Emptying Out The Notebook From San Diego

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 14, 2011 – 6:03 am

Wednesday is the day we flip the calendar from last week to this week. But before we do that this morning, I wanted to empty out the notebook from Sunday’s season-opening loss to the Chargers…

Positives to build on
It’s hard to look at the positives when you lose a game that you lead by 10 points at halftime, and in the process you generated just 10 first downs and 187 net yards. But there were some positives from the game and Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier mentioned a few of them in his Monday press conference.

“I had a chance to go back and look at that tape and there were so many positive things that happened in that game,” Frazier said, “and particularly in the first half, just opening up the season the way we did with the kickoff going for a touchdown and guys just battling throughout and trying to make plays on both sides of the ball and our special teams as well.”

Frazier went on to mention other positives, such as: running the football (Vikings averaged 6.1 yards per carry); stopping the run (Chargers averaged just 2.9 yards per carry). Beyond that, it was good to see the Vikings win the turnover battle, hold QB Philip Rivers below his career averages in yards per attempt and passer rating and continue to cover kicks extremely well.

Defensive playmakers
Give a tip of the cap to Antoine Winfield, who intercepted Rivers late in the 1st half to stymie a scoring drive. It was the 24th INT of his career and his 18th as a Viking. Winfield will play in his 100th game as a Viking this Sunday in the team’s home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Other defensive playmakers from Sunday were LB Erin Henderson and DEs Jared Allen and Brian Robison. In his first career start, Henderson had 6 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss and a sack. Allen and Robison split a sack and Allen also added an INT deep in Vikings territory to halt another potential Chargers scoring drive. On Winfield’s INT, Robison hit Rivers as he threw it, which caused the ball to hang up in the air so Winfield could snag it.

Frazier encouraged by CB Cedric Griffin
The Vikings defense is better when Cedric Griffin is playing, and he was playing in a regular season game on Sunday for the first time in nearly a year. Frazier seemed encouraged by Griffin’s ability to play the whole game on Sunday.

“I was really impressed with the fact that Cedric Griffin played as well as he did and as long as he did,” Frazier said. “He played every snap on defense, he did a great job.”

Young defensive line rotation
With Kevin Williams missing in action for the first two weeks of the season, a few young defensive linemen saw extra snaps on Sunday. There wasn’t much of a pass rush from the inside, which we typically see when Williams is in the game, but you have to give the youngsters some credit for the way they played against the run. In the end, there is improvement to be made, but it was also a step forward for the young rotation. Also, this experience will only make the entire defensive line better once Williams does return.

Re-naming the “Wildcat”
The Vikings introduced their package of plays for QB Joe Webb. Some have questioned the timing, which is a good example of Monday Morning Quarterbacking if you ask me, but the bottom line is it was good to see the Vikings display some creativity and ambition in getting Webb on the field.

But I think we need to come up with a name for this package of plays. It sounds like Frazier and the offensive staff don’t view this subset of plays in the team’s playbook as the typical Wildcat package, largely because Webb is a dual-threat – he can run or stay in the pocket and throw.

“Well ours is a little different,” Frazier responded when asked about the “Wildcat.” “The way we’re using Joe Webb, it’s different. Most teams that put a guy back there can’t throw the ball as well as Joe. We have a legitimate quarterback running the offense when we do it.”

Unfortunately, the Chargers were able to contain Webb when he was in the ballgame. But watch for the Vikings to grow that package of plays and improve production.

“There is room to expound on what we did [Sunday],” Frazier said. “We are not ready to give up on it. They did a good job [Sunday] of defending it, but we think it has merit.”

I do, too.

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23 Responses to “Emptying Out The Notebook From San Diego”

  1. By Mike B on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    They should call it the “Ho-Hum” as it didn’t fool anyone. Sorry but that’s the realistic veiw of it. Ho-Hum

  2. By Frederick Jones on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    Best Vikings teams of all-time:

    1975…This team lost to the Cowboys on a poor call by the officials. The Cowboys went on to win the Super Bowl easily that year.

    1969…The Vikings were heavily favored after they bombed Cleveland in
    the NFL Championshiip game. At that time the NFL teams did not take the Super Bowl seriously.

    The year the Vikings lost to Atlanta in the NFC Championship (1998 or 1999), that was a great team. I only saw the Atlanta game, so I can’t judge that team accurately. They did have an incredible offense, but I doubt that the defense was that tough.

  3. By Frederick Jones on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    The WebbCat offense had only one series. It would seem that the Vikings have to establish Joe Webb as a P a s s i n g threat first before that offense will work.

