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Vikings Stats Of The Week

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 23, 2010 – 2:14 pm

On a Saturday full of college football, you might be thirst for some NFL football. While I can’t bring you actual NFL action, I can bring you some NFL statistics.

Here are a few notable Vikings statistics coming off of last week’s win over the Dallas Cowboys…

– The Vikings have allowed just 83 first downs on the year, the lowest in the NFL.
– WR/KR Percy Harvin’s 95-yard kickoff return for a TD against Dallas was the 6th-longest in Vikings history. It was Harvin’s 3rd career return for a TD; he is the only Viking in team history to return more than 1 kickoff return for a TD and he now has TD returns of 101, 95 and 88 yards.
– With his 2 INTs against Dallas, LB E.J. Henderson became only the 10th linebacker in team history to intercept 2 passes in a game.
– K Ryan Longwell became only the 4th kicker in team history to make 100 FGs as a Viking (100). Longwell’s FG percentage of 87.0 ranks as the highest of the four.
– WR Randy Moss had 5 receptions against the Cowboys, moving him into 9th place in NFL history for the most career receptions. Moss now has 944 career catches.
– With his 73 rushing yards against the Cowboys, RB Adrian Peterson became only the 4th Vikings player to reach 5,000 rushing yards (5,037). Peterson accomplished the feat in a team-record 51 career games, which is tied for 5th in NFL history for the fewest games needed to reach 5,000 yards.


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Vikings-Packers Broadcast Info

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 23, 2010 – 11:13 am

The Vikings and Packers rivalry is obviously one that’s recognized locally, but this week it’ll be on the national stage as NBC’s weekly Sunday Night Football broadcast. There are several ways you can take in Sunday night’s Vikings-Packers game…

– As usual, we’ll have a live chat here on vikings.com during the game. We’ll launch the chat just before kickoff, so head to this page at that time to join in on the chat.

– NBC’s broadcast will be on KARE 11 locally, with Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth calling the action. Andrea Kremer will handle sideline reporting duties.

– National radio will be handled by Westwood One, with Dave Sims calling the action and James Lofting analyzing it. Hub Arkush is the sideline reporter.

– But if you’re going to follow the game on the radio, I recommend tuning in to either KFAN-AM 1130 or KTLK 100.3 FM to hear Paul Allen call the action and Pete Bercich handle the analysis. Greg Coleman is the sideline reporter. Also, Mike Mussman will anchor the pre-game show, which begins at 5:20 p.m. CT.

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, 5-state Vikings Radio Network.


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Vikings, Packers Issue Friday Injury Reports

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 22, 2010 – 1:34 pm

The Vikings and Packers have issued their Friday injury reports and with 25 players combined on the list there is a lot to get to, so here it goes.

TE Jim Kleinsasser (groin), CB Chris Cook (knee), LB E.J. Henderson (knee), DE Brian Robison (ankle), C John Sullivan (calf), QB Brett Favre (ankle/right elbow) and DT Letroy Guion (toe) were all full participants in practice and are listed as probable. T Ryan Cook (wrist) and WR Percy Harvin (hamstring), who were both added to the injury report on Thursday, were limited in practice on Friday but are also listed as probable.

S Husain Abdullah (concussion) did not practice and is listed as out while T Chris DeGeare (ankle) and CB Lito Sheppard (hand) were limited in practice and are listed as questionable. You can view the Vikings injury report in full by clicking here.

For the Packers, DE Mike Neal (shoulder) and LB Brady Popping are out. G/T Marshall Newhouse (back) is doubtful and LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder), LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), DE/NT Ryan Pickett ankle) and T Mark Tauscher (shoulder) are questionable. T Chad Clifton (knee), S Nick Collins (knee), WR Donald Driver (quad), LB A.J. Hawk (groin), DE Cullen Jenkins (hand) and CB Charles Woodson (toe) are listed as probable.


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Sullivan May Start; Abudllah To Be Held Out

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 22, 2010 – 12:29 pm

We’ll know more when Friday’s injury report is released and we’ll know definitively 90 minutes prior to kickoff when inactives are announced, but for the time being it appears starting C John Sullivan has a shot to be in the starting lineup for the Vikings on Sunday night.

Sullivan, who has been dealing with a calf injury since training camp, played and started in the Vikings first 3 games of the season but was injured on the first play of the Lions game and has not been in the lineup since. He was active last week against the Cowboys, but he didn’t start and didn’t enter the game.

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress indicated after practice on Friday that Sullivan may find his way back to the starting lineup on Sunday night, saying the 3rd-year player will “most probably” be the starter. Both Sullivan and Jon Cooper have taken reps with the 1st team during practice, so either player will be prepared to play against Green Bay.

