Blogs

Vikings Defense Epitomizing Consistency Early In 2010 Season

Posted by cjsiewert on September 29, 2010 – 6:29 am

With so many different variables leading to ebbs and flows in the Vikings aerial attack along with other personnel finding a rhythm early in the regular season, the Purple are welcoming the bye week to rest and gain extra preparation for a Week 5 Monday night matchup against the New York Jets at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

Yes, the Vikings have shown irregularities throughout the first 3 weeks. But one factor that’s been a consistent force is the play of the defense. Through 3 weeks the Vikings defense ranks in the top 5 in points (3rd-12.5 PPG) and yards allowed (5th-276.3 YPG) and also boasts an 8th-ranked passing (189.0 YPG) and rushing (87.3 YPG) defense.

The Purple have prided themselves on a dominant run defense ever since Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress’ arrival in 2006. The Lions were the latest team to face this staunch unit, as they were held to a season-low 63 yards rushing in last Sunday’s contest – nearly 100 yards less than Vikings RB Adrian Peterson’s total for the game (160).

As the run defense continues its stout performance, so has the pass rush.

Obtaining such a balanced defense is one of many reasons the Vikings have yet to allow more than 14 points a game this season. Even with CBs Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin out for the first 2 weeks, the Vikings pass defense allowed only 237 yards against the pass-heavy Saints team in Week 1 and a dismal 114 yards in Week 2 against the Dolphins.

During the Vikings 24-10 victory over the Lions on Sunday at Mall of America Field, the Vikings secondary welcomed back both Cook and Griffin in route to allowing 237 passing yards. After Lions star rookie RB Jahvid Best left the game with a toe injury, Detroit turned one-dimensional with its aerial attack and the Vikings quickly adjusted. Lions QB Shaun Hill was held to a 69.6 passer rating and was intercepted by LB Ben Leber and CB Antoine Winfield late in the game, putting a halt to any sort of comeback.

As the Vikings defense continues to show its consistency in both the run and pass rush, it’s well known that everyone needs to stay confident in their specific role with 4 straight games against talented offenses – at New York, home against the Dallas Cowboys and then 2 road games against the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.

“Going into the bye week you need to get more confidence going,” Vikings LB Chad Greenway told reporters after Sunday’s victory over the Lions. “Whatever injuries we do have, the bye week will take care of them and now we know the stretch we have coming out of the bye so we need to get at least mentally healthy.”


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Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 95 Comments »

Peterson Up For FedEx Award

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 28, 2010 – 12:47 pm

Adrian Peterson ripped through the Detroit Lions defense  last Sunday to the tune of 160 rushing yards and 2 TDs on 23 carries, a performance that led the Vikings to a 24-10 victory at Mall of America Field.

That performance has also earned him consideration for the Week 3 FedEx Ground Player of the Week award. Fans can click on this link to vote for Peterson, who is now the NFC’s leading rusher and is ranked 2nd in the NFL.

Fans can vote for one player in each category on NFL.com/FedEx from 8:00 a.m. CTon Tuesday through 11:00 a.m. CT on Friday to determine the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week. The winners will be announced Friday evening on NFL.com. New this year, fans will be able to keep tabs on the achievements of their favorite Air & Ground players (and others) with the NFL Milestone Tracker, presented by FedEx.

Fans will be voting for more than their favorite player. As part of the Air & Ground program, FedEx continues its support of Safe Kids USA by making weekly $2,000 donations in each of the winning players’ names. The funding, allocated to local Safe Kids coalitions in that team’s city, is used for pedestrian safety improvements throughout the year, from upgraded crosswalks and safety signs to traffic barriers and educational training.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 22 Comments »

Submit Your Questions For The Vikings Coordinators

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on September 28, 2010 – 8:33 am

Each week, we ask fans to submit their questions for Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress for the “Ask Coach” segment of “Vikings GamePlan,” which airs on Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM on both KARE 11 and FS North.

However, this week it’s time for the Vikings three coordinators — Darrell Bevell (offense), Leslie Frazier (defense), and Brian Murphy (special teams) — to step in for Coach Childress and answer some fan questions.

So, via the comments section below, submit your question, along with which coordinator it’s meant for and your name and hometown, and your question could be answered on this week’s show.


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Bears Top Packers On MNF, Rule NFC

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 28, 2010 – 6:29 am

In the latest illustration of the parity of unpredictability of the NFL, the Chicago Bears defeated the Green Bay Packers 20-17 on Monday night at Soldier Field to improve to 3-0 and grab the top spot in both the NFC North and the entire NFC. The Bears are the only 3-0 team in the conference and they join the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers as the only unbeaten squads in the NFL.

Heading into the 2010 season, it was the Packers and Vikings who were considered NFC North favorites, while the Bears were written off by nearly everyone outside of the Chicago area. Yet here we are, 3 weeks into the NFL season, and it’s the Bears who rule the division and the conference after a pair of division wins plus a huge win on the road at Dallas in Week 2.

