Community Tuesday: Shop With a Viking

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 4:47 pm

Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe, along with teammates and Vikings cheerleaders, will help youngsters from the A-Mon-Nue Sports Association spend $100 gift cards for a holiday shopping spree courtesy of the Sports Authority on Tuesday.

Earlier in the season, Shiancoe treated members of A-Mon-Nue to watch a private Saturday practice and meet the entire team afterwards. Shiancoe has made children of Liberia his community focus. The TE and his teammates will offer shopping tips for what’s “in” for athletes – boys and girls – helping the youngsters pick out shoes, jerseys, and other athletic gear.

“Being involved in the communities in which we do business and especially with the kids in those communities is a fundamental part of who we are as a company. Through our partnership with the Minnesota Vikings, we are proud to host this great community event,” said Sports Authority Chief Operating Officer Greg Waters.

After shopping with the players, the kids will enjoy dinner provided by Arby’s. The event will take place at the Sports Authority’s Eden Prairie location.

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Childress: Home Crowd Helps “Immeasurably”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 3:17 pm

Crowd noise at Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome is known for being among the toughest to deal with in the NFL. Often times during TV broadcasts of Vikings home games, the production crew will show the crowd noise being measured in decibels.

The home crowd at Sunday’s Vikings game against the Bengals was up to its usual antics, especially when the visiting Bengals were at work on offense. In the 1st quarter alone, the Bengals had 3 false start infractions, 2 of which came on 3rd downs.

While the noise inside Mall of America Field can be measured with a scientific instrument, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Monday that the effect of the crowd noise is not measurable.

“Particularly on our third downs,” Childress said when asked to comment on Sunday’s home crowd and the noise they produced. “That helps our guys immeasurably. It was a little bit quiet when our guys were on offense, which is the way you want it.

“But as long as they’ll elevate when the defense is on the field and raise cane, that’s why you’re playing for that home-field advantage (in the playoffs).”

The Vikings will enjoy their home crowd one more time in the regular season when they host the NY Giants in Week 17. But if the Vikings keep winning they will position themselves to host at least one postseason game and let their home fans cause havoc for yet another visiting foe.

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Brinkley Balances Vikings Defense Vs. Bengals

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 2:14 pm

There are several hurdles to overcome when a team is forced to replace a starter, and the task becomes a little more difficult when the replacement is a 1st-time starter.

Such was the case for the Vikings on Sunday against Cincinnati. With middle LB E.J. Henderson lost for the season due to a broken leg, the Vikings turned to 5th round pick Jasper Brinkley to fill the role in the middle.

Adding another level of difficulty to the Vikings defensive challenge was the fact that the Bengals employ an unusual offensive mechanism that adds an extra responsibility to the middle LB’s job. On several occasions Sunday, the Bengals inserted into the lineup an extra offensive tackle, which created an unbalanced offensive formation in the run-heavy offensive attack.

As if replacing the heart and soul of the defense wasn’t hard enough already, Brinkley now had to deal with matching his teammates up against an odd formation while also positioning himself to replace the production Henderson provided on a weekly basis.

But when the dust settled and the clock said 00:00, the Vikings were on the right end of a 30-10 outcome. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Monday that Brinkley did a good job of handling the “mental gymnastics” and that the rookie LB also provided a physical presence on defense.

“He did a great job I thought in both against a very difficult group to play against just because of all the extra linemen that they had in the game,” Childress added. “You have to do some different things when people are unbalanced. First of all, it’s coming out of the huddle at you. It’s visual recognition and identification. They’re always attempting to deceive when they do that, and it has to happen very quickly where you’re setting the defense, getting people moved if they didn’t hear you, flipping people over, linebackers flipping sides, and then playing the game.”

Brinkley played primarily in the Vikings base package – in the 4-3 defensive alignment on most 1st and 2nd downs. He registered 3 tackles and contributed significantly to a defensive effort that held the Bengals to just 210 net yards.

