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Clearing Up The Sidney Rice Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 23, 2009 – 4:40 pm

I’ve received a lot of email concerning Sidney Rice and the problems he was having with his legs after his 1st TD reception, a 7-yarder in the back corner of the endzone that required him to out-leap a trio of defenders.

Rice rose to catch the ball and came down with both feet in bounds, but he was slow to get up and was quickly meeting with trainers once he got to the sideline.

But Rice said it was nothing serious; only cramps.

“That was just cramping,” Rice said after the game. “I did a lot of running around. I guess I didn’t have enough fluids in my body. When I came down, my calves started cramping. It’s nothing serious. It didn’t bother me much.”

You can believe that. Rice was back in the game on the next series and scored another TD when Tarvaris Jackson hit him along the Seahawks sideline and Rice broke a tackle and outsprinted the rest of Seattle’s defense to the endzone for a 34-yard score to make the score 35-3 (following the PAT).

So it sounds and appears as if whatever was bothering Rice after his 1st TD really was nothing serious. We won’t know for sure until Wednesday’s injury report is released.


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Childress Notes Favre’s Work Ethic

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 23, 2009 – 3:09 pm

In the latest edition of Sound FX on vikings.com, you can watch and listen to an NFL Films presentation that features Brett Favre mic’d up for the Lions game in Week 10. The piece does a great job of showing Favre’s personality on game day and how he interacts with coaches and teammates.

But as light-hearted as Favre can be on the football field – and the Sound FX piece certainly portrays that part of Favre’s personality – Favre is perhaps even more competitive than he is light-hearted.

Asked on Monday what he’s learned about Favre since coaching him, Childress cited Favre’s tireless work ethic

“When you’re not in the building with a guy every day, you don’t know how he works, how he grinds, how he spends time with his trade,” Childress said. “Is he just living off of skills and ability? But I think he does a great job of spending time with our guys. There’s a lot of chatter back and forth about plays they’re looking at. He spends a lot more time in here than anybody knows about.”

To illustrate his point about how much time Favre spends at Winter Park watching film, Childress recalled an instance where Head Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman returned to Winter Park late on a Saturday afternoon only to find Favre in the film room studying for the next opponent.

Childress said it’s rare to have a player in the facility so late on a Saturday afternoon. Once the team concludes their mock game on Saturday morning, players often race out of the facility for some free time before reporting to the hotel on Saturday evening.

But Favre saw fit to sneak back into Winter Park for one final film session before heading to the hotel to finish final preparations with the rest of the team.

“He spends time at his trade,” Childress re-iterated. “He has very good physical tools. With the length of time he’s played, he has great mental tools. But he enhances what he has by spending time at his trade and looking at a lot of tape.”


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Vikings Defense Continues To Improve Versus Run

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 23, 2009 – 10:23 am

After their first 2 games of the 2009 season, the Vikings ranked 15th in the NFL against the rush, allowing 109 yards per game in contests against the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions.

Although it was premature at that point, outsiders began questioning whether the Vikings would stand up against the run in 2009 as they had the previous 3 seasons. Entering 2009, the Vikings were the 1st team since the AFL-NFL merger to lead the league in rushing defense for 3 consecutive seasons.

But since those first 2 games, the Vikings defense has continually ascended up the NFL rankings, improving to 12th after Week 3, hovering around 9th and 10th from Week 4 to Week 7 and then jumping to 7th two weeks ago.

After holding the Seattle Seahawks to just 4 yards rushing on Sunday, the Vikings defense has jumped up to #3 in the NFL and is allowing only 85.5 yards per contest.

“It’s number one on our list of things we (the defense) want to get accomplished for the season,” Vikings LB Chad Greenway said in the locker room after Sunday’s win. “Our defensive front is so good that it’s something we should be there and be number one.  We haven’t been there this year, so it’s good to have a day like today.  We need some more of those if we want to get back in this battle (for the top-ranked rushing defense).”

