instances, Childress acknowledged on Monday that Baltimore “made some plays” on Paymah.

Aside from some of the injuries the Vikings experienced, Childress also cited a couple of other reasons for the Raven’s passing-game success in the 4th quarter.

“Missed tackles will kill you, particularly in air and space,” Childress said. “A guy like Ray Rice that is able elude and bounce off and keep his pads down low. In a couple of instances we had missed assignments where A) a guy not doing what he should do, or B) a miscommunication where everybody’s doing one thing and somebody else is doing another thing.

“You can’t stop every play. Every defense has a strength and weakness. And it’s just more important for our guys to understand where the strength is and where the weakness is and play to it.”


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Childress Impressed By Flacco’s Toughness

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 19, 2009 – 2:05 pm

Raven’s QB Joe Flacco had a productive day against the Vikings on Sunday, completing 28 of 43 passes for 385 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs while compiling a passer rating of 109.2.

Although Flacco’s success came in a losing effort, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress came away from the game impressed with what he saw from the 2nd-year QB.

“My hat’s off to Joe Flacco,” Childress said on Monday. “We hit that guy eighteen times and sacked him and knocked him around. While he threw a few errant balls, you say he didn’t play like a first-year guy (last year), he didn’t play like a second-year guy (so far this year), and he doesn’t play like a guy that got whacked around a good bit.”

Flacco was especially sharp in the 4th quarter while leading Baltimore on a late-game surge that saw them take a lead at one point. In the game’s final quarter, Flacco was 10 of 16 for 196 yards and 2 scores.

“There was a point that they kind of gave up running it extensively and got into a throw game,” Childress explained. “I think he’s way tougher than you give him credit for. I know about his physical skills and mental skills, but he showed me something in terms of hanging in there.”


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Childress Provides Injury Update On Winfield, Others

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 19, 2009 – 1:06 pm

Speaking with reporters at Winter Park on Monday, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress was asked about the status of several of his injured players.

Of primary concern is CB Antoine Winfield, who was forced out of Sunday’s game against the Ravens and did not return because of a foot injury. Childress said Winfield was in the facility treating the injury and that the CB has a sprained foot.

“People heal so differently, it’s hard to know,” Childress said when asked about a timetable for Winfield’s return. “I would’ve thought (Phil) Loadholt’s injury would’ve held him out longer than it held him out. Guys have different recuperative skills and I’m not going to rule him in or rule him out at this point.”

Childress was also asked about WR Percy Harvin, who re-aggravated his shoulder injury on Sunday, and RB Adrian Peterson, who twisted his ankle late in the game. He said his level of concern regarding Harvin was no higher this week than it was last week at this time and he also said Peterson his experiencing “overall body soreness.”


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Winfield Diagnosed With Sprained Foot

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on October 19, 2009 – 12:43 pm

Head Coach Brad Childress announced at his Monday press conference that cornerback Antoine Winfield suffered a sprained foot in Sunday’s 33-31 win over Baltimore.  The timetable for his return is still up in the air.

Check back with vikings.com later this afternoon for more.


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Favre Continues Efficient Play

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 19, 2009 – 12:21 pm

Vikings QB Brett Favre has completed a lot of passes for a lot of yards and many touchdowns over his 19-year pro career. He is the NFL record holder in all 3 categories, in fact. And that has led to a lot of success for him and his teams (he’s also the NFL record holder in wins as a starting QB).

But Favre also holds the NFL record for career interceptions. So while his ability to find the right receivers in the right place at the right time have led to a record number of completions, yards, TDs and wins, his penchant for throwing INTs hasn’t allowed him to set a career record for passer rating.

Over the first 6 games of his Vikings career, however, Favre has had a different mode of operation. He’s been efficient, precise and judicial as the Vikings QB and that has led to a passer rating of 109.5 on the season, which is 23.6 points higher than his career passer rating.

Against Baltimore on Sunday, Favre was 21 of 29 for 278 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs, which gave him a passer rating of 136.9. Sunday’s effort was his 3rd consecutive game with a passer rating over 100, making him just the 4th QB in franchise history to accomplish such a feat. The all-time record for consecutive games with a 100+ passer rating is 4, set by Daunte Culpepper in 2004.


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Submit Your vikings.com Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 19, 2009 – 12:07 pm

Have a question or comment about Sunday’s victory over the Ravens? Or how about a question regarding this week’s game against the Steelers? Send your questions/comments to the vikings.com Mailbag.