“It’s a tough situation to come into,” said LB Ben Leber after the game. “Obviously, he was probably anxious and nervous. I thought he performed pretty well coming in and making the calls in base (defense), and going downhill and making some hits.”

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Watch Brad Childress’ Press Conference Live

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 11:34 am

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress will hold his usual day-after-the-game press conference at Winter Park today. You can watch the press conference live on and no where else.

To view the press conference, which will begin at roughly 12:30 p.m. CT, click here.

Among the topics that might be mentioned during the presser…

– Bouncing back with a win against the Bengals
— The return of Antoine Winfield
— Thoughts on Jasper Brinkley and Jamarca Sanford
— Status of Percy Harvin and E.J. Henderson
— Adrian Peterson/running game performance
— Personal foul penalties against Cedric Griffin and Kevin Williams

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Erin Henderson Contributes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 11:11 am

We blogged last week that the injury to LB E.J. Henderson would, in a round-about way, increase the playing time of his younger brother, Erin.

On Sunday against the Bengals that thought came to fruition. For just the 2nd time this season, Erin was active on game day. And for the 2nd time this season, Erin was a contributor while active.

His 1st game this season was back on November 1 at Green Bay when he tallied a pair of special teams tackles. Against Cincinnati on Sunday, Erin once again tallied 2 special teams tackles. He also recorded a fumble recovery when teammate Darius Reynaud dropped a 3rd quarter punt.

Erin said after the game that he had a tough time sleeping on Saturday night but that he also spoke with his older brother just before going to bed and that helped him relax.

Expect to see much more of Erin on game days.

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Submit Your Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 10:55 am

Do you have a question or comment about Sunday’s victory over the Bengals? Or a question about the Vikings next game against Carolina? Send them to the Mailbag.

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

The Mailbag is published ever Friday during the regular season.

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RB Taylor Delivers When Called Upon

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 9:59 am

Having skilled offensive players does not guarantee offensive success. Aside from those players performing on the field, coaches must also do their part by putting those players in a position to succeed.

The Vikings have found offensive success this season thanks to many talented offensive weapons, from stud RB Adrian Peterson to rookie WR Percy Harvin. The coaching staff has put these players in a position to succeed and the players have delivered.

But sometimes lost in the Sidney Rice highlight-caliber grabs and electric Harvin kick returns is a player who, perhaps more than any other, is used perfectly by the Vikings coaching staff.

Chester Taylor.

Taylor came to the Vikings in 2006, head coach Brad Childress’ 1st season on the job in Minnesota, and he quickly established himself as a quality #1 RB with 1,216 rushing yards and 6 TDs in his 1st season as a feature back. But then the Vikings drafted Peterson, and #28 quickly emerged as the league’s best RB, which in turn decreased the number of opportunities for Taylor.

But the beauty of the situation for the Vikings is that although Taylor’s number of touches have gone down, his impact and the significance of his opportunities remain vital to the Vikings success. And that’s a credit to the Vikings coaching staff.

Taylor has been an excellent change of pace back for the Vikings and he’s eased the load on Peterson during their 2+ seasons together in Minnesota. Since Peterson was drafted, Taylor has carried the ball 335 times for 1,534 yards, which averages out to 4.6 yards per carry. That’s 335 fewer times Peterson has taken a hit, yet the Vikings still got 4.6 yards per touch.

Against the Bengals on Sunday, Taylor continued to be a factor for the Vikings offense. He had 5 carries for 25 yards and 2 receptions for 32 yards. More impressive than the raw numbers, though, is the timing of his contributions.

Specifically, Taylor was crucial to the Vikings scoring on their opening possession of the 2nd half. On 3rd and 5 from the Vikings 45, Taylor’s number was called and he delivered with a 6-yard reception. On the next play, he gained 5 yards on a rushing attempt. Two plays later, after a penalty and a sack, Taylor picked up a 3rd and 12 from midfield with a 26-yard reception. On the next play he registered a 17-yard rush down to the Bengals 8.

