Wednesday Injury Report: Favre, Harvin Sit Out

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 3, 2010 – 2:55 pm

Vikings QB Brett Favre (foot/ankle/chin) and WR Percy Harvin (ankle) were held out of practice on Wednesday while 8 other Vikings joined the offensive stars on Wednesday’s injury report.

CB Chris Cook (quadricep), T Chris DeGeare (ankle), LB Ben Leber (knee), CB Lito Sheppard (hand), CB Frank Walker (hamstring) and DT Pat Williams (elbow) were all limited. CB Asher Allen (back) and C John Sullivan (calf) were full participants.

The Cardinals listed 7 players on their initial injury report, including starting RB Beanie Wells (knee). Wells was limited in practice on Wednesday, as were DT Alan Branch (back), WR Steve Breaston (knee), LB Will Davis (groin), WR Early Doucet (groin) and DE Kenny Iwebema (shoulder). LB Clark Haggans (groin) was held out of practice.

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Storybook Ending In 2010?

Posted by cjsiewert on November 3, 2010 – 1:20 pm

Vikings head coach Brad Childress told reporters during his Wednesday press conference that the acquisition of Randy Moss simply didn’t work out and the team needs to move forward with its preparations for the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

The Vikings posted a 1-3 record with Moss on the roster, but needless to say, the team’s performance cannot be placed solely on the shoulders of one player. Although it’s understood that one player cannot carry the load of an entire team, for the Vikings to get back to their winning ways, certain role players need to step up.

“My play, first and foremost, can be better,” Vikings QB Brett Favre said during his press conference on Wednesday. “I’m not going to sit here and say anything about anyone else. My play can be better and that’s where it starts and if my play is better, I think we have more wins.”

Compared to last season, the Vikings are obviously not in the same position with a 2-5 record through 7 games where as in 2009 they held a 6-1 record in that same time frame. But that’s not to say the team has given up hope on this season.

“The one thing I know I can speak offensively, the effort is there,” Favre said. “You’re always worried if effort is not there. I don’t see any different effort than we had last year. We won a lot of games… I’m definitely not making any excuses, but the ball does have to bounce your way sometimes. You have to get a bit of luck. You have to overcome adversity.”

And for the Vikings to overcome adversity they will need to do so in hurry with the 2nd half of the season approaching fast. The record books will also need to be re-written because in the 50-year history of the franchise, the Vikings have never reached the playoffs after starting the season with a 2-5 record.

“Good teams are the teams that can overcome adversity, can work well together,” Favre acknowledged. “I think we have the guys, the character to overcome it… Nine games left, this could be a very good storybook ending or it could be a year to forget.”

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Sidney Rice To Return To Pracitce On Wednesday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 3, 2010 – 11:18 am

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress told reporters during his regular Wednesday press conference that WR Sidney Rice would return to practice on Wednesday. Rice remains on the Reserve/PUP list but now the Vikings have a 21-day period to evaluate Rice’s condition while he practices with the team; Rice will not count against the 53-man roster limit during this time.

Childress did not indicate what Rice’s particular status was in terms of playing shape nor did he say when he anticipates Rice to be able to play. But clearly it’s a great sign that Rice will return to practice.

Rice’s return to the lineup will give the offense a shot in the arm as they look to reverse a poor first half of the season and get back into the thick of things in the NFC and the NFC North.

NOTE: An earlier version of this entry stated that the Vikings would take Rice off the Reserve/PUP list today, but that is not the case. Instead, Rice will remain on the PUP list while also returning to practice.

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Childress Addresses Reporters Regarding Moss Decision

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 3, 2010 – 11:07 am

The Vikings waived WR Randy Moss on Tuesday afternoon and head coach Brad Childress, during his regular Wednesday press conference, faced an assembled group of reporters for the first time since Moss’ departure. Rather than supplement what Childress said about the move and his team with hyperbole introducing and explaining the quotes, we’re just going to post transcriptions of his opening statement and a few answers to follow up questions.

For the record, I thought Childress handled today’s press conference well because the decision to waive Moss was unpopular among the fan base and the questions Childress faced on Wednesday illustrated that. Also for the record, the questions asked of Childress today were appropriate given the setting and the events of the last 48 hours.

Here’s what Childress had to say…

Opening Statement: It didn’t work out. I’m not going to get into any particulars. We have an internal process that we go through…I can understand that all of you (reporters) have questions and I appreciate everybody’s passion in knowing why. You hope all your personnel decisions work out for the best, whether you talk about the (Jared) Allens, the (Steve) Hutchinsons, or the (Visanthe) Shiancoes, or the Chester Taylors or the Percy Harvins. Some work out and some don’t work out. And some end up being short-term and some end up being long-term. This didn’t work out. Nobody is more disappointed than I am that it didn’t work out, but it didn’t work out. So we’re casting our gaze forward here and I do wish Randy the best of luck in whatever the future holds for him down the line in football.

