In 2009 the Vikings were the best in the NFL at sacking the QB, with the Green Bay Packers being the most frequent target. The Vikings tallied a league-high 48 sacks and got to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers 14 times in 2 games. Green Bay, meanwhile, didn’t register a single sack against the Vikings.
Similar performances from both teams this weekend would be nice to see, as the Vikings head into Lambeau Field for a Sunday night contest. The trend this season doesn’t indicate the Vikings will fare as well, though.
Minnesota has just 6 sacks to this point, tied for 2nd fewest in the NFL, while the Packers have tallied 21 sacks, tied for 2nd most in the NFL. On top of that, the Vikings have allowed 13 sacks in 5 games, which puts them on pace to yield 41 sacks through 16 games – too high of a number.
But while Sunday night’s game represents an opportunity for Green Bay to atone for last season’s significant sack disadvantage, it also gives the Vikings a chance to turn around their performance through the first 5 games, both offensively and defensively.
The offensive line has been a target of much criticism early in the season because of the sacks allowed. Sure, some of the sacks allowed are the responsibility of the offensive line. But many other factors come into play, such as blitz pickup by RBs, the ability of WRs to get open and the QB not holding the ball too long.
A season ago the Vikings had RB Chester Taylor in the mix and part of his value was his ability to pass protect. His departure via free agency has given rookie Toby Gerhart and 2nd-year player Albert Young an opportunity to step in and compete. While Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell did acknowledged there are some growing pains, he also reiterated that issues in pass protection can’t be tossed at the feet of just the RBs or offensive line.
“We’ve had some missed assignments from some of the younger backs as well,” Bevell said. “We’ve mis-declared a couple from the offensive line getting us going in the right direction. I’m not going to pin it all on the running backs. We’ve had different errors from whether it’s a running back, whether it’s a tight end in protection, whether it’s your offensive line and sometimes it’s Brett’s job to get rid of the ball as well. It kind of has been all-encompassing at this point.”
A good sign for Vikings fans, though, is that the offense is not worrying about pointing fingers at each other. Rather, they’re working hard to correct the problems and get back on track.
“We always prepare for pressure,” Bevell explained. “It’s our job to be able to pick it up. We’ve had some struggles. It’s something we’re continuing to work on and try and improve and get it targeted right. A lot goes into it, it’s not always just the offensive line. Sometimes the back’s involved. Sometimes the receiver’s got to shake open and the quarterback’s got to see it. It’s still something that we’re a work in progress with.”
Another good sign is that one of the offense’s best players – RB Adrian Peterson – is eager to get the offense back on track.
“The sky is the limit,” Peterson responded when asked about the potential of his team if they put a complete game together. “I feel like with all of the talent we have offensively, we can be as good as we want. It’s just all about us clicking and starting early, getting that fast start. I feel like we can be very explosive. We have showed signs, like you have seen, but it’s about doing it for four quarters. We haven’t done that yet. We look forward to doing that this Sunday night.”
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Albert Young, Darrell Bevell, Toby Gerhart
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