  4. By Mike B on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    1998 game Dennis Green lost the killer instinct and started resting his starters after the first half of the game. This allowed Atlanta back in the game and took Green to long to realize what was happening till we had the field goal. I lost all confidence in Dennis Green after that and he hasn’t been good since. Got to have that killer instinct. You got a team 50-3 bury them. We had the Iraqi army by the throat we crushed it. The Pats know all about it. Take care

  5. By Mike B on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    The chargers game was almost as embarrassing as that 98 Atlanta Game. To put it in prespective.

  6. By GM on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    Well done, Wobs’, well done.

  7. By GM on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    …but, you forgot THE single biggest positive of the game. Jared Allen roped that calf after the sack. Yes, despite being told not to do it, despite the threat of fines, despite the threat of Goodell’s hammer reigning down, #69 performed his signature celebration. I was thrilled. I truly hope he continues.

  8. By Carl K on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    GM- as long as Allen doesn’t do his signature move on his knees, as he has in the past, I think he is ok by the NFL.

  9. By laporte on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    When are we going to get a coaching staff that understands we need 2 game plans…one to start the game, and yet a totally different one to start the 2nd half!

    The 2nd half game plan needs to be planned PRIOR TO THE STARTING OF THE GAME, on the basis that the opposition is going to make changes at half time to counteract our 1st half successes…thus our 2nd half game plan, to counteract their expected 2nd-half changes.

  10. By p norm on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    when is ponder going to play? :(

  11. By Jeffbleedspurple on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    That 98 game regarding the defense, we had lost like 5 to 6 of our starters and most importantly John Randle, our defense by the 4th quarter without Randle and the others lost was worst than it been all that season long. but kept us ahead in the game, their really is only one person to blame for that lost, even though Green was very conservative with the offense, that being Andersons missed FG.

  12. By Viking Joe on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    1998 the Falcons were 14-2, not a pushover, but Green should have kept the throttle down !!!! That game still gives me nightmares !!!

  13. By Viking Joe on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    There are 7 million reasons why Ponder won’t play, McNabb’s contract.

  14. By Jeff on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    My perspective on the 1998 NFC Championship game is that Robert Smith had been racking up the yards in the first half and wearing down the defense. In the second half, we started inexplicably passing the ball, and had two three-and-outs in a row if I remember correctly. We should have kept running the ball and running out the clock. The loss can not be blamed completely on the miss by Anderson. I also recall that Brian Billick got his contract with the Ravens shortly thereafter, and there was some thinking that he wanted the Vikings to exit the playoffs early so he wouldn’t be passed over for a head coaching position.

  15. By Brian K on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    I heard in an interview with Frasier on Vikings Gameplan that the Wildcat was already named the “Blazer” since that was UAB’s team name

  16. By Robins on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    Please sit McLoser and put Ponder in. Ponder is young, full of energy, can throw and run and is our future to get to the Super Bowl. Why waste this year?

  17. By Skol_Vikes98 on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    Don’t put in a rookie with no OTA’s and training camps. I know Newton makes it look easy, but Ponder needs a clipboard season. At least half a season. Can we please not turn into Denver fans? It was game 1. If where on game 5 and having the same problems, of course you can pull McNabb. Denver fans want a QB who is not ready, to replace a 4000 yard passer….. Now, McNabb hasn’t preformed that well, but seriously, we’re smarter fans than Denver, right?

  18. By Justin F on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    To those that are saying to start Ponder. Imagine this. If Ponder starts to get sacked and throws interceptions, are you going to demand to put in Webb? Then if Webb starts to make mistakes, do you want McNabb back in. My point is, lets not make hasty comments that are qute outrageous.

  19. By Twoodsnvikes on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    McNabb didn’t even play poorly. There was poor play calling and multiple drops by Berrian and an uncharacteristic drop by Shank which made his stats bad, he looked great in preseason and I fully expect that type of play throughout the season.

  20. By Rocky Russo on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    Call it the Spider –cause it streches the defense and sticks it in there to Webb.

  21. By vlad19 on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    Joe Webb was unable to get anything going because you need an offensive lineman to put his body on a defensive body….. ours didn’t do that. We have a bunch or Matadors out there — Ole’!

    Charlie “Brown” Johnson has shown a lot…. lot of what i don;t know. No guts, no footwork, no speed, no athleticism… hey, it sounds like we still have Mr Lay-Z-Boy, Bryant McKinnie still out there, only 40-50 lbs smaller. Sounds like “upgrayde” to me????

  22. By DuaneN on Sep 14, 2011 | Reply

    The Blazer/Webbcat was very stupid. Running Webb up the middle makes absolutely no sense, unless it’s goalline and he jumps. All of his best scrambles have been on the edge after he couldn’t find a receiver. I actually thought we were going deep on that first down. Very silly of me.

    I realize they are setting up future plays but the timing could not have been worse. I wouldn’t complain if the play was for Webb to possibly pass first and then run if nothing is open.

  23. By freedom fighter on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    offensive coordinator and offensive line lost the game

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