Emptying Out The Vikings-Cardinals Notebook

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 11, 2011 – 7:49 pm

Before we turn our full attention to this weekend’s matchup against the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football, let’s empty out the notebook from last Sunday’s 34-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals…

Harvin is good at everything
We discussed last week that Percy Harvin has been delivering for the Vikings offense both on the ground and through the air. On Sunday he also delivered in the run blocking game.

“The way he blocked yesterday, was incredible to the point where he is going to receive a game ball for that,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said on Monday. “He didn’t have the big numbers from a catching standpoint, but the things he did, in blocking for Adrian Peterson, Adrian had a great day, but some of those things wouldn’t have occurred without Percy.”

Harvin had a key block against Cardinals S Adrian Wilson to set Peterson free for a 24-yard TD dash to make the score 14-0 midway through the 1st quarter.

“It doesn’t show up in the stat sheet, but you talk about being an unselfish player, he is a star player, but he is going in there, taking out linebackers, taking out safeties and some of these plays were designed for him to do just that. He never complained, when you watch him block you say ‘man is he a wide receiver or is he an offensive lineman?’ He did such a great job for us.”

Sherels solid in punt return role
Marcus Sherels was among the group of young DBs who stepped up to contain Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald. But he also made important contributions in the punt return game, something he’s been doing for all of the 2011 season. Sherels is averaging 15.2 yards per punt return on the season, which ranks him 5th in the NFL. On Sunday he had 2 returns for 45 yards (22.5 yards per return), including a 22-yard return from the Arizona 40 to the Arizona 22 that set up a Peterson TD 4 plays later.

Winfield “day-to-day”
An outstanding effort from the young Vikings secondary kept Arizona’s passing attack in check with CB Antoine Winfield on the sideline because of a neck injury. But the Vikings don’t want to get too used to playing without Winfield. There’s no denying the defense is better and the secondary deeper with Winfield in the game.

It sounds like Winfield’s status will be tenuous again this week, but it also sounds like he’s improving.

“We are hoping to get him back,” Frazier said Monday. “We will learn more as the week goes on, but I know he is getting better. I was talking to our trainers today and he is making progress, but it is kind of day-to-day.”

Fantastic Fans
Fans who attended the game deserve credit. They came out to support a winless football team and they were a big reason why that winless team is no longer winless. The Vikings defense played lights out, especially early in the game, and the defense and home crowd fed off of each other. The result was a great environment for the home team, and an impossible environment for the visitors. Arizona’s offense had trouble operating, and the main beneficiaries were DEs Jared Allen and Brian Robison, who each had 2.0 sacks.

“Our fans were terrific today,” Frazier said right after the game. “They always have been. I think our players really appreciated the noise they created that made it very difficult for the Arizona Cardinals football team. I’ve always told our players, I really believe we have the best fans in the National Football League and I thought it was evidenced today. It was on display.”

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Peterson Named NFC Offensive Player Of The Week

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 11, 2011 – 2:05 pm

Adrian Peterson rushed for 122 yards and 3 TDs on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, a performance that led the Vikings to their first victory of the season. That performance also garnered Peterson NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, the League announced on Tuesday.

This is the 5th time Peterson has won the award.

Peterson scored all 3 of his rushing TDs on Sunday in the 1st quarter, becoming just the 3rd player in NFL history to accomplish that feat. He also tied a team record for rushing TDs in a game and set a new team record for TDs in a quarter and a half.

Sunday’s performance gives Peterson 498 rushing yards (2nd in the NFL) and 6 rushing TDs (tied for 1st in the NFL) on the season. The 122-yard effort also marks the 26th 100-yard rushing game of Peterson’s career.

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Ask Again: Can Jared Allen Record His 100th Career Sack In 2011?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 11, 2011 – 9:29 am

 I posed the question contained in the title to this blog entry last week, and I think we should revisit the issue this week following Jared Allen’s 2.0-sack effort on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Allen now has at least a .5 sack in 13 of his last 14 games, including 7 straight contests, and he’s at 8.5 sacks for the season; the franchise record is 8 (held by Jim Marshall and Carl Eller).

Since the Vikings acquired Allen in 2008, he’s come through in a huge way, registering 48.5 regular season sacks in 3+ seasons. In total, Allen has recorded 91.5 career sacks in the regular season. When you add in his postseason sacks, Allen is at 94.5 for his career.

When Allen is recognized for recording his 100th career sack, it’ll be for his 100.0 career regular season sacks. Why they don’t include postseason sacks is a little confusing, but they don’t. That means Allen is officially 8.5 sacks away from 100.0 for his career, but technically he’s 5.5 away from 100.0 (if you include his 3.0 postseason sacks).

If Allen gets his 100th career (regular season) sack in 2011, it’ll be his 17th sack of the season, which would be a career high. But it’s not out of the question that Allen could record his career high in sacks this season, especially when you consider that this is the best pace he’s been on in his entire NFL career.

Going back to the question…can Allen get his 100th career sack this season? He’s officially 8.5 away, with 11 games to go. Keep in mind the Vikings still have 5 home games remaining, he’s on the best early-season pace of his career and he had the best training camp of any Vikings player.

What do you think Vikings fans? Will Allen get to 100 this year? I think he will, and I think it’ll come in the final week of the regular season against Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears.

Let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry…

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Frazier Says Vikings Haven’t Forgotten About Webb

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 11, 2011 – 7:19 am

QB Joe Webb was one of the few bright spots late in the 2010 season, and his success late last season was an encouraging sign for many Vikings fans who believe in his playmaking ability. As Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and his new coaching staff began making plans for the 2011 season, they made it clear that Webb A) would compete for time at QB and B) would be involved in the offense one way or the other, whether at QB or at another skilled position.

Frazier and his staff were true to their word, as Webb competed in training camp at QB and made progress. Then with Donovan McNabb installed as the starter, the Vikings worked on offensive packages that featured Webb. He’s been on the field occasionally this season, but not to the degree that satisfies the public’s desires.

But rest easy, Webb enthusiasts, because Frazier has ensured that the team does plan to utilize Webb’s talents on offense during the season. Wisely, though, the Vikings head coach wouldn’t divulge much more detail than that.

“He still fits in,” Frazier said while meeting with reporters on Monday. “It’s something that we haven’t forgotten about and at some point, it will come back to life. But we haven’t forgotten about it. It’s something that is still part of our offense.”

That’s good news, because there’s no denying that Webb is a playmaker who can be an asset to any offense. This offensive staff has shown some creativity this season in how they’ve used both Lorenzo Booker (double reverse last week) and Percy Harvin (end-arounds vs. Kansas City and Arizona), so it won’t be surprising to see that same creativity put to work at some point to feature Webb.

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