Chicago’s defense was opportunistic and Devin Hester made his mark with a pair of terrific punt returns, one of which he took to the house for a 62-yard score in the 4th quarter. Green Bay was penalized 18 times on the night and although the passing game was up to snuff, the ground game just wasn’t there on a consistent basis.

Both the Bears and Packers have time to clean things up for their contests against the Vikings. And the same can be said for the Vikings – they have time to clean things up before they face another NFC North foe. The Vikings travel to Lambeau Field in Week 7 and then to Soldier Field 3 weeks later. Green Bay comes to Minnesota on November 21 and Chicago plays here on December 20.

If Monday night’s game between the Bears and Packers is any indication, the NFC North is going to be tightly-contested all the way to the end of the season.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 23 Comments »

Ryan Cook Plays Well In Place Of Injured Sullivan

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 27, 2010 – 12:20 pm

Vikings starting C John Sullivan has been dealing with a calf injury since the early part of training camp and it looked like he was battling back to solid playing shape through the 1st couple games of the 2010 regular season. But Cook didn’t even make it a couple of plays into Sunday’s game against the Lions before he re-aggravated that calf injury.

On the Vikings 1st offensive play against Detroit, Sullivan was injured and came out of the game. He was unable to return, meaning veteran Ryan Cook assumed the position because backup C Jon Cooper was inactive. Cook played C in college and was selected in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft but has been unable to develop into a regular starter.

He still isn’t a regular starter for the Vikings, but he looked the part on Sunday.

“He really did a great job,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Monday. “You didn’t see any downturn on anything.”

Childress did point out that Cook had 2 penalties called against him, but ultimately the head coach said “you didn’t see any physical shortcomings by him at all in there in terms of playing the offensive line.”


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 27 Comments »

Cook, Griffin Make Successful Returns To Lineup

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 27, 2010 – 8:25 am

An already impressively strong Vikings defense got a lot stronger on Sunday because CBs Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin made their returns to the lineup after battling back from knee injuries. As a result, the Vikings secondary played perhaps its best game of the short season.

Griffin injured his knee during last year’s NFC Championship Game and aggressively rehabbed the injury to the point where he wanted to be on the field at the commencement of training camp. The Vikings decided against that move but Griffin continued his hard work and was able to come back earlier than anyone anticipated.

Cook injured his knee at the end of the preseason and was forced to sit out the team’s first 2 regular season games. But he, too, worked hard to get back and made his return on Sunday along with Griffin. The ultimate result was a much deeper Vikings CB corps and a stronger secondary overall.

“Great to have those two guys back,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said after the game. “It’s nice to have two bigger bodies in there. I know that Cedric contested a couple of passes, and Chris had a nice breakup. They’ll only get better and better as they get back into that football shape and practicing potentially as starters.”

Neither Griffin nor Cook were stars of the game so to speak, but as Childress pointed out they both had impact plays and their presence in the lineup added depth to the position and also made players around them better. I was told by someone after the game that S Husain Abdullah had his best game of the season and my sense is that it could have something to do with both Cook and Griffin being in the lineup.

Following the victory over Detroit, both Cook and Griffin spoke with reporters in the locker room and sounded like guys who approached their rehab the correct way and were also thrilled to be back in the action.

“When you take time away from the game, you learn a bit more,” Griffin explained. “Your awareness is heightened, you gain appreciation for the game and that’s what I did. I appreciate this game and I love this game. I’m glad my teammates supported me and the coaches allowed me to get back into practice and get up to speed and get back out here for the Lions.”

Cook spoke about battling an injury early in his 1st season as a pro.

“It did hurt mentally to get hurt early on but I’m a confident guy and I didn’t let it kill my confidence,” the rookie CB said. “I just looked at it as a minor setback with a major comeback. I just worked as hard as I can to get back.”

As I stated above, the Vikings defense was already a strong unit without Cook and Griffin in the lineup. But there’s no doubt that the defense is even better with both CBs on the field. It’ll be interesting to see if the presence of Cook and Griffin in the lineup will alter how assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier schemes and strategizes.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 17 Comments »

“All Day” Is Vikings All-Purpose Weapon

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 27, 2010 – 6:56 am

For a team that’s 1-2 and has faced its share of adversity so far in the young 2010 season, the Vikings also have quite a few positive trends through the first 3 games. The most positive of them all is the performance(s) of superstar RB Adrian Peterson, who is doing all the things the NFL’s best RB should be able to do.

Peterson rushed for 1,383 yard and 18 TDs a year ago and remained, for my money, the NFL’s best runner. But a bad habit of fumbling in big spots and the Vikings willingness to insert Chester Taylor into important spots such as 3rd downs and late-game passing situations yielded some criticism for young #28. Judging by his performance so far in 2009, Peterson took those criticisms to heart and through 3 games there really isn’t much to criticize in his game.

