Heading into the 2011 season, some questioned the Vikings decision to go with Brian Robison as the starting DE opposite Jared Allen. It was thought by some that Robison couldn’t handle a full load of snaps in a game and that he couldn’t defend the run well enough.
For the previous 3+ seasons, Ray Edwards was Allen’s pass-rushing partner from the edge. Together, Allen and Edwards registered 19.5 sacks in 2008, 23.0 sacks in 2009 and 19.0 sacks in 2010. Also, the DE tandem helped the Vikings rank #1 against the run in 2008 and #2 against the run in 2009.
But this past offseason Edwards signed with the Atlanta Falcons, leaving vacant the starting left DE position. The Vikings, who had extended Robison’s contract earlier in the offseason, immediately tabbed him as the starter. And right now, the decision to increase Robison’s role and team him with Allen looks like a great one.
The Vikings are tied for 2nd in the NFL with 16 teams sacks, and no DE tandem in the NFL has more sacks than Allen and Robison’s 13.0 through 5 games. Allen has 8.5 and Robison has 4.5 (tied for a career high), while DE Everson Griffen (2.0) and Erin Henderson (1.0) have the others.
Both Allen and Robison had 2.0 sacks on Sunday against Arizona, helping to pace a dominant defensive effort that allowed just 10 points.
“We challenged our defensive line and our offensive line during the week to really step up,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said after the game.”Jared is having a really unbelievable year, and so is B-Rob (Brian Robison). He is not taking a back seat to anybody in our League. He is playing lights out football and just makes our defense and our team so much better when you have two defensive ends that play the way their playing. They are playing at a high level and they’re really setting the tone for our defense.”
Tags: Brian Robison, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier
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The best RB in the NFL is Adrian Peterson, and his performance against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday was just the latest proof of that. He finished the game with 122 yards rushing and 3 TDs on 29 carries. But to truly appreciate his contribution to the Vikings winning effort, you have to look a bit deeper.
Peterson was a major factor in the early stages of the game, recording all 3 of his TDs in the 1st quarter as the Vikings built a 28-0 lead. In the 1st quarter alone, Peterson had 9 carries for 59 yards and the 3 TDs. He had runs of 4, 11, 3, 4 (TD), 24 (TD), 1, 0, -2 and 14 (TD) yards. While there were a couple negative and no gain rushes in there, by and large Peterson was setting the tempo for the Vikings offense and letting the Cardinals defense know that it was going to be a long day for the visitors.
By halftime, Peterson had 86 yards on 13 carries, and thanks to him and the defense, the Vikings were in control of the game.
But Peterson’s influence on the game didn’t end there. The Vikings continued to go to Peterson in the 2nd half, and Peterson continued to punish the Cardinals defense. He carried the ball 16 times for 36 yards in the 2nd half, and while that doesn’t come out to a great average yards per rush (2.3), it did grind away at Arizona’s defense and help the Vikings control the tempo. The Vikings held a major time of possession advantage in the 2nd half, holding the ball for half of the 3rd quarter and over 10 minutes in the 4th quarter.
“Adrian, as you know, every team in the league, when they get ready to play the Vikings they are saying, ‘How are we going to stop number 28?’ He was at his best today,” Frazier said. “He played a terrific game. The way he finished the game for us in that four-minute situation where we were trying to hold on to the ball and make them use their timeouts, just a great example of who he is and what he is capable of doing.”
The situation Frazier referenced came in the middle of the 4th quarter, with the Vikings starting a drive on the Arizona 47. Peterson ran the ball 6 consecutive plays and gained 17 yards. More importantly, though, there was 6:42 to play when the drive began, and the drive concluded with a Ryan Longwell FG and just 2:14 to go on the clock.
And aside from leading in his performance on the field, Frazier says Peterson is also starting to be a leader on the sidelines, too.
“Before that series when I talked to him,” Frazier explained, “I said, ‘Bring the offensive line into it, let’s get the whole offensive line. I want to talk to them and make sure they understand that we have to run some clock here and we have to ride you.’ He said, ‘Coach, I got it. Let me talk to them. I’ll handle it.’ I was like, ‘Whoa, this is our star player stepping up in a leadership role and saying, I’ll handle it. Let me handle it.’ From my vantage point, that is huge when you get that out of your best players. He’s a great player and turned out to be an excellent leader for us as well.”
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier
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