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Containing Rivers And Co. A Tall Task, But Vikings Up For It

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 9, 2011 – 6:56 am

I asked on Twitter yesterday what Vikings fans would like to have addressed in the next vikings.com Blog entry. The overwhelming response was something to the effect of the Vikings defense going against San Diego’s passing attack. So, let’s talk it out…

After watching the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers passing offenses hit the ground running last night, it looks like the lockout this past offseason won’t have much of a negative impact on the NFL’s elite QBs early in the season. Drew Brees was 32 of 49 for 419 yards and 3 TDs, while Aaron Rodgers was 27 of 35 for 312 yards and 3 TDs of his own. The Vikings task of Sunday in San Diego will be to slow down another of the NFL’s most prolific passers in Philip Rivers.

Rivers and Co. fall under the “you can’t stop them, you can only hope to contain them” category. But there is a way for the Vikings defense to contain the Chargers passing offense.

I think the key will be pressuring Rivers. This isn’t a novel concept, but so often when we think about stopping the opposing team’s passing offense we talk about only the secondary. And while it’s important that the Vikings secondary plays well on Sunday, it’s just as important that the rest of the Vikings defense finds a way to collapse the pocket around Rivers and make him uncomfortable.

Brees and Rodgers were dominant last night, but they weren’t perfect. When they weren’t pressured, they looked unstoppable. But when they were pressured, the defenses usually got off the field. Brees and Rodgers were sacked a combined 5 times on Thursday night, and only one of those 5 drives that contained a sack ended with a TD. The other 4 drives ended in 3 punts and 1 FG.

Earlier in the week, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier was asked about his confidence level in the secondary going against a prolific passing attack such as San Diego’s. Frazier also mentioned that containing a passing attack is as much about rush as it is about coverage.

“It’s an important position because for us to be successful, our secondary will have to play well,” Frazier said. “But it’s a combination of our front being able to stop the run with our linebackers and forcing them into situations where they have to throw the ball and we can make them predictable.”

With that in mind, the task of containing Rivers and the Chargers passing attack is as much the responsibility of DEs Jared Allen and Brian Robison, as well as the rest of the Vikings defensive line, as it is the secondary’s responsibility. Allen had the best training camp of any Vikings player in my opinion and he looks poised for another double-digit sack season.

But going back to the topic of the Vikings secondary, a group that has been criticized in recent seasons, Frazier seems confident the Vikings have the right personnel in place to make an improvement in 2011. And Frazier’s confidence might not be misplaced. The group will certainly get a boost with the return of both Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin to the lineup. The Vikings drafted Cook in 2010 with the idea that the combination of he and Griffin, along with Winfield, would give the Vikings defense the bodies and talent to matchup with many of the great passing offenses in the NFL.

“I think we have the right guys on the field in the secondary between Cedric (Griffin), Chris (Cook), and Antoine (Winfield) that can get the job done,” Frazier said. “When we looked at Chris (Cook) when he was healthy and performing, he did a good job for us, and the same with Cedric (Griffin) and they have made enough progress physically that that’s not an issue. It’s a matter of getting game experience now for Cedric, in which we tried to give him some during the preseason and the same with Chris, and then he tweaked his hamstring in the Dallas game. Just the experience part was more important than determining whether or not they could do it.”


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 38 Comments »


38 Responses to “Containing Rivers And Co. A Tall Task, But Vikings Up For It”

  1. By Thai on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Getting pressure to the qb is going to be the key. However, I feel Jared Allen will bounce back to form, but I’m not completely sold on Robie yet. I know the coaches love him but playing a full game and for 16 weeks, I just haven’t seen anything in preseason to make me believe he’s up for the task. I see awasome and griffen getting playing time because I have seen a lot of potential in those 2.

  2. By ChargersRule on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Chargers roll on sunday. We get off to a fast start and Vikings will be one game behind Packers.

  3. By Ricky on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Dear Coach,
    I would like the Vikings to beat Green Bay this year. I want the VIkings to win! I want a new Vikings calendar for 2012. I want a touchdown – kick those Charger butts! My dad told me “Beat them!” Good luck in the season opener!

  4. By PAUL M. on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    THE BEST KEY TO THIS GAME IS MUSGRAVE’S SCRIPTING & THE OFFENSE’S — ESPECIALLY THE O-LINE’S — EXECUTION.

    THE REASON IS A SIMPLE ONE: THE BEST WAY TO DEFEND RIVERS IS TO KEEP HIM OFF THE FIELD. LIMIT HIS SCORING OPPORTUNITIES; WEAR DOWN THEIR DEFENSE & TURN THE CLOCK INTO OUR “12th MAN” BY THE 4th QUARTER.

  5. By Jeffbleedspurple on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    In other words I think Fraizers comment says, ” Our secondary won’t be able to stop the Chargers pass attack, so we better have a good pass rush ” at least that’s how I took it.

  6. By xvike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Lets get back to earth. There is no way the vikings are going to stop rivers… Not with the secondary that they have. I don’t think they are going to get much pressure on him either. Their best bet is to keep rivers off the field as much as possible. They need to run the ball and keep moving the chains to drain that clock. Otherwise, rivers is going to pick apart this defense.

  7. By Twoodsnvikes on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Yeah you can already tell we can chalk up about 4 auto losses to SD, GB, and NO with the secondary we have, still don’t understand why they didn’t make a move. I think we’re headed for an 8-8 year, an improvement from last year I guess.

  8. By Titus on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Looking at a few trees does not understand the nature of the forest. We have weaknesses, so does every team. We have many strengths as well. Go ahead and cry the season is lost before our warriors even fight. This attitude really is often displayed in shortsighted crybabies.

    I am sure we win at least 10 games, maybe 12 or 13.

