Winfield Full Participant In Practice; Herrera Sits Out

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 10, 2011 – 3:29 pm

As the Vikings prepare to face the NFL’s hottest passing attack they are on the way to getting some very good news. CB Antoine Winfield, who has missed the past 4 games with a neck injury, was a full participant in practice on Thursday.

Although Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier has not said definitively that Winfield will play on Monday night against Green Bay, he has expressed optimism that Winfield would be available. Winfield’s presence as a full participant in the team’s first practice of the week is yet another indication that the 13-year veteran will indeed return to action.

Starting RG Anthony Herrera (knee) did not practice, and his status for Monday night’s game is unclear. Frazier did say Herrera made progress over the bye week. Making progress looks to be a theme among Vikings players who were dinged up heading into the bye, as Herrera and Winfield were the only injured Vikings to show up on this week’s report (Chris Cook is on the report but has a “not injury related” designation).

Over the next several weeks with the stadium issue on the front burner in Minnesota, we’ll have a piece of stadium information posted after each Blog entry.

Stadium FAQ: What is the Vikings current stadium situation at the Metrodome?
The Vikings have only a few games remaining on the lease at the Metrodome, and team officials have been firm they will not sign a lease extension without a stadium solution in place.

The team currently ranks at the bottom of the NFL in stadium revenues due to the challenges of the Metrodome. Since 1992, 28 of the 32 NFL cities have either built new stadiums or significantly renovated their existing facilities, making it difficult for the Vikings to remain competitive. While the Metrodome has been a great asset for the State of Minnesota for 29 years, the reality is the facility is obsolete for use for NFL games. It no longer provides fans with the experience they expect or deserve

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Vikings Have Experienced Thrills in Recent Monday Night Games

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 10, 2011 – 2:54 pm

This entry was written by Vikings Public Relations intern Eric Haigh

Playing on Monday Night Football (MNF) is a special moment for any team that gets the opportunity. While the Vikings will be playing in their first MNF game of the season this week at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, they certainly have been involved in many exciting MNF games in their history. To help prepare you for this week’s NFC North rivalry game between the Vikings and Packers, let’s take a look back at the most exciting Vikings MNF games over the past 5 seasons.

Vikings 19, Redskins 16 – September 11, 2006 – FedEx Field
The Vikings kicked off the 2006 season under the lights of FedEx Field with a new head coach in Brad Childress and many other new faces, including CB Cedric Griffin, LG Steve Hutchinson, and K Ryan Longwell. On the first possession of the game, the Vikings drove 80 yards and scored on a 4-yard touchdown run by RB Chester Taylor. After 13 unanswered points by the Redskins, the Vikings came back to take the lead with a 46-yard field goal from Longwell and a 20-yard TD pass from QB Brad Johnson to WR Marcus Robinson. With 4:35 left in the 3rd quarter, Redskins K John Hall tied the game at 16 with a 22-yard field goal. In the final minutes, the Vikings came up big and took the lead with another Longwell FG, this time from 31 yards away with only 1 minute left in the game. The Redskins were able to get into position for a 48-yard FG try with 17 seconds remaining, but the kick sailed wide left and the Vikings opened their season with a big win on the road.

Vikings 20, Bears 13 – December 17, 2007 – HHH Metrodome
The Vikings entered this MNF matchup with an 8-6 record and a chance to put themselves in good position for a playoff berth. In their way was another NFC North rival, the Chicago Bears. Despite a noisy crowd that wanted to see their Vikings make that push into the postseason, the Purple started off slowly, falling behind 13-6 at the end of the 1st half with their only points coming on two Longwell FGs. The Vikings kept that momentum going in the 3rd quarter, as rookie RB Adrian Peterson punched a TD in from 1-yard out. However, the extra point following the score sailed wide left and kept the score at 13-12 in favor of Chicago. With just over 11 minutes remaining, starting QB Tarvaris Jackson was knocked out of the game with an injury. One play later, Peterson went up the middle for an 8-yard TD. Backup quarterback Brooks Bollinger scored a 2-point conversion after the TD and the Vikings never looked back, winning 20-13.

Packers 24, Vikings 19 – September 8, 2008 – Lambeau Field
The second time the Vikings opened the season on MNF came in this 2008 showdown with their division rival Packers. Green Bay was coming off of a 2007 season in which the team reached the NFC Championship Game, losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants in overtime. The Vikings were coming off a promising season with many young players looking to make the jump to the next level. Both offenses had trouble early in the game, with 3 of the first 4 scores being FGs. Going into halftime, Green Bay held a 10-6 lead, and after a 76-yard punt return for a TD from Packers punt returner Will Blackmon, hope was dwindling for the Vikings. However, the team rallied, scoring 2 TDs in the 4th quarter. With the score 24-19, the Vikings got the ball back with 1:51 remaining in the game and marched to the Minnesota 45 before QB Tarvaris Jackson was intercepted by Packers safety Atari Bigby to clinch the game. The Vikings would come back and beat the Packers at home later in the 2008 season on their way to an NFC North Championship.

