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Vikings Offense Takes Step Forward Saturday Night

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 27, 2011 – 10:28 pm

The Vikings ultimately didn’t win Saturday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys at Mall of America Field, but the first-team offense took another step forward in their development under new coordinator Bill Musgrave.

QB Donovan McNabb was 12 of 18 for 156 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT on the night. He hit speedy WR Bernard Berrian over the top of Dallas’ defense for a 49-yard score in the 1st quarter and he found Percy Harvin four times for 29 yards in the 1st half. New WR Michael Jenkins also got in the mix during the 1st half with 2 receptions for 22 yards, including a 17-yard grab on the play right before McNabb’s interception; the interception came on a deflected pass.

While it was encouraging to see the passing game take flight against Dallas, there’s no question that the bread and butter of this offense will be the running game. Adrian Peterson took handoffs on five of the Vikings first six plays, which set up Berrian’s long TD score to cap the team’s opening drive. In total, Peterson gained 81 yards on 14 carries and looked explosive the entire night.

The performance by the Vikings first-team offensive line should not go unnoticed. The group welcomed back starting RG Anthony Herrera following his recovery from a serious knee injury that ended his 2010 season prematurely. Herrera stepped in and the rest of the line displayed improvement, as Peterson burst past the first line of the Dallas defense on multiple occasions.

“We got into a good rhythm,” RT Phil Loadholt said after the game. “We were moving guys up front, got in a good rhythm and we were able to move the ball. As an offensive line, we love it when we hear that run call. The momentum, once you start putting drives together like that, you can see it in the defense that things are going well for us. It feels good once you get that momentum.”

The Vikings first-team offense strung together drives of 83, 51, 56 and 45 yards on Saturday night, largely thanks to the protection and run blocking provided by the line. In his postgame press conference, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said he was impressed with the offensive line early in the game and he also said Herrera’s performance was encouraging. Asked if Herrera would be able to play in the regular season opener on September 11 in San Diego, Frazier said the feisty veteran had “a chance,” which is good news as Herrera comes back from that knee injury.

All in all, we’ll temper the enthusiasm because the Vikings lost the game and there were still productive drives that didn’t end with TDs. At the same time, it was encouraging to see the offensive take yet another step forward in their development. McNabb stretched the field vertically with Berrian and Jenkins, and then Harvin and Peterson did their work underneath.


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41 Responses to “Vikings Offense Takes Step Forward Saturday Night”

  1. By Touchdown on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    if we didn’t make costly mistakes this game would’ve been ours! Reminds me of the Saints Vikes playoff game. Maybe we’ll have another good year? But our D has got to step it up. Especially at the Dline. Our Corners weren’t the problem. Besides a few select plays, Tony Romo had all day to throw.

  2. By Mike R. on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I agree. Romo seemed to have all day. Dallas was concerned with their O-line. Seems like they fixed since last year. WoW…that was quick

  3. By Frederick Jones on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    The Vikings looked good up until that stupid field goal play.

    But that is football, some games are won on stupid plays like that. We’ve got to take care of business next week in practice.

    It was nice to see the OLine open some holes, and also block very well
    for the pass plays. We just need to do it for a whole game.

    With guys going in and out, it’s not like a regular season game. At the half it was 17-10 Dallas. So a Vikings win was still very possible.

  4. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Who was DAT that scored our first TD? And what a throw by Donovan! Pinpoint precision to get it to one of our top receivers. Oh, yeah, what was his name– that speedy receiver as Mike Wobs stated in this article.

  5. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Freddie

  6. By Frederick Jones on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    @Parody,

    You had a comment about DEFENSIVE HALFBACKS.

    In the 1950s and early 1960s that is what they called the dbs.

    There are plenty of “new” terms out there. For example “eye test” or “pick six” or “walk off homer” (usually stated as a “walk off”)

    Another one is “lol” which to me stands for “little old ladies” but was probably started by a teenage girl in the late 1990s. I use it myself. lol

    I have never heard a soccer player called “defensive” anything. They always play both defense and offense, don’t they?

    Does any of this matter? If you know what I’m talking about, who cares?

    I think you are being pretty picky.

  7. By Frederick Jones on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Did you see that dance the Pittsburgh guy made after a td catch?

