Vikings Rookies Gaining Valuable Experience

Posted by cjsiewert on December 22, 2010 – 7:04 am

Monday night’s loss to the Chicago Bears added only more dejection to an already tumultuous season, but a pair of Vikings rookies are continuing to make strides in their own NFL progression.

Vikings RB Toby Gerhart and QB Joe Webb both played a significant role for the offense on Monday night in place of 2 All-Pro players – Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre. And both Gerhart and Webb are learning from the opportunities provided to them.

“It’s a long process,” Webb acknowledged to reporters after making his first significant appearance on the field this season. “Hopefully I can get in the film room, study and learn from my mistakes.”

Gerhart, who has played in 13 games this year and made his first start on Monday night against the Bears, enjoyed having his number called to carry the load for the rushing attack.

“It’s fun,” Gerhart said after the game. “You know, anytime you get a chance to play and show what you can do it’s always fun and just go out there and do what I get paid to do and that’s run the ball.”

The Vikings may not be playing for playoff contention, but when it comes to this pair of rookies both understand that they must continue to improve with what’s left of this season. The product that they place on the field during the remaining 2 games will certainly have an affect on the offseason evaluations that the organization’s executives and coaches will soon be faced with.

Although the Vikings offense was only able to muster 293 total net yards, Gerhart and Webb accounted for 244 yards of that total. Gerhart rushed 16 times for 77 yards with 3 receptions for 18 yards, while Webb completed 15 of 26 passes for 129 yards and 2 INTs with 6 rushing attempts for 38 yards and a TD.

Gerhart was instrumental in the Vikings opening scoring drive, carrying the ball 3 consecutive times to start the series for 3, 6 and 9 yards and an 8-yard run on the 5th play of the drive setting up Favre’s 23-yard pass-and-go TD to WR Percy Harvin. His biggest play of the night came late in the 1st quarter where Gerhart ran off the left end and bulldozed his way to the MIN 41 for a season- and career-long 21-yard gain. The big gain was a testament to his running style of running behind his pads.

Webb’s superior athletic abilities and raw quarterbacking skills were on full display Monday night. His inexperience was shown by 2 arrant INTs during the 4th quarter, but his shiftiness and speed, most of all, provided the Vikings offense with a characteristic it hasn’t seen all season.

Down 27-7 with 9:55 remaining in 3rd quarter, Webb exhibited his athleticism on a 1st and 10 attempt from the Bears 13. Webb rolled out to the right side on a play-action fake to Gerhart, pulled the ball down after a blitz by Bears LB Lance Briggs and beat 4 Bears defenders to the front-right pylon for the diving TD. The 13-yard score was his longest rush of the game.

Gerhart is continuing to solidify his standing as a reliable #2 RB and Webb will likely significant playing time down the stretch – with Favre’s status in doubt – to make improvements in his progression as an NFL QB. And if both rookies continue to improve, it may be a common sight to see #14 and #32 in the same backfield during the 2011 season.

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Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Vikings Rookies Gaining Valuable Experience”

  1. By Woodboat on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Gerhart looked pretty good, but Webb has a LONG uphill climb if he’s going to be considered a legitimate starting QB in the league.

  2. By SmileyStar on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Go JOE!! Joe did an awesome job last night. You could see the effort on every play. He’s got mad skills and with some more game experience, he could be better than Vick. You got this Joe!!

    Hey O-line – PROTECT THE QB!!

  3. By GOLDVIKE on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply


  4. By B-Pro on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    SmileyStar, you talk out your a–. He’ll never be half the QB Vick is. Not now and in future. Joe will have problems again this week because our sorry line won’t protect him and Phila blitz alot more then the bears do. Another problem will be weather again.

  5. By SmileyStar on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    B-Pro – Joe’s a rookie, with a possible first NFL start this Sunday. Joe looked really good given his NFL experience. Joe has the raw talents to be better than Vick. He just needs to put the work in betweeen games and getting live game experience. I’m looking at Joe as a rookie, not a veteran. Weather didn’t appear to cause problems for the rookie.

  6. By VikesfanNO on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Man when we get a line to protect Joe Webb!!!…all I can say is standby ladies and gents we have our franchise QB

  7. By DaBears on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Yea, the rookies get experience because the Bears taught them a lesson they’ll never forget.

  8. By Justin on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Webb has the speed and agility. What I’m curious about is if in time he’ll be managing the clock well. Look at what happened to the Packer’s Flynn during the Patriots game on Sunday.

  9. By Robins on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Joe looked like a rookie. I wish we had Tim Tebow. He didn’t act like a rookie, and to have him passing to Harvin again would have been a dream. I do hope Joe gets better with experience. I wish Brett would stick around and coach Joe. Brett has seen and done everything and could teach him so much. I like Toby. The person who taught Adrian not to fumble needs to work with him. He will be great. Whoever our quarterback is won’t last long because they get no protection. Brett got so beat up this year, it ven ended his streak. That should not have happened. Tarvaris didn’t last long. Good luck and please just win this week. Everyone, show up. A team should never get 40 points off of us.

  10. By Stoney on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    You idiots cried give TJ a chance, now you want Webb gone before he starts a game?!? Webb did not look dazed and confused even though he had about 1 sec. everytime he dropped back. B-PRO, you talk out of your a$$

  11. By B-Pro on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Stoney, it really doesn’t matter who our QB is. If this team is not overhauled during off season on both sides of ball, we will be looking at another below 500 season. Listen I hope Webb works but he is no different then TJ. There skills are alike and look where it got TJ. Even if they give Webb the opportunity next year, what makes you think he will do any better next year if season starts and we have this same shi-y off-line protecting him. He’ll end up like favre was this year.

  12. By B-Pro on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    Stoney, I don’t think many Vik fans want to accept that this team is on the down swing. I do!!! The other teams in the division are improving. Whether it’s coaching changes or making good draft picks and building around quality young talent. Age has caught up with some of our guys and we don’t have good young prospects to replace. And then we have some guys that played well for a few years or so but seem to be getting worse.(Mckinnie,Loadholt and so on.) Maybe upper management needs to be overhauled also. I’m not sold that Frazier is the answer either. Another problem I see and here is the big named coaches that are wanting to come back and coach (Cowher) or others are not interested in Minn.

  13. By pc on Dec 22, 2010 | Reply

    I think now we all realize how bad this line was all year after all 3 of our QB’s have been sacked (even the mobile ones) thrown bad picks and are pretty much all injured. If we even had an average o-line Favre would have played well and we’d be in the playoffs. But when you are constantly in 3rd and long because you can’t run the ball and your best WR is out and you have less then 3 seconds to pass what are you supposed to do as a QB? Yeah, I guess Favre could take the sack every time and not throw the ball but then we’d punt 10 times a game. At some point you have to try and force something in there because we have to score. Especially since our D hasn’t exactly been formidable this year. I just feel bad that we couldn’t give Favre half of a line at the age of 41. I think if we could have this season would be so much different.

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