Head injuries, specifically concussions, have quickly gone from being ignored to being in the spotlight. Because of both the short-term and long-term impact concussions have on the human brain, everyone involved with the game of football has grown a sensitivity to the issue.
Younger players in the NFL today might not necessarily notice it, but veteran players and especially current coaches or were players in the NFL have certainly witnessed the progression of this issue in the league. Vikings Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier is a great example of an individual who has seen the progression.
Frazier was a DB for the Chicago Bears from 1981-86 and was part of a fierce and tenacious defense. At that time the Bears had one of the best defenses in the NFL and in fact the 1985 team had what many today will argue was the best defense of all time. They probably inflicted many a concussion on opponents.
But now Frazier is a head coach in the NFL and he’s charged with the task of leading an organization, a task the requires him to manage players who are dealing with injuries – including concussions. Several Vikings players have dealt with concussions this season, including QB Brett Favre. He was knocked out of the Chicago Bears game a couple weeks ago and still hasn’t sufficiently recovered to be able to make it back onto the field. In addition, both LB Erin Henderson and S Madieu Williams are currently dealing with concussions.
While it’s certainly cumbersome and disadvantageous for Frazier to adhere to the concussion protocol the NFL currently employs, he does see the reasoning behind it and he expressed his support for that protocol while meeting with reporters on Thursday.
“There’s a good reason that we have the caution that we have with concussions,” Frazier said. “You take a look at some of the former players and you see the repercussions of some of the concussions that they had and you realize that the way that we approach concussions today is far better than the way it was approached when I played.
“There was a time that you’d be out a couple plays or a play and you’d be back soon, as soon as you could count to 10 you’d be back on the field. Today is much better for our players and for their futures.”
Tags: Erin Henderson, Leslie Frazier, Madieu Williams
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 32 Comments »
The Vikings face a condensed week as they prepare for the Detroit Lions because their game with the Eagles was postponed and moved from Sunday night to Tuesday night. As a result, the team did not practice on Wednesday and will instead resume on-field activities today.
Wednesday is typically the day NFL teams install their game plan, hold their initial practice of the week and submit the first injury report of the week. The Vikings, though, got back from Philadelphia around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday morning and interim head coach Leslie Frazier gave his players the day off.
But, per NFL protocol, the Vikings still had to submit an injury report in advance of Sunday’s date with the Lions. So the team had to make a guess at to which injured players would or would not have practiced. Also, Frazier held his usual day-after-the-game press conference and addressed the status of several of his injured players.
Here is the injury roundup as of Thursday morning…
CB Asher Allen (hip), QB Brett Favre (concussion/neck/right shoulder), LB Erin Henderson (concussion), WR Sidney Rice (concussion), FB Fahu Tahi (ankle) and S Madieu Williams (concussion) were all listed as non-participants in practice. Frazier indicated all players with concussions would be day-to-day this week, and he specifically mentioned that Favre has not yet passed the ImPACT test, which is the test all players must pass before being cleared to resume on-field activities. As for Tahi, Frazier said the team expected him to be available for this weekend’s game in Detroit.
S Tyrell Johnson (knee) and RB Adrian Peterson (knee) were both listed as limited participants in practice. Johnson has been out for several weeks with his injury and Peterson has been battling leg injuries for several weeks as well.
“The fact that Adrian was able to complete the game is a big plus for us,” Frazier said on Wednesday. “We’ll have to keep an eye on him during the course of the week, because you’re right, the very first contact he got was right in that spot, so we’ll have to see how he goes. He played well. He played terrific, even with that injury, so we’ll have to see what happens the rest of this week.”
Tags: Adrian Peterson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 123 Comments »
It is said that defense wins championships; the Vikings may not be playing for a title this season but their defense is setting a standard of play that other teams will want to replicate throughout the playoffs.
The notion of mimicking the Vikings defense will be especially true for the team that faces the Eagles in this year’s playoffs. The Vikings held Philadelphia to 14 points and sacked MVP candidate QB Michael Vick a total of 6 times on Tuesday night at Lincoln Financial Field. The Vikings defense also held Vick to a season-low passer rating (74.1) while forcing 3 turnovers (2 fumbles and an INT).
The defensive unit – led by CB Antoine Winfield and LB Chad Greenway with 9 stops a piece – performed at a championship-caliber level against the NFC East-champions in all phases. The defensive line combined for 11 tackles and a forced fumble (FF), the LBs recorded 17 tackles and the secondary was challenged all night long and responded with 25 stops, 3 sacks, a FF and an INT.
The stellar performance by the Vikings defense didn’t go unnoticed, specifically for the team’s veteran leader as Winfield was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. His dominating performance included 7 different statistical categories – 9 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit, a FF and fumble recovery that was returned 45 yards for a TD at the end of the 1st half. Winfield’s sack-fumble return knotted the game at 7 and provided a huge momentum swing in the Vikings favor heading into the locker room.
As far as the Vikings men in the box (DTs, DEs and LBs) are concerned, we’ve come accustom to dominating performances. But what’s been missing for most of the season is a complementary defensive backfield. And that all changed on Tuesday night as a predominately-young secondary, which has been depleted by injuries, held Vick and Co. in check.
We’ve already mentioned the outstanding performance by Winfield, but just as we referenced yesterday on the leadership role taken by team veterans, the mental and physical approach to the game taken by such leaders rubbed off on the club’s younger players, especially in the secondary.
Setting aside Winfield’s 12-year experience in the league, the rest of the Vikings starters in the secondary on Tuesday night combine for a total of 7 years of experience (S Husain Abdullah – 3, CB Asher Allen – 2 and S Jamarca Sanford – 2). Sanford, who made his first start of the season, served as a reliable replacement for Madieu Williams who was out with a concussion.
“Jamarca played well,” Vikings Interim Head Coach Leslie Frazier said on Wednesday. “To come in, in the situation that he did with the injuries that we’ve had and the fact that he was coming off an injury also. To play as well as he did, he made some good plays for us, some nice tackles… Jamarca made a lot of plays for us, was around the football, has tremendous speed and athleticism and he made a lot of plays. So we’re pleased with the way he performed.”
After its performance against the Eagles, the Vikings defense is poised to finish the 2010 season in true form as a tenacious unit, but will need to hold firm against a Detroit Lions offense that features playmakers such as WR Calvin Johnson and rookie RB Jahvid Best.
Tags: Antoine Winfield, Jamarca Sanford, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 12 Comments »