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Playing At Soldier Field Is Sweet For Peterson

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 11, 2010 – 4:02 pm

We’ve already chronicled the success Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has had playing against the Bears and specifically playing at Soldier Field. On Thursday while speaking with reporters, Peterson explained why it is he enjoys playing in Chicago so much.

“I love playing every team, but I love playing at Soldier Field,” Peterson explained. “I don’t know what it is, probably cause Sweetness [Walter Payton] played there and just the tradition of the stadium. I look forward to carrying the load if they call my number.”

When asked if he liked playing at Soldier Field more because of his success there than the history, Peterson reiterated his respect for the historical significance of the Chicago Bears and their home stadium.

“It’s because of Payton too, and just the history of Soldier Field,” he said. “You always hear about the Chicago Bears defense. When I was young, I always played with Chicago ’85 [in video games] because of the defense. That’s part of it too.”


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Favre Practices; Harvin Doesn’t

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 11, 2010 – 3:58 pm

QB Brett Favre (ankle/foot/calf) returned to practice on Thursday and participated on a limited basis, but his leading receiver – Percy Harvin (ankle/illness) – did not.

Favre going from a non participant to a limited participant was the only change for the Vikings on their Thursday injury report.

The Bears had only 2 changes, with CBs Tim Jennings (knee) and D.J. Moore (head) listed as full participants after being limited on Wednesday. C Olin Kreutz (hamstring) did not participate in practice and CB Zackary Bowman (foot) was limited.


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Chris Cook To Start If Asher Allen Can’t Go

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 11, 2010 – 3:35 pm

CB Asher Allen is listed on this week’s injury report with a concussion and he hasn’t participated in practice yet this week because of the injury. When asked about Allen, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress did not give an indication as to whether his 2nd-year CB would be able to play this weekend.

Childress did say, though, that rookie Chris Cook would start in Allen’s place should Allen be unable to suit up. Cook was impressive during offseason workouts and training camp and might have been in line to start if not for an injury late in the preseason. Since that injury, Cook has battled back, been injured again and battled back to the playing field from that injury as well.

If Allen is unable to go, the Vikings will rely on Cook, Lito Sheppard and Frank Walker to pickup the slack at CB opposite starter Antoine Winfield. They would also have the option to call up a CB from the practice squad (Cord Parks and Marcus Sherels).


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Vikings Look To Improve Production On Opening Drive

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 11, 2010 – 1:34 pm

Last week the Vikings offense finished the game in a flurry, scoring 17 points in the final 8 minutes, 49 seconds of the game to cap a 27-24 overtime victory. As great as that was to see, Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said that he’d prefer to see his offense start fast rather than have to finish in a flurry.

“We’d like to start faster and get one of those first drives to get some points on the board and not put so much pressure on ourselves to have to make miraculous comebacks at the end of the game,” Bevell explained during his press conference on Thursday.

In looking at the numbers, the Vikings do need to improve their early-game offense. The Vikings are 1 of just 4 teams who haven’t scored any points on their 1st possession of the game. In their 8 opening possessions, the Vikings have punted 5 times and have 1 INT, 1 lost fumble and 1 turnover on downs.

This comes as a bit of a surprise for a Vikings offense that is relatively the same from last year. The Vikings ranked 5th in the NFL in points on opening possessions with 38. So what’s been the problem this year?

The numbers – and Bevell – suggest that self-inflicted wounds are generally the problem. Let’s take a look at the result from each game’s opening drive:

Week 1 @ New Orleans – A 3-and-out series and punt after a negative yardage play on 3rd and short
Week 2 vs. Miami – Turnover on downs in Miami territory after a false start on 3rd and 3
Week 3 vs. Detroit – Picked up one 1st down, then a negative yardage play led to punt
Week 5 @ Jets – A 3-and-out series and punt after 3 penalties
Week 6 vs. Dallas – Lost fumble
Week 7 @ Green Bay – Negative yardage play on 3rd and 3 and punt
Week 8 @ New England – No gain on 3rd and 1, then a punt
Week 9 vs. Arizona – Regained possession after INT-turned-touchback then allowed a sack on 3rd down, leading to punt

As you can see, there are too many instances where a sack or negative yardage play ruined a situation in which the Vikings should have converted a 3rd down to keep the drive going. Bevell agreed with this assessment, saying the teams goes back and looks at each opening drive to try and determine where improvements need to be made.

