One of the first comments Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress made during his press conference on Monday was that in reviewing his team’s win over the Lions on Sunday he was pleased to see young players contributing on special teams.
Childress didn’t go into naming names, but perhaps he was thinking of LB Kenny Onatolu, who led the team with 2 special teams tackles. Or maybe he had Jasper Brinkley or Jamarca Sanford on his mind – they each tallied a special teams stop.
One player Childress was asked specifically about was CB Asher Allen, who has contributed on special teams but has also seen more playing time on defense lately because of the injury to Antoine Winfield.
“He did a nice job yesterday in the special teams area,” Childress said of Allen. “I think he grows more confident with the snaps that he takes there. He played a pretty good amount of snaps in the nickel position. Was smart, aggressive, he gets it. He has good football instincts. He’s a good player and he’s learning from the situations that he is in and the people he is playing against.”
The fact that the Vikings are able to get their young players significant experience while also fielding an impressive 8-1 record is a good sign. The football season often turns into a war of attrition and the more guys who are able to step in and produce at a high level, the better off you are.
“We’ve had a lot of guys that have rolled through and played different positions,” Childress said. “Whether it be kickoff, whether it be as a guy playing the nickel, whether it be in the return game. We’ve had guys that have spotted in and played in a lot of different positions and that only helps Jamarca; the list goes on.
“I think that has been a huge positive, whether it’s because of somebody’s injury or whatever reason. There is no down side to playing a lot of guys and getting those guys that experience factor.”
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