Judging by Greenway’s comments, it’s clear the Vikings defense takes pride in its ability to impose its will against opponents and stop the run.

As if the Vikings improvement against the run over the course of the season wasn’t bad enough news for upcoming opponents, the Vikings are now poised to see the return of CB Antoine Winfield, who will only strengthen the Purple’s ability to halt the opposing team’s rushing attack.

The Vikings next opportunity to shut down the run will come against the Chicago Bears, who will visit Mall of America Field next Sunday. The Bears averaged just 78 rushing yards per game against the Vikings last year and this year Chicago has the 29th-ranked rushing attack, with an 89.3-yard per game rushing average.


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2nd-Quarter Adjustment Propels Vikings Offense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 23, 2009 – 7:00 am

QB Brett Favre threw 4 TD passes in the 2nd quarter and 3rd quarters on Sunday and then Tarvaris Jackson came in for 4th quarter duty and threw one of his own. The Vikings 35-9 victory over the Seahawks at Mall of America Field turned into a route, but it didn’t begin that way.

After Seattle quickly went 3-and-out in the game’s opening possession, the Vikings began their drive on the Minnesota 41-yardline. After a false start penalty on 1st down backed them up to 1st-and-15, the Vikings gained just 3 yards on 2 plays and then Favre was sacked on 3rd down to end the drive.

On Seattle’s 2nd possession, they once again went 3-and-out. But the Vikings were also forced to punt on their 2nd possession after stalling out on the Seattle 36-yardline.

Eventually, the 1st quarter ended with no score for either team. It’s odd that in a game where the Vikings scored 35 points, they were held scoreless in the 1st quarter.

Penalties hurt the Vikings early. But so did Seattle’s scheme on the defensive line. Favre was sacked twice during the opening 2 series.

“They slammed a lot of things inside,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said when asked about the 1st quarter struggles on offense. “A lot of twist games, a couple of stunts that we hadn’t seen before.”

But the Vikings figured it out immediately during the 1st possession of the 2nd quarter and quickly scored 14 points. The answer was to turn to the passing game to neutralize what the Seahawks defensive line was doing. Beginning with the Vikings 3rd possession, Favre dropped back to pass on 11 of the next 16 plays, resulting in 2 TD passes and a comfortable 14-0 lead. In the Vikings 1st 13 plays, Favre dropped back only 5 times.

“We spread out a little bit and actually went to the pass a little bit more,” Childress said of the Vikings adjustment. “We are good enough to be able to do that. That is why it’s nice to have a couple different dimensions.”

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said that although the Vikings haven’t started the past 2 games in ideal fashion, the fact that they’ve been able to overcome the slow starts and eventually put away inferior teams is a good sing.

“I feel like we haven’t … the last two weeks we didn’t come out with the start that we would like,” Peterson commented, “but we’re able to pick it up and put away some guys. That’s good and we continue to learn from it.”


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Remember To Vote For The Samsung Unsung Hero Of The Game

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 23, 2009 – 6:37 am

Remember to visit the vikings.com home page and vote for the Samsung Unsung Hero of the Game. This is a new bit on the website and it’s one that fans largely control. The winner of the poll, which closes on Wednesday, will be interviewed and the video will be posted on vikings.com.

Last week the Samsung Unsung Hero of the Game was TE Jeff Dugan. Click here to see his interview.

This week’s choices for the Samsung Unsung Hero of the Game are CB Asher Allen, LB Heath Farwell, T Phil Loadholt and S Jamarca Sanford.

Allen recorded his 1st career INT in yesterday’s win and also had a tackle. Farwell had 2 special teams tackles and recovered a fumble on a Seattle kick return. Loadholt was part of an offensive line that paved the way for the Vikings to gain 160 rushing yards and pickup 271 total passing yards. And Sanford recorded 1 special teams tackle and forced the fumble that Farwell recovered.


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