The Vikings and San Diego Chargers will meet this Sunday to open the 2011 season. And if RB Adrian Peterson plays anything like he did the last time the Vikings and Chargers met, the Vikings will open the season with an upset victory.
It was Week 9 of the 2007 season, Peterson’s rookie campaign, and the Vikings welcomed the Chargers to Minneapolis. But San Diego left that evening probably wishing they had never made the trip. Peterson carried the ball 30 times and set an NFL single-game rushing record by gaining 296 yards, breaking the record set by Jamal Lewis (295 yards for Baltimore). In the 296-yard effort, Peterson scored on runs of 1, 46 and 64 yards and ultimately he guided the Vikings to a 35-17 victory.
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier, then the Defensive Coordinator for the Vikings, was asked on Wednesday what he remembered about that performance.
“Just that second half, the way he just exploded,” Frazier said. “When you look at his numbers in the second half compared to the first half, it’s just mind-boggling that he could raise the level of play to the degree that he did.”
Frazier is right. Peterson gained 253 of those 296 yards in the 2nd half and he scored two of his three TDs that day in the final two quarters as well.
“The long runs, hitting the hole as crisp as he did, it was just a great day,” Frazier said. “But what I remember is what he amassed in the second half. He took over the game, much like what you see basketball players do when they get on a roll and no matter what you do, you can’t stop them. He was the same way; every time he touched it, you felt like something good was going to happen. Just a great day.”
If a guy is going to give you 296 yards on the ground, you can’t be too picky about when in the game most of those yards will be gained. But for this Sunday’s game against the Chargers, the Vikings would benefit if Peterson could get it going on the ground early in the game. The Chargers feature an explosive offense, particularly through the air with QB Philip Rivers at the controls, so if the Vikings can control the clock and set a tempo early, it will help the Vikings defense keep San Diego’s offense at bay.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 59 Comments »
The Vikings tweaked their practice squad roster on Wednesday by signing a pair of defensive players.
DB Domonique Johnson and LB Tyrone McKenzie were signed, and to make room the Vikings let go of FB Matt Asiata and DL Cedric McKinley. The Vikings practice squad remains at 8 players, with 6 offensive players and 2 defensive players on the squad.
McKenzie was a 3rd-round pick (#97 overall) of the New England Patriots in 2009, but was placed on the Reserve/Injured list before the season began because of a knee injury sustained in rookie minicamp. He was waived in September of 2010 and then signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their practice squad in November of 2010. Eventually McKenzie was promoted to the active roster, but was cut earlier this month.
Johnson is a 6-2, 200-pound DB from Texas City, Texas who finished his college career at Jackson State. He was signed by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009 and he’s also spent time with the NY Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tags: Cedric McKinley, Domonique Johnson, Matt Asiata, Tyrone McKenzie
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 18 Comments »
The San Diego Chargers have an explosive offense that is led by one of the NFL’s best QBs and features playmakers up and down the depth chart. They also have a solid offensive line. But with the Vikings set to face the Chargers in the season opener this Sunday, we also can’t forget about their defense.
Because their offense is high profile and high scoring, San Diego’s defense is often overlooked. But they are more than worthy of attention. In fact, San Diego’s defense ranked #1 in the NFL last year in yards allowed, including #1 against the pass and #4 against the run. Only 1 team – the Pittsburgh Steelers – registered more sacks than San Diego’s 47 last year and only 3 teams saw QBs generate a worse passer rating against them.
The Chargers have a new Defensive Coordinator in Greg Manusky. He’s actually not entirely new because he was the team’s LBs coach from 2002-06 before leaving to become San Francisco’s Defensive Coordinator from 2007-10. He’s now back with the Chargers and he’ll continue to run the team’s 3-4 defensive scheme, but there will likely be changes within the scheme that are unique to Manusky’s style and preferences. The players’ ability to adjust to those changes and execute Manusky’s plan will dictate whether or not San Diego’s defense in 2011 can be as good as it was in 2010.
In 2006 the Chargers led the NFL in sacks with 61 and Manusky’s LB group was responsible for 42.5 of those sacks. This year it looks as if the Chargers will feature the following four LBs as starters: Takeo Spikes and Donald Butler on the inside and Shaun Phillips and Travis LaBoy on the outside. San Diego has pretty good depth at the position as well, with Stephen Cooper a reserve on the inside and Antwan Barnes, Na’il Diggs, Larry English and youngster Darryl Gamble on the outside. Along the defensive line, DE Luis Castillo is a game-changer and his fellow starting DE – Corey Liuget – is a rookie who looks to have a promising season ahead.
Elsewhere on the defense, you’ll recognize the names of starting CBs Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer and then starting safeties Bob Sanders and Eric Weddle. Of this group, Sanders is the new face. He was a 2-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler with the Indianapolis Colts from 2004-10, and he would’ve garnered many more of those accolades had injuries not plagued him.
The Chargers defense will be interesting to watch this week and the rest of this season. They’re talented and have played well in recent seasons, but they also feature five new starters and a new coordinator. From my viewpoint, the Chargers are a big, physical defense that is stout against the run. They have big CBs and their front seven is formidable.
The question for this Sunday’s matchup between the Vikings offense and San Diego’s defense is whether or not the Vikings can establish the run. If Adrian Peterson and the offensive line can get it going, the Vikings will be able to move the ball on the ground and mix in the play-action pass with 13-year veteran QB Donovan McNabb calling the shots. This is the equation the Vikings need to beat San Diego because it’ll keep San Diego’s explosive offense off the field.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 29 Comments »
A new week in the real world begins on Monday. But in the NFL world, the new week begins on Wednesday. Games are played on Sunday, we digest and review the games on Monday and Tuesday, and then on Wednesday we flip the calendar to next week’s game.
Today is Wednesday, and that means the focus on vikings.com and at Winter Park will shift to preparing for the season opener against the San Diego Chargers. The Vikings will take a charter plane to San Diego on Saturday afternoon and then open the 2011 regular season against the Chargers with a kickoff at 3:15 p.m. CT.
In the meantime, though, there is a lot to get done. It begins today, where the Vikings will have a morning walk-through and then an afternoon practice. Both Head Coach Leslie Frazier and QB Donovan McNabb will hold press conferences today (and every Wednesday before a Sunday game), and we’ll stream those press conferences live on vikings.com. The locker room will also be open today, so we’ll do our best to track down thoughts from other Vikings players.
As you can see, there is a lot on the docket today, so stay tuned to vikings.com and the vikings.com Blog for constant updates and in-depth info on the Vikings-Chargers matchup. Later today on the Blog I’ll take general look at this year’s Chargers team and we’ll figure out ways the Vikings can attack their Week 1 opponent.
Don’t forget to enhance your knowledge of the Vikings by using social media to follow the club. You can track the Vikings on Twitter by following the club’s official Twitter account (@VikingsFootball) and by following my personal account (@wobby). You can also be a friend of the Vikings on Facebook.
More updates coming soon. While you’re waiting for the next update, leave a comment in the comments section below this entry to let us know what you think the keys are to this weekend’s game against the Chargers…
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 11 Comments »