S Husain Abdullah won’t be in the lineup on Sunday, though. Childress said Abdullah has made progress during the week after sustaining a concussion against Dallas, but not to the point where he’ll be cleared to play. Either Tyrell Johnson or Jamarca Sanford will get the nod in place of Abdullah, but it’s likely both players will find the field; Sanford came in last week when Abdullah went out.

We’ll have more news on injured players later this afternoon when the injury reports are issued.


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Vikings Featured On NFL Network This Weekend

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on October 22, 2010 – 10:22 am

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson and the Vikings’ upcoming game versus division rival Green Bay will be a topic of discussion on “Playbook: NFC” on NFL Network today at 4 p.m. CST.

Then, this Sunday, tune into NFL GameDay Morning at 8 a.m. CST to watch Peterson’s sit-down interview with NFL Network analyst and former NFL great Marshall Faulk.

 


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“In-Progress” Offense Poised To Get Back On Track

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 22, 2010 – 6:51 am

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.”


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Thursday Injury Report

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 21, 2010 – 2:29 pm

There are lots of changes to the Thursday injury reports, so let’s go over a few of them.

The not so great news is that the Vikings added 2 players to the Thursday injury report – T Ryan Cook (wrist) and WR Percy Harvin (hamstring) – and S Husain Abdullah (concussion) was held out for a second consecutive day. But the good news is TE Jim Kleinsasser (groin) and CB Lito Sheppard (hand) returned to practice and DE Brian Robison (ankle) went from limited on Wednesday to a full participant on Thursday.

Click here to see the full Vikings injury report.

The Packers added G/T Marshall Newhouse (back) to the report because he was held out of practice on Thursday and CB Charles Woodson (toe), who was limited on Wednesday, was also held out on Thursday. S Nick Collins (knee) and LB A.J. Hawk (knee) were limited on Thursday after being held out on Wednesday. T Chad Clifton (knee) and DE Cullen Jenkins (hand) both went from being limited on Wednesday to full participants on Thursday.

Got all that?

It will be interesting to see how Green Bay comes out injury-wise after tomorrow’s practice. Injuries have hampered the Packers all season long, with LB Nick Barnett, RB Ryan Grant and TE Jermichael Finley having already been placed on injured reserve. It looks like some key offensive and defensive linemen – Clifton, Jenkins, Pickett and Tauscher – will be playing, but it’s surprising to see that WR Donald Driver (quad) has been held out of practice both Wednesday and Thursday and that Woodson was held out on Thursday.

The NFL is a war of attrition and the Vikings and Packers are great illustrations of that as they prepare to renew their twice-annual rivalry this weekend.


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Murphy Points To Continuity, Unselfishness In Solid Special Teams Effort

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 21, 2010 – 12:30 pm

Vikings special teams coordinator Brian Murphy met with reporters on Thursday, as he does each week, and there were a few interesting notes to take from what he had to say. Let’s take a look at them…

– I wrote on Monday that the Vikings put together perhaps their most complete special teams effort in Sunday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys, thanks in large part to Percy Harvin’s 95-yard kickoff return for a TD but also because of outstanding work by P Chris Kluwe, K Ryan Longwell and the kick coverage units.

Murphy was asked on Thursday about his team’s overall effort against Dallas and said that it was a solid performance. He also explained that the quality play is a function of continuity.

“It was a solid performance,” Murphy said. “It’s a reflection of stability at all the positions. Playing with the same guys will lead to success; the same guys doing the same things, working with the same people.”

– This was Murphy’s response when asked if Harvin would be utilized on punt returns: “It’ll come eventually. I don’t think it’s him (not being smooth enough yet), it’ll be the right place and the right time for him to be back returning punts.”

– Kluwe is receiving rave reviews for his punt performances not because of how far he’s kicking it but because of his accuracy and ability to hang the ball up in the air long enough to allow the coverage unit to surround the returner.

“He’s been very consistent,” Murphy said of Kluwe, “and he’s another guy that you appreciate because the bottom line is winning and he’s doing what it takes for us as a team to win. Punters are judged right, wrong or indifferent, they’re judged by their gross punt (average). But in order for the Minnesota Vikings to win, we need to net out and change the field. And he’s done that unselfishly. He’s doing the things that we need to win.”

– You’ll remember that TE Jim Kleinsasser had a good game catching the ball against Dallas. But in recent seasons Kleinsasser’s value has been as an effective in-line blocker for the offense. He’s also a core special teams player, though, and Murphy was asked to comment on what Kleinsasser means to the special teams group.