You can submit your questions/comments to me by sending an email to wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net. I can’t post every question/comment, but I’ll answer them all.

The vikings.com Mailbag is published ever Friday during the regular season


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Childress Press Conference Live On vikings.com

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 19, 2009 – 11:31 am

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress will have his usual day-after-the-game press conference today at Winter Park and you can watch it live right here on vikings.com.

To watch the press conference live, go to this page right around 12:30 p.m. CT.

Childress will review yesterday’s victory over the Ravens, will likely address concerns regarding the Ravens late-game comeback, will be asked about injuries and will also talk about being 6-0, the best start for this franchise since 2003.


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Keeping Focus Not An Issue For This 6-0 Team

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 19, 2009 – 10:40 am

A lot of times there aren’t many concerns with 6-0 teams. In fact, the main concern might be that there aren’t many concerns. Undefeated teams might gain a sense of overconfidence. Might get complacent in preparation. Might lose their edge.

But not this 6-0 team. The Vikings are undefeated, yes. A team should never apologize for winning. They’ve done what it takes to win 6 games and they should be proud of their record. But their unblemished record comes with some, well, blemishes along the way.

Defending the pass is a concern. Baltimore marched down the field in the 4th quarter far too easily. The Ravens racked up 222 yards and 21 points in the final quarter, even taking the lead at one point and then getting themselves in position to win the game with a FG.

The injury bug is becoming a concern. G Steve Hutchinson has been dealing with a back injury, WR Darius Reynaud has a hamstring ailment, and now both WR Percy Harvin (shoulder) and CB Antoine Winfield (foot) have injuries to deal with. Every team goes through this and the Vikings are no different.

The Vikings offense began the game with 2 straight TD drives, helping the team jump out to a quick 14-0 lead. But then the next 4 drives ended in punts and 3 of the 4 drives were 3-and-out series. A pair of sacks and a penalty were to blame for 3 of the abbreviated drives; those are mistakes that will be addressed in meetings this week.

Finishing drives with TDs will be a point of emphasis this week, too. Salvaging drives with FGs is important, but it’s not often that the team with the most FGs wins an NFL game. Twice the Vikings were inside the Ravens 15-yardline and had to settle for FGs.

The Vikings kick coverage units have been sound for the most part this season. The punt coverage team was solid once again yesterday, but the Ravens found a crease or two on kickoff returns. Baltimore averaged 23.6 yards per return on 7 tries, an average that’s a bit too high for the coaching staff’s liking.

So as you can see, there are plenty of areas that require correction for the Vikings. But being a 6-0 team with the need and desire to improve isn’t such a bad thing.


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Inside The Play Of The Day

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 19, 2009 – 8:00 am

After 874 net yards of offense, 127 offensive snaps and 64 total points, it’s hard to pick out a single play of the day in the Vikings 33-31 thriller over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. But while it didn’t result in a score and wasn’t even his longest reception of the day, it’s hard not to point to WR Sidney Rice’s 58-yard reception in the 4th quarter as the game’s most crucial play.

Trailing 31-30 with just under 3 minutes to go, QB Brett Favre rolled right on a naked bootleg, bought some time for Rice to get downfield and then with all his might launched a pass toward his receiver. Even as he was being held, Rice managed to get under the ball and make the catch, setting K Ryan Longwell up for the eventual game-winning FG.

As great of a play as it was, it didn’t unfold as it was drawn up. According to head coach Brad Childress, the play was a “run-alert-pass,” where a run play was called but Favre had the choice to check to a pass play if he saw a certain look from the defense. The QB saw the appropriate look and alerted to a pass.

But the ad-libbing didn’t end there. Even once Favre alerted to a pass play, Rice modified his responsibilities based on how his defender was positioned.

“It was the route that I had changed myself,” Rice said after the game, “but Brett made a great read on the defender who was outside of me and the safety came down. I just decided to take it at a slight angle and he cocked back and let the ball go.  It was on a straight line right there and I was able to make a play on it.”

Rice was quick to give his Hall of Fame QB credit for the play, but Favre was insistent that it was Rice who was the playmaker on this occasion.

“That’s being a football player,” Favre said of Rice. “He was supposed to have a 12 or 15-yard comeback I think. That’s the type of plays he can make. Sometimes you have to adjust. Really, with Sidney on that play you have to give him credit because I didn’t tell him to go, I didn’t tell him to come back. He just felt like he had the advantage.

“We have had that discussion in the past, that if he feels like he can get on top, or can win, then do it. So I just wanted to make sure I could give him something he could catch.”


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