We mentioned last week here on the blog that QB Brett Favre was approaching a quartet of Joe Montana’s postseason passing records.
Favre has a brilliant performance on Sunday against the Cowboys and as a result he broke one of Montana’s records and inched closer to 3 others.
In a 34-3 victory over Dallas, Favre was 15 of 24 for 234 yards and 4 TDs. The 24 attempts give Favre a career postseason total of 745 passing attempts, 11 more than Montana’s 734. That was the only record Favre surpassed, though, as his 234 yards leave him 227 short of Montana’s 5,772.
Also, Favre is 2 TD passes behind Montana’s 45 and 7 completions behind Montana’s 460.
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Last week was a good week for Vikings fans – their team was preparing for a home Divisional playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys that they would ultimately win.
For WNBA fans in Minnesota and for Golden Gopher fans in Minnesota, the week was made even more enjoyable because a home-town favorite from the Golden Gopher’s women’s basketball program – Lindsay Whalen – was traded to the Minnesota Lynx.
So what relevence does that have to this blog? Not a whole lot, really, but there’s a cool story written by ESPN.com’s Mechelle Voepel that involves Whalen, her love for the Vikings and her friendly rivalry with another WNBA player who is a big Cowboys fan.
Anyway, here’s the link to the story if you care to read it. If you do read it, enjoy it, but then get back here for more Vikings updates.
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Vikings WR Sidney Rice, coming off a breakout regular season that saw him finish 2nd in the NFC and 4th in the NFL with 1,312 receiving yards, tied an NFL postseason record and set a new Vikings postseason record for receiving TDs in a game by hauling in 3 of them against the Cowboys on Sunday.
Rice, who had 6 grabs for 141 yards on the day, had TD receptions of 47, 16 and 45 yards – plays that dazzled the home crowd and crushed the Cowboys will.
Speaking with reporters following the game, here’s what Rice had to say about each of his 3 TDs.
“The first one was supposed to be a post route, but I had cover two, so outside release and the corner just let me go right behind him. Brett (Favre) just put the ball right there. It was in the perfect spot. The safety wasn’t even looking at the ball. It dropped right into my arms. On the second one, I wasn’t even designed to go out. The play wasn’t designed for me to go out for the pass, but I had to cut the defensive end, (DeMarcus) Ware. I got him down on the ground, and I popped back up and I just started easing back towards the end zone. Brett (Favre) was scrambling and dropped it right off and I back peddled a couple of steps, turned, and got into the end zone. And, the last one, I believe it was cover zero. I gave the defender something off the line, and I was able to get behind him, and once again, Brett (Favre) put the ball right there where it needed to be.”
You can watch highlights of Rice’s TDs by clicking here.
Tags: Sidney Rice
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Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress will meet with reporters at Winter Park today during his usual day-after-the-game press conference.
The press conference is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. CT and you can watch it live right here on vikings.com.
Head to the home page of vikings.com around 12:30 and click on the appropriate centerpiece item to view the presser.
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A quick glance at the box score from Sunday’s win over the Cowboys might cause one to raise concern over the Vikings running game. Superstar RB Adrian Peterson registered 63 yards on 26 carries (2.4-yard average) and had a long run of just 11 yards and the Vikings as a team averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.
But upon further review, the Vikings running game was indeed effective and it’s more because of the number of attempts (33) than yards gained (103).
We saw what a defense can do when the offense gets behind and is thrust into a pass-heavy play-calling rut. That’s exactly where the Cowboys were for most of Sunday’s game and the Vikings defense capitalized by tallying 6 sacks.
The Vikings, meanwhile, ran 9 more times than they passed, and as a result the Cowboys defense – and most importantly the outstanding edge rushers – was kept off-balance and was forced to honor the run. QB Brett Favre took advantage of that result by completing 15 of those 24 passes for 234 yards and 4 TDs.
“I think it is always important to beat on people up front,” Childress responded when asked why his team stuck with the run on Sunday despite a lack of production. “It helps in your pass game, it helps versus their pass rush. We didn’t have any desire to get into a ‘let them rush the passer’ game.
“Typically you have to stake yourself to a lead to be able to do it that way. It’s still run attempts for us. Would you like to run for plus four (yards) every time? We would but we’re not going to give up on them.”
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No one from the stands came onto the field and threw a pass or sacked Dallas QB Tony Romo, but it’s hard to deny that the Vikings home crowd didn’t have an influence on Sunday’s game.
A crowd of 63,000+ showed up at Mall of America Field to root on their team. Fans had white towels waiting for them on their seats when the gates opened and then they were whipped into a frenzy thanks to several highlight videos prior to kickoff.
Dallas did a good job of keeping their poise by not committing false start penalties or being flagged for delay of game, but those aren’t the only indicators of the impact a raucous home crowd can have on a game.
Several defenders mentioned that Dallas was forced to use a silent count at times during the game, a tactic that is necessary in noisy environments but also gives the defensive a decided advantage.