“As Brett (Favre) alluded to yesterday, we jump offsides, we have a missed assignment, we may drop a ball, we may not look at it right, we may miss a read. There’s a combination of things and we’re bringing it on ourselves,” Bevell said. “Our focus right now is continuing to talk about our execution and handling our business. We know what the defense is going to do. But we have to be able to react to the situations that we’re in better with our execution on a consistent basis.”

The Vikings will face a pretty good test this week as they try to improve their opening drive success. Soldier Field is typically a tough place for opposing offenses to get going early and the Bears have allowed 17 total points on 8 opening drives so far this season, which ranks right in the middle of the road compared to all NFL teams.


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Attend Tonight’s Taping Of “Vikings GamePlan” At Sports Authority In Minnetonka

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on November 11, 2010 – 10:30 am

Join host Paul Allen and guest TE Visanthe Shiancoe at a special LIVE taping of Vikings GamePlan!

 

Taping will be from 6:30-7:30 PM on Thursday November 11th at Sports Authority in Minnetonka.

 

Visanthe Shiancoe will then meet fans and sign autographs. Don’t miss your chance to see a live taping of Vikings GamePlan and meet Visanthe Shiancoe!

 

Vikings GamePlan airs every Sunday at 10:30 am on Kare 11 and FS North.

 

Presented by Sports Authority, The Official Sporting Goods Retailer of the Minnesota Vikings.

 


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Peterson’s Past Holds Key For Vikings At Soldier Field

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 11, 2010 – 8:15 am

We saw a resurgent Vikings passing attack in last week’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals, with QB Brett Favre recording a career-best 446 yards passing and 6 different receivers hauling in 4 receptions or more. If the Vikings are to defeat the Chicago Bears this weekend and make it 2 wins in a row, it’s reasonable to expect the passing attack to be productive once again.

But if recent history is any indication, it might actually be RB Adrian Peterson who leads the way for the Vikings at Soldier Field. Peterson was productive last week (144 total yards and 2 TDs), he’s the current NFC rushing leader with 857 yards (7 yards behind Arian Foster for the NFL lead) and he has a history of torching the Bears, especially at Soldier Field.

In 6 career games against the Bears, Peterson numbers are remarkable – 139 carries for 733 yards and 11 TDs. That’s 5.3 yards per carry and just short of 2 TDs per game. His best game against the Bears was his very first back in 2007 as a rookie, when he ripped of 224 yards rushing and 3 TDs on 20 carries in Chicago. He also returned 4 kicks for 128 yards, including a 53-yard return late in the 4th quarter that setup Ryan Longwell for a game-winning 55-yard FG. Peterson totaled 361 yards that day.

It’s not fair to expect that sort of sensational and record-breaking performance again from Peterson, but it is fair to look for #28 to dominate the game. He’s logged 100+ yards rushing against the Bears in 3 of 6 games, he’s scored multiple TDs in 4 of 6 games and he’s carried the ball 20 or more times in 6 of 6 games.

We are certainly not the first to uncover Peterson’s success against the Bears. Obviously the Bears coaching staff and players are figuring out ways to stop Peterson right now. But if they are unable to do so, the Vikings will be at a huge advantage. Establishing the running game on the road is important because it can take the home crowd out of the game and keep the opposing offense on the sidelines. And for the Vikings, it also opens up the passing game for Favre.

And we all know how good this Vikings team can be when the passing game is opened up and clicking on all cylinders.


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Thank A Veteran On Veterans Day

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 11, 2010 – 7:15 am

It’s Thursday and the Vikings preparations for this weekend’s game against the Chicago Bears continues. And vikings.com’s coverage of the Vikings and their NFC North matchup continues as well. All 3 coordinators and RB Adrian Peterson will have press conferences later this morning and you can watch those live right here on vikings.com.

But before we get going today with numerous blog entries about the Bears aggressive and stingy defense, Sidney Rice’s potential return and Peterson’s history of success against the Bears, please take a moment to call or personally thank the military veterans in your life on Veterans Day.

It’s because of the bravery and courage of our Veterans that we as American citizens are able to enjoy things such as freedom, security and even football.

So thanks, veterans, we appreciate the job you’ve done to serve and protect all of us.


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