Head Coach Leslie Frazier said on Monday that, after watching tape of last weekend’s game with his entire coaching staff, he feels the Vikings are “on the verge of getting things headed in the right direction.” It’s not an easy thing for fans to hear after the disappointing start to the season, but it will be interesting to see if Frazier is indeed correct when the Vikings return to Mall of America Field for a game against the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday.
Beyond citing the fact that this weekend’s game is at home, Frazier didn’t go into specifics for why he felt a turnaround was in store for his team. But one reason I have to believe Frazier feels improvement is imminent is that we finally saw the Vikings get their TEs involved in the passing game. Both Kyle Rudolph and Visanthe Shiancoe were factors in the passing game against Kansas City, and hopefully that will prime the pump for Donovan McNabb going forward.
Shiancoe had his best outing of the season against Kansas City, hauling in 6 receptions for 56 yards; he had just 4 receptions for 36 yards and a TD over the first 3 games of the season. In addition, Rudolph caught 3 passes for 44 yards, giving the TE duo more than half of the team’s production from pass catchers.
More important than just the sheer numbers for Shiancoe and Rudolph were the situations in which McNabb leaned on them. McNabb favored Shiancoe on critical downs, as the two hooked up for two completions on 3rd downs and another on 4th down. In fact, all 6 of Shiancoe’s receptions resulted in 1st downs.
Also, McNabb found Rudolph down the left sideline for 41 yards when the Vikings were backed up on their own 15-yardline early in the 2nd quarter. That drive ended in a turnover, but until that point Rudolph’s long reception looked to be the key play in what would become a scoring drive that would’ve increased the Vikings lead to double digits.
Click here to watch a video highlight of Rudolph’s catch.
It’s a negative situation to start the season 0-4, but in looking for a bright spot here and there you can’t help but notice the improvement from Shiancoe and Rudolph in the passing game. It will be interesting to see how Arizona defends this aspect of the Vikings offense, and what other areas of the Vikings offense will open up as a result.
Tags: Donovan McNabb, Kyle Rudolph, Leslie Frazier, Visanthe Shiancoe
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 145 Comments »