Another less-tangible impact the crowd can have is that the Vikings defensive players feed off of the energy. The Vikings defense played with lots of energy on Sunday while the crowd never quieted down.
The Vikings home-field advantage is ultimately judged by wins and losses, and the Vikings were 9-0 in their home building this season. The Vikings scoring margins at home since their Week 9 are as follows: +17, +26, +26, +20, +37 and +31.
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In a dominating victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at Mall of America Field, the Vikings defense cooled off a hot Cowboys offense while their offense lit up a Dallas defense that had allowed just 14 points in the previous 3 contests.
But it wasn’t just an offensive and defensive show on Sunday. The Vikings special teams unit played well also.
From kicking and punting to kick and punt coverage, special teams coordinator Brian Murphy had his unit performing superbly against the Cowboys. K Ryan Longwell was 2 of 2 on FGs and 4 of 4 on PATs, and he also demonstrated expert control on his kickoffs. P Chris Kluwe pinned Dallas on its own 2 with one punt and also registered a 61-yard boomer.
The kick coverage units were solid as well, holding Dallas to just a 15.7-yard return average on 7 kickoff returns. Special teams stalwarts S Husain Abdullah, LB Heath Farwell and S Tyrell Johnson each registered a pair of tackles and CB Cedric Griffin, though credited with no special teams tackles, did a great job of preventing returners from getting around the edge.
“I know it’s trite but our team did a great job,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said after the game. “Whether you talk about Ryan Longwell and Chris Kluwe kicking the football. Our coverage units were unbelievably outstanding. We were real worried about (Patrick) Crayton in the return game and Felix Jones who got in there toward the end. Great place to put our defense on the field.”
Childress raises an excellent point as it pertains to the special teams performance aiding the defensive effort. Dallas average starting field position after a kickoff was their own 22, and their average starting position for all possessions was their own 25. The Vikings, meanwhile, enjoyed an average starting field position of their own 43, a drastic difference and one that was paramount in the final outcome.
The addition of QB Brett Favre to the Vikings offense will go down as the most important improvement over last year’s team, but one must also not discount how much Murphy and his special teams unit has improved from last year as well.
Tags: Chris Kluwe, Heath Farwell, Husain Abdullah, Ryan Longwell, Tyrell Johnson
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There’s really no introduction to or summary of this video that could give it proper justice. Let’s just say it involves ESPN’s Kenny Mayne and several members of the Vikings doing a satirical feature on QB Brett Favre and his endorsement of Wrangler Jeans.
You can watch the video by clicking here.
Then come back to the vikings.com Blog for more updates on your favorite team.
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The Dallas Cowboys came into Sunday’s Divisional Round Playoff game as one of the hottest teams in the NFL with one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.
In their 2 previous games heading into Sunday’s contest, Dallas had scored 58 points against the Philadelphia Eagles. And in their last 4 games, the Cowboys averaged 433.0 yards and 24.8 points per contest.
With a confident and in-rhythm QB – Tony Romo – playing behind a massive offensive line and with a talented group of pass-catchers, Dallas was poised to continue their hot streak against the Vikings and setup a rematch with the New Orleans Saints, the very team they beat back on December 19 to begin their 4-game winning streak.
But then something happened. And that something was the Vikings defense, a unit that put on a stunning performance in holding the explosive Cowboys to just 3 points and only 248 net yards of offense. With the Vikings offense matching the excellence of the defense, Sunday’s game turned into a lopsided affair – a 34-3 Vikings victory.
“We knew it was going to be a battle all four quarters, and for the most part it was,” LB Ben Leber said immediately after the game. “I never imagined it would be this lopsided. You have to give a lot of credit to their offense. They came in a high-powered offense, explosive. We thought it was going to be a big-time dogfight, and we did a good job holding them to three points.
So what was the key to the Vikings defensive dominance? There were probably a number of factors, beginning with the Vikings ability to pressure Romo. The Cowboys QB was sacked 6 times and hurried or hit on many more occasions.
Another reason, though, was the Vikings ability to limit Dallas’ explosive plays. The Vikings definition of an explosive play is a run of 12+yards and a pass of 16+ yards. The Cowboys, one of the NFL’s most explosive teams over the past month, had just 3 explosive plays on Sunday (2 passes, 1 run).
Key in the defense’s ability to limit Dallas explosiveness was sound coverage and technique, as well as solid tackling.
“You obviously never want to have guys get behind the coverage and make big plays,” Leber explained, “but secondly, we did a good job of keeping everything in front of us. We did a good job of tackling and not having many explosive plays against us. The game plan worked, and we executed pretty well.”
Leber makes a good point. Players on the field did their job by executing the scheme and making plays. But there’s a reason coaches put in so much time during the week.
“That’s a credit to (defensive coordinator) Leslie Frazier and the whole defensive coaching staff,” Vikings CB Benny Sapp said. “They came in this week and were real tough on us. They knew Dallas was a big-play team. We wanted to erase that off the field today, and that’s what we did.”
Tags: Ben Leber, Benny Sapp, Leslie Frazier
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