Vikings legend Fran Tarkenton will be the guest on “Vikings at 50” – the team’s radio show – tonight at 6:30 PM CST on KFAN 1130 AM or http://www.kfan.com. The audio will then be available via KFAN.com’s Fan On Demand section.
Tags: Fran Tarkenton
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On Wednesday we’ll begin focusing on the huge NFC North showdown between the Vikings and Green Bay, which will be featured on NBC’s broadcast of Sunday night football. Before then, though, let’s empty out the notebook from last weekend’s 24-21 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Percy Harvin has been a sensational playmaker for the Vikings since he arrived last season as a 1st-round pick. But just as impressive as the actual plays he makes on the field is his ability to impact the Vikings in so many different ways. He’s a dynamic kick returner, a productive receiver and he can line up in the backfield and act as a RB.
As a rookie last season, Harvin finished tied for 1st among all NFL rookies in receiving yards (790) and receptions (60). He also ranked 2nd in the NFC and 7th in the NFL with his team record 2,081 all-purpose yards (1,156 kickoff return, 790 receiving, 135 rushing). In total, Harvin touched the ball 117 times and averaged 17.8 yards per touch.
Against Dallas on Sunday, Harvin returned a kickoff 95 yards for a TD, the 3rd kickoff return TD of his career – more than any other Vikings player in history. He also had 3 receptions for 21 yards and lined up in the backfield to take 2 handoffs and pickup 18 yards.
“We talked about that before,” Childress said when asked about Harvin’s versatility, “about Urban Meyer saying he may have been their best running back (at Florida). In fact, he takes a great look at runs coming out of the backfield; outside runs, inside runs. We’re just trying to put the ball in his hands and get him as many touches as we can.
Childress even said the team might take a look at Harvin as a punt returner at some point because of his natural return abilities and vision in setting up blocks.
Replacing Cedric Griffin
The loss of CB Cedric Griffin to another knee injury hurts the Vikings pass defense and his absence was felt against the Cowboys. All 3 of Dallas’ TDs came via the pass, and two of the scores came with CB Lito Sheppard in coverage.
“He was in coverage on the two touchdown throws,” Childress explained on Monday. “I think we felt like he could have played a little bit better technique on the one down in the end zone, maybe could have been in inside technique to deny that slant. He was about to make a great play on the ball, it hit his hands, then [Dez] Bryant makes a great play on the ball.”
It’s not necessary to give up on Sheppard, but the Vikings must correct some of the errors that led to those 3 TDs on Sunday. The Packers have every bit as talented a WR corps as the Cowboys, so expect Aaron Rodgers and Co. to look for a way to attack the Vikings secondary.
Hopefully they’ll try to attack Asher Allen. My sense is that the pieces are falling into place for Allen, who is currently in his second season with the Vikings but is now seeing more of the field on defense. I think Allen is close to making a big defensive play and the timing would be perfect if he could do it against Green Bay. There will still be some learning moments for Allen on defense, but I like what I saw from him against the Cowboys, particularly with him being in the right position at the right time. Eventually he’ll be able to play fast without thinking, and that’s when the big plays will start to happen.
Center of Attention
Staring C John Sullivan has been dealing with a pesky calf injury all season and it’s caused him to miss some games. On Sunday against Dallas he was active but Jon Cooper started in his place – perhaps a precautionary move on the Vikings part. Although I feel the Vikings have missed Sullivan at C this year, Cooper did a good job against a stout Dallas defensive front seven. Jay Ratliff is the Cowboys defender that was lined up directly over Cooper for most of the day and though he did get a sack, he only had 3 tackles. Given Cooper’s inexperience and size disadvantage against Ratliff, it could’ve been much, much worse.
“He did a good job with the line calls,” Childress said of Cooper. “That guy [Jay] Ratliff is a hell of a football player and he gave him fits right from that first pass that he threw complete to Percy. I think he ended up kind of jittering him a little bit at the line of scrimmage and hit Brett on that particular play. But he did a great job with the line calls. Extremely competitive in there. I liked what he did getting a promotion to that starting job.”