    He looked more like a girl than a girl could look.

    If he would have done that dance in the 1950s, the defense
    would have been looking for him on the next play. That might
    be why they never did that back in those days.

  8. By Carl Brodin on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    Mike, Who do you think will play in the starting five in San Diego if Herrara does not? I think the defensive line will need one more preseason game to jell some of our fans seeem to forget short preseason means slower development. It seemed from the highlights that our d-line was getting preasure dont forget Ballard got the one sack. But on that one long pass to Bryant i did not see a safety drop down to cover that play. I also did not see E.J. dropping back to cover the middle. We should have had Cook in on that play to jam Bryant at the line of scrimage then doubled him with a safety. Oh well back to the drawing board.

  9. By Frederick Jones on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    We should have had our best cover guy on Bryant early on.

    Right now our best cover guy seems to be Sherels !

  10. By Frederick Jones on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    Unfortunately I missed almost all of Joe Webb’s shift at QB. I did see the replays of his runs. He appears to be as good a runner as A.D., except of course A.D. has more power.

    Perhaps the Vikings could be the first team (in many years) to really play two quarterbacks. Joe Webb would come in when a run appears necessary, or in goal line situations.

  11. By Mike B. on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    I thought over all the Vikings played a very good game. Things like that blocked field goal happen and sometimes hard to recover from a mistake. The OLine was opening holes for AP to run through. The defense was stuffing with the first string. Romo didn’t have time to pass. Benard Berrian played very well and was making the tough catches. Even with the Loss lots of positives came out of it. Joe Webb looked good playing with the 2s. Ponder looked ok with the 3s.

  12. By Mike B. on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t agree with Maylock about how tough the schedule will be this season. I do agree most of the teams we are playing against made some improvements. But they are not on the same caliber as the NFC East or AFC East. I think maybe he was hyping it up.

  13. By sandiamond on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    C.Cook seen with ice on his hamstring in the 2nd half. Fred maybe Sherels should be considered for the starting nickel package. Heck we need someone that is not injury prone

  14. By Frederick Jones on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    @Titus,

    Ponder looked very good scrambling and throwing on the run. You have to wonder how he would do operating the 1st team offense.

    The defensive line looked bad again, but they seem to do better when the Vikings have a lead. It would be nice to see pressure when we are behind in the game.

  15. By Frederick Jones on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    It seems like when J. Allen isn’t pressuring the QB, he could at least get his hands up. QBs do not like to see their p a s s e s batted down !

  16. By Frederick Jones on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    I love LA ! !

    Without a pass rush, we might as well start packing NOW !

  17. By Frederick Jones on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    There is no excuse for all the celebrating and laughter by the Vikings on the sidelines. If we won the Super Bowl, okay go for it.

    That was a loss, and there was no pass rush whatsoeverbytheVIKINGS !

    Enjoy LA with that kind of effort.

  18. By McHam on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    It’s a disgrace that McNabb with the body of work that he has done, in his career isn’t mention with the elite QB of the league and it’s also just as bad that you guys think that Ponder or Webb is on the same level as this futue HOF. McNabb is still getting it done at a high level and needs to be respected in that regards.

  19. By Boosted01 on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    I felt the vikes played great, all things considered. A blocked FG return and the tipped interception were what hurt them. Take those away and the reponses here would be different. These things happen and you dont always win even though you out play the other team. Adrian Peterson did his best as usual. McNabb looked great, Berrian finally caught a deep pass and we have so many other young talents to be excited about. I was dissapointed we lost, but overall felt good about the performance. Yes, there are things to improve on. I’m excited for the season to start, I’m sure we wont win them all. I’m excited to be a Vikings fan again.

  20. By Mike B. on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    @Fred the first two series Dallas had the ball they were getting after Romo well. There was no running and he didn’t get a chance to pass. When backups started coming in things opened up in the pass game. I can’t agree about Jered he caused the sack that Ballard got. I thought the DB played better this game, but there were places for Romo to through. Winfeild put a hard hit on the TE which caused him to get pulled for rest of game. Griffin saved a couple of plays that could have been much longer. Take care

  21. By Mike B. on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    On the tipped interception, I think the defense saw McNabb looking at Kliensasser and clued which allowed the tip ball.

