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Young DTs Ballard, Guion Flash Potential

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 22, 2011 – 2:49 pm

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said on Monday that DT Kevin Williams played his best game of the season on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. That’s a good sign for the Vikings defense because when Williams makes plays in the middle of the Vikings defense, it opens up opportunities for other defenders.

But Williams isn’t the only Vikings DT who has stood out recently. Youngsters Christian Ballard and Letroy Guion have flashed potential recently, and seeing them continue to develop would be a huge positive for the Vikings defense. We won’t get ahead of ourselves here; Ballard and Guion can’t be mentioned in the same breath as Williams yet, and “flashing potential” is a far cry from becoming a productive and disruptive member of an NFL defensive line. But seeing young players flash potential is a lot better than the alternative.

It was Guion who blocked the Raiders 49-yard FG attempt in the 4th quarter to help the Vikings build momentum for a 14-point 4th quarter and near comeback victory. For the season, Guion has 13 tackles and 1.0 tackle for loss playing behind Williams. Those numbers won’t blow you away, but they’re an indication that Guion is progressing in his 4th season and will likely compete for a starting position at some point in the near future.

Ballard made a great play on Sunday against the Raiders, too. The Raiders had the ball and a 27-14 lead with just over 6 minutes to play in the 4th quarter, and they were trying to work on the game clock and get out of Mall of America Field with a tough road win. On a 1st-and-10 rush by RB Michael Bush, Ballard was cut block and fell to the ground. But he quickly picked himself up, ran to Bush as the RB sprinted off left tackle, and punched the ball out of Bush’s arms. DE Brian Robison was there to recover the fumble, and the Vikings scored a TD just two plays later to close the gap and make the score 27-21 with 5:12 to play.

Again, this doesn’t mean Ballard is destined for the Pro Bowl anytime soon. But it was the kind of hustle and impact play that you want to see from young, developing players, even though the team is going through a disappointing 2-8 season. Ballard has 2.0 tackles for a loss on the season and he’s also been a factor for the Vikings special teams group. Just as is the case for Guion, it appears Ballard will be challenging for even more playing time next season.

Another aspect about this to keep in mind is that both Ballard and Guion were mid-round picks by the Vikings. Ballard was selected with a 4th-round choice (#106 overall) this past April and Guion was a 5th-round pick (#152) in 2008. Getting this kind of development – and hopefully consistent disruption and production in the near future – from mid-round picks is crucial to a franchise’s ability to build a roster that can attain long-term success.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 51 Comments »


51 Responses to “Young DTs Ballard, Guion Flash Potential”

  1. By Carl Brodin on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    What we need to go with Guion and Ballard is a big run stuffing DT to replace Pat Williams. I think because of what i have seen from Ballard we have Kevin Williams replacement. Kawain Short from Purdue may be that run stuffer we need. K.Will was awsome this past sunday like the Kevin of old. We also need a few more LB’s. One might be OLB Brandon Lindsey from Pitt. Also a few good corners because Griffin will most likely be gone. I think our other DE should be a bit player not a starter. Maybe make him a LB. Because we could put Everson Griffin at LDE thats why we drafted him. Get real Leslie Fraizer quit playing favorites and open up your eyes.

  2. By Deertracks on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Flash? Yes, let’s get those players already on the team to start “Flashing”. Ponder will not last the rest of the season if that OL doesn’t start to “Flash”!

  3. By Twoodsnvikes on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Ballard should be starting not Ayodele

  4. By Parody on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Ayodele is the heaviest and shortest DT we have. That makes him ideal as our Nose Tackle, as it makes it harder to get around him or move him. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much skill to complement his size, so he just gets used to fill space and occupy blockers so that the playmakers around him have an easier job.

  5. By Parody on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    So, here’s something I’ve been wondering for a long time; why does theis site always count the first year of play as 2-years of experience? Take a look at the team roster. All rookies are listed as 0-years expereince, but 2nd-year players like Gerhart & Cook are 2-years. There is nobody with 1-year of experience! Will somebody please explain this formula to me?

  6. By sandiamond on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Broncos waive QB Kyle Orton.

  7. By Parody on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Sandia – Youi’re not suggesting we pick him up, are you? They dropped him for a reason. We should follow suit with the old washed up QB on our own team…

  8. By Viking33 on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Guion has been flashing talent since he was drafted – the problem is that was 4 years ago and still flashing isn’t good enough. He has had his chance this year to step and show consistency and he has not done it. Ballard has been making strides all year though and looks to be a good one. I hope they play the youngsters more in the coming weeks – we really need to evaluate what we have before going into the Draft next year. Good to see Mistral Raymond flying around too more – that kid has a great burst for a Safety!!

  9. By VegasVike on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    I bet Orton goes back to Chi town….

  10. By Parody on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Orton’s probably more likely to go somewhere like Baltimore. They have a successful rookie at the helm, but I think they don’t have much for depth, so a veteran with experience would be useful. Teams with established vets like Chicago are going to be a lot less likely to add another vet to the roster.

  11. By Parody on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Sorry – I don’t know why I said Baltimore – I was thinking CIncinatti. That’s the comparison I meant to make…

  12. By Viking Joe on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    I think Chicago is considering Bulger to back up Haney, Ballard and Guion are complimentary players not starters, I hope the Vikings draft a LT and a good corner in the first two rounds.Then possibly a safety and then receivers, which are deep in the upcoming draft class.

