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
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 5 Comments »