  22. By AJ on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    Get used to games like this Viking fans. McNabb is feeble and weak when the games on the line. If he gets lucky early and hits a flailing long pass or rides the back of AP and gets a decent lead, he might be ok, but if its close, FORGET IT.

    I watched him take a team that should have won 2 or 3 Super Bowls in Philly and choke and whine his way to NADA.

    I refuse to watch him ruin the Vikes. My purple shirts are in the closet until McNabb is gone.

    Minnesota will never be good while he is QB.

    Prepare yourselves for the famous McNabb fold. When things start going against him, he will quit. Ask Washington.

  23. By vikings fan 1955 on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    I like what I saw and looks like we finally have a good and deep qb corps.m I have to say to other fans that so far I still msay BB is worth keep and he wast droppng yesterday and made so good catches that he would have dropped mlast yr and he showed he still has the speed to get seperation. I have stood up for him and I feel he will show my faith in him was deserved. Mc nabb seems on point and can run this noffense well, ponder is the future qb for sure and I’m not counting webb out he just has a lot to learn. I hear a lot about his desire to leave the pocket but we also saw he can run and score.I see jenkins was a good choice and we have a dangerous offense. and I see the D improving but still a workm in progress.

  24. By Brian on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    Lol AJ. Funny stuff…do u really think that if AP, Percy Harvin, and Jenkins were with the Eagles when McNabb went to those NFC Championships he wouldn’t have won a Super Bowl??

    Really? Okay

    One thing you can say about McNabb…he has always been known for the big play. The Redskins, despite everything else, was near the top in plays 40+ yards. If McNabb can do that here, that will open things up for AD. It works perfectly…they both open things up for each other

  25. By Titus on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    Sounds like someone needs a box of tissue.

  26. By Carl K on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    Vikingfan1955- Ok maybe I was wrong about BB. The way he played last night was refreshing to see. I hope the Vikes continue to take those shots down field because I agree it will open up runs for Peterson.

  27. By Viking Joe on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    McNabb isn’t the problem, it’s the defense say all you want , our secondary can’t cover anyone, maybe if the Vikes established a pass rush, they could mask that deficency, the next game will be guys playing for their roster spots, oh well it’s just preseason, doesn’t amount to much.

  28. By Erik the Red on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    Come on now y’all, wins in the preseason mean nothing, because after the first half, the first team offense and defense is usually out as it is. And anyway, look at the 2008 Lions, won every single preseason game, but guess that didn’t mean a whole lot for them as soon as regular season came around. Everyone who is making a big deal of a loss like this shouldn’t be. All preseason is is to have the players make the team, and give new players a chance to get used to the system. If I’m just stating the obvious, I’m sorry, but some of the comments I’ve read are a bit ridiculous. Anyway, I’m excited for this new season.

  29. By Kenny on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    It is very hard for me to watch Vikings play! I literally get sick watching the games. Im such a fan and want them to win so bad that it makes it hard for me to watch sometimes, especially close games…nail-bitters ( i have none left) My stomach be in knots and i be worn out afterward. Its so dramatic at times. It seems, just like last season that everytime we get a rush close to QB that they get rid of it. I remember watching us against oyr 1st gane against GB last season and i counted at least times that we were inches away from Rodger and then he had just enough time to let it fly and usually for gains…big gains or 1st downs. Is this maybe because we are not getting a fast enough pass rush? I really hope we blitz more this season. I also wish we would go to 3-4 defense. We have fast LBs and Robison could play LB is 3-4 sets Greenway would have 10 sacks . The Henderson Bros would be monsters also. I just dont see us gettting enough pass rush on a regular basic. We were way down on sacks last yr compared to the previous yr with almost the same exact personnel. So maybe a chnage in defensive philosophy would do wonders. I realize it is to late to make such a change and would had been hard with short camp but maybe it is something to explore next yr. I think someone will step up to help out Williams and Allen on line but if not i really hope we blitz LBs or DBs more!

