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Frazier Says Kevin Williams Is Back To Full Speed

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2011 – 3:04 pm

It was no coincidence that the Vikings defense registered 5 sacks against a team that had allowed zero sacks previously in the same game that DT Kevin Williams made his return to the lineup. After missing the first two weeks of the 2011 regular season, Williams returned in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions and the result was not pleasant for QB Matthew Stafford.

Williams is known as a premier run-stopper in the NFL because he teamed with Pat Williams for several seasons to form the “Williams Wall.” That DT tandem helped the Vikings rank #1 against the run from 2006-08 and then #2 against the run in 2009. But Williams is also a huge factor in the team’s pass rush, largely because he commands a double-team nearly every snap, which yields other players along the defensive line one-on-one matchups.

When you have DEs such as Jared Allen and Brian Robison in one-on-one matchups, you’re going to get to the QB. Allen and Robison have 13.0 sacks between them, which is the most of any NFL DE tandem so far this season.

Williams’ two-game absence required him to be away from the team entirely, including at the training facility during the week. Since he’s returned, though, Williams has quickly gotten up to speed in terms of his play on the field, his level of conditioning and in his battle with a foot injury that’s bothered him since training camp.

“No problems,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said. “He doesn’t complain about it. He doesn’t talk about it anymore.”

Opposing offenses must be complaining. Williams is a player that opponents must account for on each snap because of his ability to penetrate the backfield and be a disruptive force. And even when he’s double-teamed, Frazier says, he can still get the job done.

“Now that he is really where he needs to be physically, I think it’s going to be a lot tougher for people even when they do try to double him,” Frazier explained. “He’s one of those guys, even when people have double-teamed him in the past, that didn’t necessarily stop him from doing what he had to do. I think he’s about back to that point now.”


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Vikings Will “Take It Slow” With Harvin, Expect Him To Play Sunday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2011 – 2:40 pm

It sounds as if Vikings WR Percy Harvin was held from practice on Thursday. He’s dealing with sore ribs and was a limited participant on Wednesday.

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier told reporters after practice on Thursday that Harvin was re-evaluated and that he “should be fine for the game” on Sunday night.

Frazier also noted that CB Antoine Winfield still has stiffness in his neck. His status for Sunday is a bit more uncertain, but more will be known after Friday’s practice.


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Will “Book” Get A Better Look?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2011 – 10:55 am

Vikings fans were introduced to Lorenzo Booker late last year, when he was signed before the team’s Week 14 game against the NY Giants and wound up stepping into the kick return role. He did a nice job in the role, averaging 23.8 yards on 18 returns, including 3 returns of 40+ yards. 

The Vikings decided to bring Booker back to the team last offseason, and he responded by having a solid training camp and averaging 5.2 yards per carry and 8.5 yards per reception in 4 preseason games. But beyond 8 kickoff returns in place of Percy Harvin occasionally, Booker hasn’t seen much of the field.

That changed last week, though, as Booker recorded 1 rush for 25 yards and also caught 2 passes for 25 yards. And it sounds like Booker may be getting a few more looks as the season moves forward.

“Book is a weapon,” Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave said on Thursday.”He’s definitely a weapon. We were happy to get him some touches the other day. Looking back, we probably would’ve had more production if we would’ve done that early in the year. So we’re hoping to build on that and he’ll help us in certain situations like he did on Sunday.”

Booker is not the kind of RB you’d give 15-20 rushes to on the ground, and he’s not a player you’d line up consistently in the slot. But he is a player who can be effective and explosive in the right situations.

“He’s a tough matchup for linebackers,” Musgrave explained. “Book had a great preseason carrying the ball, too. So he’s not just a threat in the passing game, so we want to get him out there because he’s sharp, he knows who to block if they would rush him, but we can also get him out and let him do his thing in space.”


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Frazier Explains Common Trait Shared By Great Pass Rushers

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2011 – 8:51 am

Sunday’s matchup between the Vikings and Bears features two of the best pass rushers over the last 6-10 years, with Julius Peppers lining up for  Chicago and Jared Allen lining up for Minnesota.

Peppers entered the NFL in 2002 and has 91.0 career sacks, including double-digit sacks in 6 of his 9 full seasons. Allen entered the NFL in 2004 and has quickly climbed the charts, registering 91.5 over his career and 48.5 since joining the Vikings in 2008.

While meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier was asked if he’s noticed a common trait among the great pass rushers he’s known throughout his football life. Frazier is qualified to answer because he played with Hall of Fame DE Richard Dent in Chicago and he coached Indianapolis Colts DE Dwight Freeney from 2005-06. It didn’t take Frazier long to identify that trait, and his reasoning behind it was interesting to note. The trait he names is not one you’d guess.

Here’s what he said…

“I did play with one who is in the Hall of Fame now, Richard Dent, and it seems to be that one quality when I look at Dwight Freeney, look at Jared (Allen), Richard, those guys have such a passion for rushing the passer along with being great athletes but they’re all smart guys. They have the football instincts and intelligence that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a defensive end. They’re almost like a linebacker who is calling the defense. I can remember Richard telling me at times, ‘Hey, I’m going to use this move’ and this is in between plays, ‘Watch this guy, he’s going to take this fake and I’m going to be on the quarterback.’ The same thing with Jared. He’ll say at times, ‘I’m going to do this’ and ‘This is going to happen.’ They’ve already thought through what they’re going to do, mimic plays before they actually happen and make it happen. It’s not just being fast or strong. These guys are thinking on their feet and they are tremendous athletes.”


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