Tags: Asher Allen, Cedric Griffin, John Sullivan, Jon Cooper, Lito Sheppard, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 14 Comments »
Fan voting to name the 50 Greatest Vikings of all-time opened on Monday, October 11 and the response has been resounding, with over 200,000 votes cast. The two greatest WRs in Vikings history, Cris Carter and Randy Moss, currently lead in fan voting, with Fran Tarkenton and Adrian Peterson close behind.
Rounding out the Top 10 are John Randle, Alan Page, Randall McDaniel, Jim Marshall, Chuck Foreman and Carl Eller.
Go to vikings.com/50 to learn more about the Vikings 50th season celebration. You can also click here to log on and cast your votes for the 50 Greatest Vikings of all-time.
Fan voting runs for 50 days, ending at 11:50 p.m. CT on November 29. The 50 Greatest Vikings players, along with franchise contributors, will be unveiled at a ticketed event on Sunday night, December 19; details of that event will be released soon. In addition, the 50 Greatest Vikings will be recognized at halftime of the final Vikings home game of the 2010 regular season, when the Vikings host the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.
You have the opportunity to recognize the players that built the rich tradition of the Minnesota Vikings. Cast your vote today!
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It’s that time of the week again to submit your question for Head Coach Brad Childress to answer on this week’s edition of “Vikings GamePlan.” To submit your question, click here.
“Vikings GamePlan” presented by Sports Authority is the official Minnesota Vikings pregame TV show. Co-Produced by Vikings Entertainment Network and FS North, GamePlan airs on Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM on both KARE 11 and FS North. Vikings radio Play-by-Play man Paul Allen gives viewers an inside look at what to expect in the upcoming game through exclusive Film Study with Head Coach Brad Childress. KARE 11’s Tim McNiff goes head-to-head with opponent’s media in the popular Media Matchup. “GamePlan” also wires Vikings players during the game bringing you closer than anyone else can!
“GamePlan” airs at 10:30 AM Sundays on KARE 11 and on FS North.
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Coming back from a season-ending injury is one thing. Coming back from season ending injuries in consecutive years is another. And coming back to play at the same (high) level you did prior to those injuries is nothing short of rare.
But that’s what we’re seeing from Vikings LB E.J. Henderson, who lost his 2008 season to a foot injury in Week 4 and then suffered a serious leg injury during Week 13 of the 2009 season.
In spite of those injuries, though, Henderson is back in the middle of the Vikings defense and he’s fresh off his best game since that foot injury in 2008. He grabbed 2 INTs off Cowboys QB Tony Romo, the second of which led the Ryan Longwell’s game-winning FG, and he added 9 tackles for extra measure.
Asked about his middle LB after Sunday’s game, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress told reporters that he doesn’t notice any hitch in Henderson’s step following leg injuries in consecutive seasons.
“I don’t see him take many missteps at all,” Childress explained. “I think he disguises well. I think he’s showing up in the run game well. I think he’s obviously showing up in the pass game well. I don’t see him taking a backwards step.”
Henderson, a team captain and defensive leader, is 2nd on the team in tackles with 45 and his mere presence makes a huge difference. Fellow LB Ben Leber was asked about Henderson’s outstanding performance and what it means to the defense.
“I think everything is a little extra special when you see him out there playing,” Leber said. “For everything he has been through in the offseason and the work that he put in, it is great to see him out there again.”
DT Kevin Williams, another defensive leader and team captain, came into the NFL with Henderson. Both players were drafted in 2003 – Williams with the #9 overall selection and Henderson with a 2nd-round choice. Williams noted the importance of Henderson’s INTs and also commented on what it meant emotionally to see his friend playing at a high level again.
“That was huge,” Williams said. “For him to go through what he went through last year and to get two big picks down on our end of the field and help our offense get points, it was tremendous for him and it was great to see it.”
While his teammates were glad to see him tally a couple INTs and help guide the team to victory, Henderson was pleased the defense as a whole contributed to the win and capitalized on opportunities, which assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier emphasizes.
“I hope so,” Henderson responded when asked if his play provided an emotional lift to the team on Sunday. “Like I said, anytime a defensive player makes a big play we hope we can lift the offense. We always pride ourselves on being the ones that can win games. Coach (Leslie) Frazier has talked to us about that all the time and I am glad we did it [Sunday].”
Tags: Ben Leber, E.J. Henderson, Kevin Williams, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 11 Comments »