  30. By VegasVike on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    From the bits and pieces of the game I saw last night I would say the offense did their job, McNabb looked on point and made a lot of plays with impact while spreading the ball around. Our secondary still looks like they need to step up. Is it just me or do the Vikes have a tradition of waiting for the receiver to catch and contain the ball before they close in? Seems like year after year that’s their MO….
    None of the streaming options worked for me, did they work for anyone else? I may be technically impaired. Thanks to all for keeping the info flowing
    VV

  31. By Rye on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    I thought it was positive that the 1st string offensive line looked good. Also thought it was positive the offensive as a whole was moving the ball.

    Thought it was negative that the secondary looked weak. Hopefully that’s just rust from Cook and Griffen being out so much last year.

  32. By McHam on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    McNabb is still an elite QB in this league and 1 yr in Washington under the Shanahan cland doesn’t change a thing. In his whole career he have never had this much supporting talent on the offense end. He will get it done if the defense can hold up their end of the bargin.

  33. By Woodboat on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    No, we’re not wrong about BB. He can catch a ball (usually) when it is thrown right to him. Where he is a joke is when the ball is off target. He won’t adjust to the ball or defend the p@ss.

    @Brian – No, he didn’t have those players… he had T.O. in his prime. He lost his nerve and couldn’t do a thing in the 2nd half of that particular Superbowl. I’m not saying that he is going to have the opportunity to choke away a Superbowl here in Minn, but he choked. I don’t think this team will be able to put enough points on the board to make up for all the points their DBs are going to give up.

  34. By Woodboat on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    Heh…. everyone is hoping Griffen will get his feet under him and he will be just what we need. Somebody help me out with this… to the best of my recollection, Griffen has NEVER been a top flight CB. He was horrible early in his career, beaten regularly. Even before his injury, I don’t remember him being a player that the defense could rely upon. Coming off a tough knee injury, does anyone really think he is going to be able to defend #1 WRs? I just don’t see it….

  35. By Woodboat on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    @Kenny… agreed on all points. Our defensive philosophy is one of our major problems, and isn’t likely to change this year. Frazier believes in cover 2 defense, and we just don’t have the personnel. You folks are blaming the D Line for not getting a pass rush… maybe you’re right. We don’t have a front 4 that can blast through 5 OLineman and a TE and a chipping RB and get to the QB before the WRs set down in a wideopen zone, making an immobile target for the QB. This defense (regardless of our talent level) is hard to watch.

    The way the vikes play it, they should rush 4 and put the remaining 7 on our 20. The other team is going to get there anyway (unless they stop themselves), and it would save time. Then play redzone defense and hold them to FGs.

    Here’s hoping I’m completely wrong. If not, I hope Frazier is forced to hire a new DC that will run a defense that works.

  36. By Viking-ology on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    I’ve never seen so much pre-season analyzing as this year, fans or media. It’s easy to determine we have been deprived of a ‘normal’ off-season. Bring on the regular season-when the games matter!

  37. By Viking-ology on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    I expect Ponder to be at #2 by week 1, not that Webb isn’t good- but because they did not draft Ponder in the first round to be at #3. Webb will be an exciting all purpose player (I hope) to really keep opponents defense on their heels.

  38. By Titus on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    Viking-ology– spoken with absolute clarity and truth– we are all so in need of the regular season– I can tell you I never watch more than a few minutes of maybe one or two preseason games— this year I am watching them all — the lockout made us so glad to have a full season we want every second, but truth is these games are meaningless. Wait till Sept 11– Vikings will be a whole different animal from today.

  39. By Brian on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    We’re all entitled to our own opinions Woodboat. Yes he had an injured T.O in the Super Bowl…and 44 yards rushing to back him up. The Eagles…as they have for years put the entire game on his shoulders. Believe it or not…most Superbowls aren’t won that way. You need a balanced attack…and the Eagles didn’t have it. Brady had it…and Peyton won his only ring because he had it

  40. By Woodboat on Aug 29, 2011 | Reply

    @ Brian… T.O. didn’t play like he was injured in that game… he played great. McNabb didn’t choke because he didn’t have a running game, he choked because the moment was too big for him. Don’t get me wrong, I like McNabb as a guy… he’s a very cool person. He just isn’t what he has always been billed as… a top notch HoF QB. He’s good, but not good enough.

  41. By NoPCvirusesEverAgain! on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Vikes Rock!

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