Vikings 30, Saints 27 – October 6, 2008 – Louisiana Superdome
Entering a loud and raucous Louisiana Superdome on October 6, 2008, both the Vikings and Saints were in need of a win to remain in their respective division races. The Vikings did nothing to help quiet the crowd during the earlier stages, giving up a 17-yard TD from Saints QB Drew Brees to WR Devery Henderson just 3:51 into the game. New Orleans again moved the ball into scoring position midway through the 1st quarter before settling for a Martin Gramatica 46-yard FG attempt. The attempt was blocked and returned 59 yards for a TD by Vikings CB Antoine Winfield. After FGs by each team, Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe hauled in a 4-yard TD pass from running back Chester Taylor on a trick play to put the Vikings up 20-10 heading into halftime. The Saints stormed back in the 2nd half, scoring 17 unanswered points, including punt return TDs of 71 and 64 yards by Saints RB Reggie Bursh to give New Orleans a 27-20 lead. With 7:10 to go in the 4th quarter, Vikings QB Gus Frerotte hooked up with WR Bernard Berrian for a 33-yard TD to even the score. After a Saints missed FG, the Vikings got the ball back and took a shot deep to Berrian, who the officials say was interfered with by S Kevin Kaesviharn, putting the ball at the New Orleans 14. Longwell hit a 30-yard FG with 16 seconds left in the game to give the Vikings a much-needed win.

Vikings 30, Packers 27 – October 5, 2009 – Mall Of America Field
The storylines were aplenty when the Vikings met the Packers in Week 4 of the 2009 season. Vikings QB Brett Favre, who had spent 16 years of his career with the Packers and won one Super Bowl and 3 MVP awards, was facing his old team for the first time, only adding to the fierce rivalry between the two sides. On the other side was Favre’s successor, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who was in the middle of his second season and the team’s full-time starter. Favre made his mark first after the Vikings recovered a Rodgers fumble, firing a 1-yard touchdown pass to Shiancoe to take an early 7-0 lead. One minute and four seconds later, Rodgers threw a 62-yard TD pass to Packers TE Jermichael Finley to even the score. After Favre hooked up with WR Sidney Rice for a 14-yard TD in the 2nd quarter, the Vikings defense came up with a stop and got the ball back again. However, Packers rookie LB Clay Matthews stripped Adrian Peterson of the ball and took it back 42 yards for a TD to make the score 14-14. Peterson made up for his mistake on the next offensive series, taking the ball into the end zone from 1 yard out to give the Vikings a 7-point advantage heading into halftime. From there, Favre and the Vikings put their foot on the gas. Favre drove the offense down the field on the opening drive of the 2nd half and finished it off with a 31-yard TD pass to Berrian. After scoreless play for over a quarter, the Vikings defense got in on the act, as DE Jared Allen sacked Rodgers in the end zone, stripping him of the ball and recovering it. After a Packers challenge, it was ruled that Rodgers’ knee was down in the end zone, resulting in a Vikings safety and a 30-14 lead. A Packers TD reception by receiver Jordy Nelson and a 31-yard FG from kicker Mason Crosby was not enough to overcome the deficit, as Favre beat his former team for the first time. Favre would go on to lead the Vikings to a 2009 NFC North Championship and an NFC Championship Game appearance.

Over the next several weeks with the stadium issue on the front burner in Minnesota, we’ll have a piece of stadium information posted after each Blog entry.

Stadium Did You Know?
– Because of the revenue-challenged Metrodome, the Vikings receive annual subsidies of $15-20 million from other NFL teams in order to compete, including smaller markets like Green Bay and Kansas City.

– State lottery proceeds were used in Baltimore and Seattle to help pay for new football and baseball stadiums.

– The Twins ballpark legislation required the team to pay 30% of the total construction costs while Hennepin County covered the remaining 70%. The Vikings have agreed to fund 33% of the costs of an NFL-ready open-air stadium in Minnesota.

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Very Quickly, Vikings And Packers Meet Again

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 10, 2011 – 12:48 pm

When the Vikings and Packers kickoff on Monday night at Lambeau Field, they’ll each be kicking off the second half of their season. Both teams have already enjoyed their bye weeks and both teams will be playing their 9th game.

But despite being so far along in the season, both the Vikings and Packers will face a similar challenge in preparing for this week’s contest – a limited amount of tape since the last meeting. Both the Vikings and Packers have played only one other opponent since their Week 7 meeting. Adding to the unfamiliarity is the fact that Monday night’s game will mark just the third career start for Vikings staring QB Christian Ponder.

Ponder’s first career start came against these Packers back in Week 7, and the rookie responded with a solid outing. He was 13 of 32 for 219 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs, guiding the Vikings to within 6 points of the undefeated defending Super Bowl champions. Not bad for a rookie in his debut.

But you can be sure that Packers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers and his crew will have a few new tactics to employ in their second go-around against the young passer.

“I’m sure there will be some wrinkles that he (Ponder) didn’t see the first time,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said on Thursday. “They’ll (Green Bay) look at some tape. And they didn’t have a lot of tape on him going into that ball game (in Week 7). They’ll have some new wrinkles, but we’ll also have some new wrinkles from an offensive standpoint.”