“Jim is one of those guys [who] regardless of years, he comes, he prepares, he’s a steady performer, you know what you’re going to get out of him and that’s great effort,” Murphy explained. “He’s strong at the point (of attack). He never lets you down in that role. He’s willing to do those things. And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what he brings to the table because not only does he do it without a lot of fanfare, I think it’s a good example for the rest of the guys in the room to see a guy like that that has played that long and is still willing to do those things.”


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Missing Piece? Shiancoe Could Help Offense Return To Form

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 21, 2010 – 7:56 am

A season ago TE Visanthe Shiancoe was a go-to threat for QB Brett Favre and the Vikings offense. He had a career-high 56 catches and 11 TDs, with each of his scores coming in the red zone. This year, though, the passing attack has yet to take its true form and as a result Shiancoe hasn’t seen as much action.

Through 5 games, the Shiancoe has 13 catches for 197 yards and 1 TD. Last week against Dallas he was shutout and he now has 3 total receptions over the past 3 games. The 6-4, 250-pound TE has developed into a talented receiver for the Vikings and when the passing offense gets back on track and produces as it did in 2009, Shiancoe will be a big reason why.

While over the past 2 weeks one can argue the addition of WR Randy Moss to the offense has taken looks away from Shiancoe, an even stronger argument can be made that as the offense continues to improve and gel Shiancoe will become more of a factor. He is an exceptional technician and route runner who can take advantage of mismatches in the middle of the field and down the seam. Moss’ addition as a down-field threat who commands double-teams will assist Shiancoe in finding those mismatches.

“It’s a matter of us putting him in a position to be a prime look on certain passes,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Wednesday. “Now I always say, you can be looking at somebody as a prime guy and if he’s gloved or he’s being covered by two people it has to go elsewhere. We can do a better job of that, putting him in better situations.”

This week’s game against Green Bay might present one of those better situations Childress referenced. Surely Green Bay’s priority will be to stop RB Adrian Peterson from establishing the run and then also prevent Moss from torching them deep down the sidelines. As a result, Shiancoe could be in-line to see some of those mismatches that led to a great season a year ago.

On top of all that, statistics indicate that Green Bay has had trouble containing opposing teams’ TEs in recent weeks. Miami’s Anthony Fasano had a 22-yard score last week, Washington’s Chris Coolley had 7 receptions for 69 yards 2 weeks ago, Detroit TEs combined for 154 yards on 14 grabs and in Week 3 Chicago’s Greg Olsen had 5 catches for 64 yards and 1TD.

Now, Green Bay is obviously aware of these facts and will scheme against Shiancoe. They’ve had mixed results against the Vikings pass-catching TE in the past, holding him to 4 total receptions in 2009 but also yielding a TD in each game.

It will be interesting to see how the Vikings try to integrate Shiancoe into the offensive attack going forward. If they can do it successfully, the offense will be one step closer to regaining its 2009 form.


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Favre’s Elbow Feels “Better”

Posted by cjsiewert on October 21, 2010 – 5:40 am

Since experiencing tendinitis in his right elbow, Brett Favre’s ability to throw the football accurately and with the gunslinger velocity we’ve become accustom to over the past 20 years may have taken a slight hit.

Favre even mentioned after the Week 5 loss to the NY Jets that he missed a couple of throws that he could’ve “made in my sleep.” But last Sunday’s victory over the Dallas Cowboys saw Favre record his 1st game with a passer rating over 100 (106.9), which may or may not be a fair indication as to how his elbow is feeling, but it doesn’t appear to be getting worse.

“It feels better,” Favre told reporters Wednesday. “As I said after the (Dallas) game, it felt better.”

The 20-year veteran received a cortisone injection to help alleviate pain in his throwing elbow. The injection has relieved the pain, but Favre feels a sense of skepticism on whether it’s healed or not.

“I think the cortisone injection has helped,” Favre said. “But I’m reluctant to say, just knowing that I had tendinitis before, that it’s gone. Especially the way I throw. (I’m) hardheaded; not wanting to take time off. Keep my fingers crossed, but right now it feels better.”

Favre’s elbow feeling better couldn’t come at a better time with the Vikings facing a critical NFC North showdown with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field this Sunday night. The visit to Green Bay will be Favre’s 2nd in a Vikings uniform after playing for the divisional foe for 16 seasons.

“Whether we’re both undefeated or not, I think the significance of the game doesn’t really change,” Favre acknowledged of the Vikings-Packers matchup. “Maybe subconsciously there’s more, I don’t want to say pressure, but the need to get it going. Maybe more so than any other time.”


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