Taylor touched the ball 4 times on that drive and gained a total of 54 yards, ultimately setting up a Peterson 1-yard TD run on the 10th play of the series and putting the game out of reach for Cincinnati. Both of his receptions came on 3rd down, one of which converted a 3rd and 12. And speaking of 3rd and long situations, Taylor leads the league in receptions on plays of 3rd and 8 or longer with 14.

The opening drive of the 2nd half on Sunday is a great example of the Vikings coaching staff putting Taylor in a position to succeed, and Taylor delivering when put in that situation.

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Winfield Makes Immediate Impact

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 8:23 am

If there was any question about the effect CB Antoine Winfield has on the Vikings defense, that question was answered on Sunday. After missing 6 games due to a foot injury, Winfield returned on Sunday and registered 9 tackles and a forced fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals.

All in a day’s work for #26.

It’s not as if the Vikings defense was relegated to chopped liver status without Winfield. While Winfield was out of the lineup, the Vikings defense allowed 18.6 points per game. With the Pro Bowl CB, the Vikings are allowing 16.6. But there’s no denying that Winfield’s presence gives the defense an added dimension.

“It goes without saying how much having Antoine (Winfield) back was,” Vikings QB Brett Favre said after the game. “I consider him one of the top five run defenders in all of football. Not just this year, because I’ve played against him.

Not only is he good against the pass, he’s as valuable to our run stop defense as Kevin (Williams) and Pat (Williams.) The guy’s outstanding. Having him back sure helps a lot.”

As for Winfield’s extended absence, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said it was important to make sure Winfield could give it 100% effort when he returned.

“We just wanted to make sure that he could pull the trigger and go the speed that he wanted and push off,” Childress explained. “He’s a collision football player. He’s never going to run up on the side of something, he’s going to directly hit them in the mouth. Those are the kind of things you miss from him.

“Those splash plays that happen on the edge when he approaches a sweep. Usually they are lost yardage plays. It has a tendency to elevate the rest of the defensive guys.”

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What Did The Win Do?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 7:42 am

The Vikings bounced back from last week’s loss with a convincing 30-10 win against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

The win improved the Vikings to 11-2 on the season and maintained their 2-game lead over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. That 2-game lead is actually a 3-game lead because the Vikings hold the tie-breaker should both teams finish the regular season with identical records.

So what else did Sunday’s win do for the Vikings? Here’s a list…

– Gave the Vikings their 2nd-consecutive postseason berth.
— Gave the Vikings their most regular season wins in a season since 2000, when the team finished 11-5.
— Gave the team its 9th consecutive regular season home victory, dating back to the 2008 finale against the N.Y. Giants.
— Gave the Vikings their 20th victory in the last 25 regular season games, dating back to 2008. The Vikings are 19-5 in the last 24 games.
— Improved the Vikings record at Mall of America Field to 7-0 in 2009.
— Improved the Vikings record against the AFC to 3-1 this season.
— Improved the Vikings all-time record against the Bengals to 6-5 and 5-0 at home.

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Peterson Sets New Franchise TD Record

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 14, 2009 – 7:25 am

Over his 2+ years in the NFL, RB Adrian Peterson has continually accumulated team and league records.

In fact, in the Vikings weekly release that is sent out in advance of every game, there are 4 pages dedicated to Peterson and his ranking in team and league annals.

On Sunday against the Bengals while rushing for a pair of TDs, Peterson added to his accomplishments.

With the 2 TDs, Peterson now has 14 on the season, giving him a career-high and the Vikings team record for rushing TDs in a single season. The former record was 17 years old and was set by Terry Allen.

Peterson also moved into sole possession of 7th place for most rushing TDs in the first 3 seasons with 36. Former Broncos RB Terrell Davis had 35 rushing TDs from 1995-1997.

Peterson’s 14 rushing TDs puts him in a tie with Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew for most rushing TDs in the NFL this season. Jones-Drew, by the way, had 34 rushing TDs in his first 3 seasons.

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