The Packers have a defense loaded with playmakers, starting with LB Clay Matthews in the front seven and continuing with ball-hawks in the secondary such as Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson. Green Bay is tied for 2nd in the NFL and 1st in the NFC with 19 takeaways this season, a total that includes the 2 INTs Woodson grabbed from Ponder just 3 weeks ago.

With that said, Frazier sounded confident in his QB on Thursday.

“But I get the impression from being around him (Ponder), and the way he played in that first game versus them, that he’ll be able to handle those looks, if there are some new looks that they may bring,” Frazier said.

Over the next several weeks with the stadium issue on the front burner in Minnesota, we’ll have a piece of stadium information posted after each Blog entry.

Stadium Did You Know?
Not only will a Vikings stadium keep one of Minnesota’s biggest assets in the State, but building a new facility will also support thousands of jobs and generate significant economic activity at a time when the State desperately needs it. According to Mortenson Construction, 1,600 construction workers will work over 900,000 hours in just the first year of construction.

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Setting The Table For Vikings vs. Packers On Monday Night Football

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 10, 2011 – 7:21 am

Vikings vs. Packers is ordinarily well-worthy of the prime time spotlight. But add in an undefeated defending Super Bowl champion, a QB in Aaron Rodgers playing at an extremely high level, the rise of Christian Ponder as the starting QB in Minnesota, the NFL’s best RB in Adrian Peterson and then the setting of Lambeau Field, and you have a matchup that is perfect for the grand stage of Monday Night Football.

The Vikings and Packers will meet for the 102nd time in their series history this Monday night in a contest that will mark the Vikings 55th MNF game, and the 8th meeting between the clubs on MNF. The Vikings are 26-28 all-time on MNF, including a 4-3 record against the Packers and an 11-19 record overall on the road.

Another interesting twist to Monday night’s Vikings-Packers tilt is that it marks the second contest between the two teams in just 3 weeks, and both the Vikings (at Carolina) and Packers (at San Diego) have played just one other game since their last meeting on October 23; the Vikings had their bye week last weekend and Green Bay was on bye during Week 8.

There’s not a whole lot different about the Packers from the last time we poked and prodded at them in the days leading up to a showdown with the Vikings. Rodgers is still the NFL’s highest-rated passer (129.1) and he’s still completing an absurd percentage of his passes (up to 72.5% now). Green Bay’s offense is 4th in yards per game (416.4), 3rd in passing yards per game (312.0) and 1st in scoring at 34.4 points per game. The offensive line has battled injuries and continues to protect Rodgers adequately, and the running game is good enough to force opposing defenses to respect it. Remember, the Packers salted away their victory over the Vikings 3 weeks ago by rushing for 55 yards on 6 carries during the game’s final drive.

What we discussed 3 weeks ago regarding Green Bay’s defense remains true today: if there is vulnerability on this Packers team, it’s defensively. Currently they rank 30th in total defense (399.6 yard allowed per game) and 31st in passing defense (299.6 yards allowed per game). Last week in San Diego, the Packers allowed Chargers QB Philip Rivers to go 26 of 46 for 385 yards and 4 TDs, and three weeks ago they allowed Ponder, in his first career NFL start, to pass for 219 yards and 2 TDs.

The reason Green Bay is able to overcome a few holes on defense is two-fold. First, their elite and explosive offensive production, led by Rodgers and the passing game, puts pressure on the opponent’s offense to match their scoring. And secondly, this leads to a great turnover margin for Green Bay, which just feeds the offense even more. Green Bay is +11 in turnover margin this season and their defense is tied for 2nd in the NFL and tied for 1st in the NFC with 19 takeaways. Remember, future Hall of Fame CB Charles Woodson intercepted two Ponder passes in these teams’ last meeting. Another playmaker to watch is outside LB Clay Matthews. Teams are doing a nice job of covering him up this year, but he’s coming off a 13.5-sack season last year and if the Vikings aren’t careful, he can ruin the game.

Monday night does not present an impossible task for the Vikings, as daunting as the matchup might seem. In fact, it presents a great opportunity for the Vikings, as both Ponder and Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier go to Lambeau Field for their first time in their respective roles. If Frazier and Ponder can get the Vikings to be competitive against the Packers while they’re the undefeated defending champions at Lambeau Field on MNF, then that bodes well for the future of this franchise.

Over the next several weeks with the stadium issue on the front burner in Minnesota, we’ll have a piece of stadium information posted after each Blog entry.

Stadium FAQ – What is the latest on the new stadium?
In May 2011, the Vikings and Ramsey County agreed on a partnership to build a new stadium at the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) property in Arden Hills. With a budget deficit facing the State during the regular session, the Vikings were told to wait until a budget resolution was achieved, something that didn’t happen until a three-week government shutdown and a June special session.  As a result, the stadium issue was not addressed; however, on Monday, October 17, Governor Dayton expressed his intent to call a special session on November 21 with the sole focus being a “People’s Stadium.” The Vikings continue to work with State leaders on a final stadium proposal, and the team is hopeful the issue will be resolved this November.

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