Murphy Pleased With Camarillo’s Performance As Punt Returner

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 9, 2010 – 1:19 pm

The Vikings traded for Greg Camarillo earlier this season to fortify their depth at WR, but as it turns out Camarillo’s greatest contribution to the team has been as a punt returner. Vikings special teams coordinator Brian Murphy was complimentary of Camarillo when asked about him at today’s press conference.

“He’s lent a sense of stability back there,” Murphy said. “Great decision maker; very secure with the ball and pushes the ball up the field. That’s what you want out of your punt returner.”

In looking at his statistics, you won’t be blown away by Camarillo. He ranks 16th in the NFL with a return average of 8.8 yards, has 0 return TDs and his long return of the season is 22 yards. But perhaps more important than the ability to provide explosive returns in the punt game is the ability to bring stability to the role. In that regard, Camarillo has been perfect (0 fumbles this season).

“The whole object is to get the ball back to the offense,” Murphy explained. “If you’re not going to score with it, make sure that the offense gets a chance to line up on the next snap.”

Murphy added that Camarillo’s performance is even more impressive given the conditions the Vikings have seen throughout the year with cold-weather games at New England and at Chicago – plus the Vikings play at Philadelphia 3 weeks.

“The ability to have the guy back there, especially considering the outdoor games we have in tough conditions, he has played extremely well,” Murphy said.  “In some of those outdoor games, and I’m sure that Philadelphia is going to be no different that time of the year, you’re glad Greg Camarillo is back there to return punts because he’s going to give the ball back to the offense if we don’t score with it.”

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 277 Comments »

Vikings, Giants Ground Games May Take Center Stage

Posted by cjsiewert on December 9, 2010 – 6:40 am

With Brett Favre’s status unclear coupled with the recent outburst of the NY Giants RB tandem of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, Sunday’s matchup at Mall of America Field might end up being a classic ground-and-pound battle.

Last Sunday, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson ran up the score, literally, with 3 TDs while the Giants RB duo of Bradshaw and Jacobs combined for 200 yards and 4 TDs in a victory over the Washington Redskins. And as the old adage goes, ‘if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ So why would either the Vikings or Giants veer away from their recent successes running the ball? I can’t think of a reason.

Not to mention that Favre has thrown more INTs this season than any other QB with 18 and Giants QB Eli Manning ranks 2nd in the category with 17 – another reason for both teams to establish their rushing attacks. Despite those numbers, though, both the Vikings and Giants posted convincing wins last week with negative passing TD-to-INT ratios (Vikings 2-4, Giants 0-1).

Another reason why I’m speculating a run-heavy contest on Sunday is caused by Vikings Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier’s approach during his first 2 games at the helm.

Over the past 2 games, the Vikings have recorded a 78-46 run-pass ratio, with the Giants providing a 62-49 ratio during that same span. Frazier has also emphasized his vision of the team’s identity, stating that they’re at their best when “we’re running the ball and stopping the run.”

Also, let’s not forget that both teams boast dominant defensive fronts with the ability to get after the QB. The Giants defense ranks 3rd in the league with 35 sacks and the Vikings may only rank in a pedestrian 20th place with 22, but have compiled 8 over their last 3 games. These numbers give added incentive for each team’s QB to hand the ball off.

Getting back to the Giants RB tandem, Frazier told reporters on Wednesday that his defense, which has allowed just 113 rushing yards total over the last 2 games, will need to maintain its dominance to stop the Giants dangerous ground game.

“They’re playing well,” Frazier acknowledged of Bradshaw and Jacobs. “It will be a great challenge for our defense. We really hang our hat on being able to stop the run and this will be a week to stand up in that area because once they get it going in the run game it makes Eli a lot better and makes their receivers a lot better. We’re going to have to be right against their run game.”

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Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 72 Comments »