  9. By john on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    1 the chargers will not stop ad……2 the viking defense will play lights out,they have not shown any of there defenseive scheme’s to anyone….3 vikings were no 1 in preseason rushing 155 per game,chargers were 23 in defense against the run…and not to mention this is just not any running back ,it adrian peterson…lol……vikings 38 chargers 24

  10. By Twoodsnvikes on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    It’s simply objectivity, 8-8 is an improvement, maybe get a shutdown corner next year finally

  11. By VegasVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    @chargersrule,
    Don’t the chargers have a website you can vomit on? Or can’t they put three W’s in a row?

  12. By aaron i on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Wow people i thought this was the vikings website? whats with all the negativity? have sum pride and show support not to rip our TEAM!, GO VIKINGS i hope i prove u all wrg on sunday.. have sum faith

  13. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Titus……..”a few trees” aptly describes our secondary’s mobility……..but I’m hoping for the best.

  14. By VegasVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I say we win 5 or 6 at home and 3 or 4 on the road. 8-8 up to 10-6. TJack gets benched in game two, I got Maine lobster riding on it..

  15. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    After week three, the Seahawk bench will have TJack riding on it.

  16. By VegasVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    And by week four you’ll have showgirls in the mail haha.

  17. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Vegas, send them “Overnight Express” !

  18. By Mark B on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Before everyone gets too carried away with how the Chargers will burn our secondary lets let them go out and play the game. Look at the GB/NO game last night – when there was no pressure, both QB’s looked like they were playing pitch and catch against some pretty talented secondaries. At this level, if the defense does not play as a unit, they will get burned. You don’t need A shutdown corner or A DE that can’t be blocked (true it might help) but instead a 11 person unit that acts as one. If all assignments are covered and gap discipline is maintained, they will do just fine – against any offense in the NFL.

    Just my $0.02 …

  19. By VegasVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    They may need some compressed air

  20. By Rye on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I am optimistic about the vikings this year. I like the new coaching staff and think they are doing a good job. I also think the draft and the offseason went well.

    I truly think the Vikings will be the sleeper team this year that surprises the so called “experts”.

    Michael Jenkins
    Bernard Berrian/Aromoshodu
    Percy Harvin

    Vicente Shiancoe
    Kyle Rudolph

    Adrian Peterson running the ball

    Something tells me the vikings offense is going to be more potent than people think.

    It all starts with San Diego. Go Vikes.

  21. By VegasVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I’d be willing to bet the chargers are having their own “containing” concerns too. Could you imagine the embarrassment of AP breaking his own record? Remember how he came out against the Browns in 09? I would think all the chargers are concerned about is stopping one man Sunday, AD.

  22. By sandiamond on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Tweeeds… we have been waiting years for the Saints @ the dome. They are in for a smoking’ Def looks horrid beyond the frontline

  23. By Nick on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    On the subject of trees, our corners could well do with transforming into them to counter the Chargers lofty WR’s! Think we’ll give the game a good shot and be closer than many experts think. That goes for the season as well. Excited by the potential of our D-Line.

    My season prediction: 9-7, but I’m not sure if we’ll make a wild card or not.

  24. By Able on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    shut up ricky

  25. By ChargersRule on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    vegasvike: 8-8 way to set your expectations.
    you will be 0-1 after Sunday

  26. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    ChargersRule……It must be tough playing Oakland, K.C. and Denver each twice a year. You could probably rule the NFC West too.

  27. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    With all the sand in San Diego, surely you can find a cat to bury you somewhere.

  28. By ChargersRule on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    It is awesome here- enjoy January and February

  29. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    What NFL team will you be hoping for then?

  30. By vikings bleed purple blood on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    adrian peterson will look like betty white in cleats this game i’m afraid to say, when everyone ask one man to do 11 mans jobs it becomes impossible, mcnabb probably could be beat in a throwing accuracy test by sarah palin with a slingshot. I see the vikings landing on the beach in san diego and barely getting off the beach in one piece. purple water and sharks.

  31. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    It will be harder than using the “Shift” button!!!!!

  32. By vikingsrule on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Come on!!! vikings bleed purple, everyone knows that the vikings are the best team in the entire national football league, bar none. Adrian Peterson is a beast, 30 men can’t stop him, let alonge 11. vikings will most likely turn the entire chargers team purple!

  33. By vikings bleed purple blood on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    hmmm, well maybe the vikings are the best team in the entire national football league, BAR 28!!! What world do you live in? the world according to a vikings fan on a acid trip? maybe vikings rule in the world of your imagination. when the vikings find a new brett farve then they will have a chance again.

  34. By VegasVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    @chargers rule,
    Let me guess, after Sunday you will gravitate to your next opponents website and talk c rap there. I went to your garbage stadium for a game once and pulled one of your finest drunk firemen over a railing after he screamed in my wife’s ear like an immature little kid. Y’all got class, go away

  35. By campfrazier on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    LOL Chargers won’t do snot, they can’t even stop the run. Toby Gerhart will get 300 yards on the bunk Chargers, Phil Rivers will be on the ground cryin’ for Momma Rivers cause they lost their opening game………again!

  36. By respy on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    I caught a statement downing our Q.B. what a guy with 5 conference titles (I think)
    and a superbowl under his belt who just happens to have played in the same system for years…??? Sorry Brady wasn’t available ….. some of u people really baffle me.

  37. By Al Hinkens on Sep 11, 2011 | Reply

    Coaching lost this game!
    Leslie you are a frickin idiot!
    When the commentators tell you what to do and you miss it you are to blame.
    Your offensive coordinator is dumb as a rock, too!

    WOW, 21 yards of offense in the 2nd half?

  38. By hippster on Sep 11, 2011 | Reply

    what the heck was that 37yrds passing

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