Where did it not work out because he seemed to be helping your offense on the field? “I’m not going to get into a lot of the particulars; I’m not going to do that. It’s done, it’s over with. It was a decision that you don’t take lightly but it was a decision that I had to make. It’s over.”

Why is more explanation of the particulars not in order? “I wished and hoped that it would’ve worked out as well. But it was a programmatic non-fit and it didn’t work out. When things don’t work out you need to move quickly to take steps (to move forward).”

On the protocol of making a roster move such as waiving Moss: “We’ve got, without getting into all the internal dialogue, we have a process that we hold to here and I’m not going to give you chapter-and-verse on the process, but I told my team right after I finished with you folks (Monday’s press conference). I thought it was important to paint a landscape of what Tuesday was going to be like for them, what the rest of the day (Monday) was going to be like for them so that they didn’t have to come back here Wednesday and deal with that. I owed that to those guys. So we’re at 52 right now pending any roster move that might occur and I have faith and confidence in the guys remaining, and we’re the only guys that are going to fix this thing right now at 2-5.”

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Turning Focus To Arizona

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 3, 2010 – 6:46 am

After another close, disappointing loss and then a couple of tumultuous days, it’s finally time to shift our focus to the Vikings next opponent. And that’s the Arizona Cardinals, who will visit Mall of America Field this Sunday and bring with them a 3-4 record that includes 2 straight losses and a 1-3 mark on the road.

The Vikings haven’t looked any better through the first 7 games, though, and they must be about their business to defend home field against a team they’ve become quite familiar with; the Vikings and Cardinals have faced each other in each of the last 3 seasons now and also in 4 of the past 5 seasons.

Under head coach Brad Childress, the Vikings are 3-1 against Arizona and they have a good chance to improve that mark to 4-1 if the defenses can return to form in the friendly confines of home and if RB Adrian Peterson continues his assault on opposing defenses. The Vikings defense ranks 7th in the NFL in offensive points allowed and they are yielding just 12.6 offensive points per game at home. Peterson, meanwhile, is the NFL’s rushing leader with 776 yards on the ground and the Cardinals have the NFL’s 29th ranked run defense. Now there’s a recipe for success if you’re the Vikings.

The Vikings pass rush has failed to be a factor in 2010 but Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Co. have a chance to get back on track this Sunday. The Cardinals have not seen quality play from their QBs this season, with rookie Max Hall supplanting veteran Derek Anderson as the starter but Anderson having to relieve Hall of his duties 3 times already. On top of that, Arizona has surrendered 22 sacks already this season, which is tied for the 5th most in the NFL.

There are a few other important areas of the game where the Vikings have a favorable matchup. Arizona has the 2nd most giveaways on the season, they are converting just 31.4% of their 3rd downs (3rd worst in NFL), they have allowed the 2nd most points per game in the NFL, they have the 27th total defense in the NFL, they are -9 in turnover ratio and they are yielding 25.7 yards per kickoff return.

With all of that being said, we’re foolish to assume this will be an easy victory for the Vikings. Winning in the NFL is never easy and the Vikings have dropped a game at home already this year after going 9-0 at Mall of America Field last season. While Arizona is -9 in turnover ratio, the Vikings aren’t much better at -7. Arizona also features a nice dual rushing attack with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower. Both RBs are good as runners and receivers out of the backfield. Oh yeah, and Arizona also has this guy named Larry Fitzgerald, Jr., who is arguably the best WR in the NFL and is certainly in the top 3 or 4. He has elite size, speed and ball skills and will be a challenge for the Vikings secondary.

Another thing to like about Arizona is their head coach, Ken Whisenhunt. He came to Arizona in 2007 after serving as the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh and he’s done a terrific job in turning the franchise’s fortunes around. A laughing stock not many years ago, Arizona has turned into a winner, as Whisenhunt became the first coach in team history with a .500 record or better in each of his first 3 seasons (8-8 in 2007; 9-7 in 2008; 10-6in 2009). In addition, the Cardinals are 1 of just 2 NFL teams (Vikings) to improve its win total each of the last 3 seasons.

So, it’s a good matchup between the Vikings and Cardinals on Sunday and it’s also a matchup of 2 division-winning teams from a season ago who have struggled out of the gates in 2010. I won’t go as far as to say it’s a “must-win” for both teams, but it’s as close to a must-win scenario as you can get in a Week 9 contest.

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