Peterson’s latest performance was his best, as he ripped through the Detroit Lions defense for 160 yards and 2 TDs on 23 carries. He’s now the NFC’s leading rusher and is ranked 2nd in the NFL with 392 yards. Only Houston’s Arian Foster has more rushing yards (406) and no one in the NFC is within sight of Peterson (Ahmad Bradshaw has 253 rushing yards). On top of that, Peterson is averaging 5.6 yards per rush and 130.7 yards per game, numbers that both represent dramatic improvements from a season ago. Against the Lions on Sunday, Peterson displayed his game-breaking speed by bolting up the middle, bouncing outside and out-running everyone to the endzone for an 80-yard score, the longest of his career and the 4th-longest in team history.

But being an all-purpose back and also the best RB in the league is about more than racking up rushing yards and scoring TDs. While Peterson has had no problem with either of those tasks in 2010, he’s also been a factor in the Vikings passing game. Peterson had 5 receptions for 30 yards on Sunday against Detroit and he now has 13 receptions on the season, putting him on pace for 69 catches this season, a total that will smash his previous career high in receptions (43). In addition to his pass-catching contributions, Peterson has also been on the field frequently in 3rd down situations and a number of times he’s been the one to pick up a blitzing defender to buy QB Brett Favre extra time to convert a 3rd down pass.

In talking with my buddy Paul Allen – voice of the Vikings Radio Network – after Sunday’s win over Detroit, I thought he may have used the best adjective to describe Peterson’s performance on the season so far. He called it “professional,” which I think is appropriate because Peterson is doing all of the things you expect a professional RB to do. He’s picking up yardage as a rusher on the ground and he’s pulling his weight in the passing game both as a receiver and blocker.

On top of everything I just mentioned, Peterson has also (knock on wood) not fumbled the ball this year. This offseason much of the talk about Peterson was not about the fact that he owns 3 of the top 4 single-season rushing totals in Vikings history or that he set a team record and led the NFL in rushing TDs last year with 18. It was about his fumbling issues – he had 7 fumbles and lost 6 of them last year – and whether or not he could resolve that issue.

It’s only been 3 games, but so far so good in the fumbling department. Peterson seems conscious of protecting the ball and that mental awareness has not hindered his physical abilities. He’s displaying the running form we’ve become accustomed to and also the running form that has made him the best RB in the NFL.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 18 Comments »

Submit Your Monday Morning Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 26, 2010 – 5:20 pm

The Vikings got their 1st win of the 2010 regular season. RB Adrian Peterson blew up for 160 yards and 2 TDs. CBs Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin made their returns to the lineup. The defense dominated again and allowed just 1 TD. And the Vikings have their bye week coming up.

Yes, there’s a lot to talk about. Good thing tomorrow is Monday morning.

Submit your comments/questions to the Monday Morning Mailbag by sending an email to me at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net or by including it in the comments section below this entry.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 70 Comments »

Peterson, Vikings Defense Key Win Over Lions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 26, 2010 – 3:06 pm

A superior effort from both superstar RB Adrian Peterson and a stout Vikings defense keyed the Vikings to their 1st victory of the 2010 regular season, a 24-10 decision over the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field on Sunday.

The Vikings went into the locker room at halftime with a 14-10 lead behind a 24-yard TD reception from WR Percy Harvin and a 6-yard TD run by Peterson. After beginning the season 0-2, though, that 4-point halftime lead didn’t feel too comfortable. But Peterson and the Vikings defense would take care of business in the 2nd half.

Led by LB Chad Greenway and CB Antoine Winfield, who both had a game-high 9 tackles, the Vikings defense kept Detroit off the board for the game’s final 2 quarters. Both LB Ben Leber and Winfield grabbed INTs late in the game to help keep the Lions off the board.

While the defense was at work grinding the Lions offense to a halt, Peterson put the offense on his back and ultimately sealed the Vikings victory with a sensational 80-yard TD run late in the 3rd quarter.

Peterson’s 80-yard scoring run was the longest of his career and the 4th-longest in team history. It gave the Vikings a 24-10 lead and it was the highlight of his 23-carry, 160-yard, 2-TD effort.

The win moves Minnesota to 1-2 on the season as they head into their bye week. Stay tuned to vikings.com for more post-game coverage.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 67 Comments »

“All Day” Hits It Big For 2nd TD

Posted by cjsiewert on September 26, 2010 – 1:26 pm

Vikings All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson showed fans exactly why he’s the best RB in the league, providing the Purple with an 80-yard TD run down the Vikings sideline to put his team up 24-10 late in the 3rd quarter.

Peterson’s TD sprint occurred on the 1st play of the series, bouncing out to the right side and leaving the Lions secondary chasing to no prevail. The 4-year veteran is nearing 5,000 career rushing yards and will become just the 4th player in team history if he reaches that mark.

The Vikings lead the Lions 24-10 at the end of the 3rd quarter.


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Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 68 Comments »