Five (Good and Bad) Trends To Watch

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 7, 2010 – 10:45 am

The good news is that the Vikings earned a 1st-round bye and won’t play their 1st playoff game until 4 other teams are eliminated. The bad news is that means there will be no Vikings game to watch or talk about this weekend.

So we have to talk about something else in the meantime.

As a result, we’ve come up with 5 good and bad trends the Vikings have going as they enter the playoffs. The good trends are obviously ones we’d like to see the Vikings continue as the playoffs march on. The bad trends are ones we’d like to see eliminated, or at least tempered, as the postseason moves forward.

It’s always better to take the bad news first, so we’ll start with 5 trends we’d like to see eliminated. But come back around lunchtime because that’s when we’ll post the 5 positive trends.

1. Pass Defense
We all love the Vikings rushing defense – it’s #2 in the NFL. But at times the pass defense can make you nervous. While the Vikings aren’t terrible in yards allowed, there are 4 other areas of pass defense that need to be improved in the playoffs. They are:

1) Passing TDs allowed. The Vikings rank just 23rd in this category with 26 allowed, and only 2 other playoff teams have given up more passing TDs (Philadelphia, Green Bay).
2) The Vikings are tied for 26th with just 11 INTs. No other playoff team has fewer than the Vikings 11 INTs.
3) Opposing passers have a 92.5 passer rating against the Vikings and no other playoff team is allowing a better rating.
4) Opposing passers are completing 63.7% of their passes against the Vikings and only 1 other playoff team (Indianapolis) is allowing a higher percentage of completed passes.

2. Negative Plays On Offense
The Vikings were the league’s 2nd-highest scoring team behind New Orleans and only 4 other teams averaged more yards per game, those are great trends. On the flip side, though, the Vikings led the league with 116 negative plays. The Vikings were a great 3rd-down offense, converting 44.8% of their 3rd down conversions, but they could be even better on 3rd downs (and all other downs) if they could decrease their rate of negative plays.

3. Takeaways
The Vikings finished on the plus side of the turnover margin in 2009, but they finished in a tie for 22nd with just 24 takeaways. Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier stresses taking the ball away to his defense, and he’ll continue to do so as they prepare for their 1st playoff game.

4. Ball Security
Fumbling wasn’t a rampant problem for the Vikings in 2009, but at times it reared its ugly head. The most memorable fumble is of course RB Adrian Peterson’s in Chicago, but he wasn’t the only guy to put the ball on the ground. Favre lost one in Pittsburgh that was returned for 6 points and both Chester Taylor and Darius Reynaud fumbled against the Giants in Week 17. Maybe we’re being nit-picky here, but it’d be nice to see 0 fumbles during a long postseason run.

5. Kick Return Coverage
Before we get into this one, I want to qualify this trend by saying 2 things: 1) the Vikings kick coverage units were much improved from last year and generally performed well on a week-to-week basis and 2) the Vikings covered more kickoff returns than any other team during the regular season. With those 2 things said, the Vikings did allow 53 kickoff returns of 20+ yards, which was 2nd-most in the NFL, and they allowed 6 kickoff returns of 40+ yards, which was tied for the 4th-most. Again, maybe we’re being nit-picky here, but it’d be good to see a couple of 0s in those categories during a long postseason run.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »

16 Responses to “Five (Good and Bad) Trends To Watch”

  1. By Dthayer on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    Defense! Defense! Defense! – enough said

  2. By Brad on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    Peterson has got to have more than the 9 carries he had against N.Y.
    I get nervous when Favre has more than 20 pass attempts.

  3. By VikingsDefenseFan on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    I can tear this article apart if I wanted. Fortunately I don’t. Going into the playoffs with a dire prediction is necessary. Especially for the Vikings, and the fan base. Anything less would just be out of the ordinary, and downright bewildering. Got to keep our heads square on the shoulders ;)

  4. By Bruce on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    Brad, I get nervous when Favre has LESS than 40 attempts.

  5. By Liz on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    If Brett can keep up his accuracy and magic -it will be a great playoff all the way to winning the Super Bowl. The offensive line needs to protect him like they did at the beginning of the season and the D needs to play possessed. Peterson has had trouble pretty much all year breaking it for a big run. You saw what happened in the first half against the Bears when it seemed the run was the order of the day. In the second half of that game when they let Favre loose, the points piled up and the Vikes were able to run it some. Sorry boys, but passing is pretty much the game now, which definitely opens up the run at unexpected times.

  6. By jsilvy on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    Liz great points, but lets not give up on the run. Lets just run more out of the spread formation. Its easy to stop the run when everyone knows it coming. Childress wants to run with 2 tightends and a fullback. Get rid of the fullback and run out of the 3 wide wide sets. Favre is more productive, peterson is more productive, and it keeps Harvin on the field. The only thing stopping the vikes in the playoffs is Childress…..

  7. By Vikings Fan from Afar (West) on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    Fall on the ball! Too many times Viking defenders have tried to pick up a fumble and run with it. It cost us two games: Pittsburgh and the Chicago Bears (or was it the Panthers).

    Fall on the ball! Pick it up if you are sure you are in the clear. Fall on it by default. Fall on it whenever in doubt. Fall on it whenever in traffic. Fall on the ball!

    Thank you.

  8. By paconnec on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    No matter what AP should get the ball at least 20+ times a game period. Now regarding the pass defense i think the 2 related reasons it seems that at several times this year the pass defense looked bad had to do with the d-line not getting pressure and too many slow starts which could be another trend because more than anything that is killing the vikings (slow starts on offense) because it tires the defense out which is why at times it seems like those williams boys are not doing anything and the pass defense is getting chopped up

  9. By Liz on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    In response to JSilvy – You are soooo right about Childress.

  10. By mike on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    people we really have two things that need to happen to get us there and both involve the line bottom line yes we dnt have the most amazing dbs but if our dline swarms any qb we do amazing and force turnovers and if we give favre time or give the best running back in football a hole that is what we need look at all the games we played
    pressure on their qb= win
    protecting our qb and opening holes= win

  11. By Robert on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    The team needs to Block and tackle better

  12. By mike on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    one mre thing vikings in dome 10-0 path to superbowl two domes hmmm i think that is good sign

  13. By Sky on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    From what I seen the past few games, we all have been through ups and downs with our Vikes. I have seen poor tackling efforts and also horrible calls made by Chilly. I have also noticed that our defensive coordinator (Leslie Frazier) tends to favor blitzing on the right side of the ball. The teams we have been playin have also noticed and that’s how they got a couple of big plays against the D.

  14. By Sky on Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

    Finally, I think Chilly needs to let #4 run the show. Haha funny to think that Farve has been playing almost as long as Chilly’s been coaching. Anyway it’s gonna go down at our house and it’s either time to put up or shut up…

  15. By Kenny on Jan 8, 2010 | Reply

    yeah….adrian peterson is the negative yard plays on offense……cough cough o line

  16. By reindeer35 on Jan 8, 2010 | Reply

    It looks like has finally learned how to keep both hands on the ball. Let’s hope he does not have a short memory.

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