  13. By ponder the beast on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    @carl Everson would be a way better LB than Robison all robison can do is rush the passer Griffin Can play coverage robison cant

  14. By VegasVike on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    The only reason I’m thinking Chicago Parody is because if Cutlers status. Plus Orton probably knows their offense still. He was there when Lovey was there I think. Would be a quick connect for da bears.

  15. By VegasVike on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    ***OF Cutlers status

  16. By Parody on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    What happened to Cutler? Did he get injured, or did he get blinded by his tears?

  17. By VegasVike on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    He broke his thumb wiping frozen tears away

  18. By Justin F on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    He had Thumb Surgery

  19. By VikingFan on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    I’ve thought Ballard should start Instead of Ayodele from the begining of the season

  20. By sandiamond on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t see the vikes with much interest in Orton unless it was to block a pick-up in Chicago for playoff reasons. odd though the vikes were reported to be discussing the acquisition of Orton during traning camp this year

  21. By TITANIUM TITUS on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    I wonder why no blogging was allowed on the Denver game time changed blog. I can guess. But I don’t want to worry and slow down the blog.

  22. By Parody on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    LOL – Titus, I’m sure it’s because they (mostly Mike) are worried that selfish fans would bîtch too much about it.

    Really though…if it’s not worth allowing people to blog about, why post it in the blog section at all? There are other areas on the site for news…

  23. By TITANIUM TITUS on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    I wonder if any postings appeared– I can imagine the complaining, whining, and negative nature of any comments. Just think– the article stated the NFL has the discretion to move games into prime time– so the article was already inflammatory, considering the season. It might as well have stated that due to the Vikings performance, the NFL felt it unprofitable to keep their game at prime time.

  24. By Parody on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    That would have been too much honesty for a blog on this site. Don’t forget, Mike serves every cup of coffee with a pound of sugar.

  25. By VegasVike on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Quit slowing things down Titus, see my blog on the Turkey giveaway featuring

  26. By VegasVike on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    EJ Henderson

  27. By TITANIUM TITUS on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    I saw my name with a growl– what it meant, I don’t have a clue.

  28. By Parody on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe the turkeys made him think of you…brought out his inner beast and made him hungry…..GRRRR!

  29. By TITANIUM TITUS on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    That just sounds weird, Captain Blog.

  30. By VegasVike on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    It was in reference to the previous mis spelled blog… I thought you would get it.

  31. By TITANIUM TITUS on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    I thought that might be it. The season is over for us. We should take a poll in what team we should root for in the playoffs.

  32. By DesertViking on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe we should all start rooting for the pack. Then all of our bad luck will transfer over there. LOL

  33. By PAUL M. on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    I HAVE BEEN BLOCKED FROM CONTRIBUTING FOR 24 HRS!!

    WHAT’S UP MIKE W?

  34. By Parody on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Are you sure it wasn’t your choice of words Paul? This site has some questionable blocking policies. It helps to learn as many the blocked letter sequences as you can.

  35. By Deertracks on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Titis..I would say the 49ers..They just might be able to reem GreenBay a new bung-hole in the playoffs…

  36. By Deertracks on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Paul M….You have to say nice things about the “Vikings” or have your posts deleted like some of mine were….Mike has a VERY thin skin….

    BTW, It’s Titus, not Titis…

  37. By Parody on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Deertracks – That’s rarely the case. For most of the comments that are blocked, it’s because people use words such as pásses, bàlls and Chrïstian. Sophòmore and circûmstance have been common words that I have had to watch out for too. As you can see, there are plenty of words that are blocked because of the “naughty” words hidden inside of them. So you can choose to change your choice of words, or try to outsmart the system, (hints above!).

  38. By Kyle on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Ayodele is a joke whats with the hair make plays or get off the field. we should get robison out hes a nice back up but not a starter… and put everson griffen in hes a beast and looks for who ever has the ball. letroy isnt that good either he plays dt and he jumps offsides all the time LOOK AT THE BALL YOUR A FOOT AWAY FROM IT!!! we also need replacments for e.j and a new secondary.. our safetys are jokes maybe gunners on special teams thats it. cedric never was good, asher sucks, no offense to him and antoines career is over we might get cook back next year but he needs to earn how to keep out of trouble. i say we take either a DB, OL, OR WR IN THE FIRST THREE ROUNDS… we should trade mcnabb and someone else for like maybe a third round pick and get some big time players and maybe trade up. we could get marvin mcnutt from iowa for a steal 3rd round maybe 4th if we play our cards right. get some big time DB’S and OL and maybe we might win more than 5 games next year

  39. By truther on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    FRAIZIER CUTTING B MCKINNEY was three times worse than Chilly trading for R Moss and giving away a 4rth round draft pick. Are the Wilfs smart enough to see the same problem . Niether are head coach material. Niether understand that they are a Boss of a Business and as a Boss you call out Slackers and if they dont perform up to there Job because they cant understand it or they simply lack the talent to do so . As an employer you must fire them and find a replacement. Very simple.

  40. By truther on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Fraizier doesnt have to be Mean as a head coach to keep is team performing. He can continue to be a super nice guy to the players that do perform week in and week out, But he must be mean and demanding of those that are under performing and he must be willing to back it up by cutting those that dont step it up for the entire season. This would give the players that always perform hope for the near and long future of the teams success at winning multiple Super Bowls.

  41. By truther on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Trade Mcnabb and Toby Gerhart as a package deal for a 3rd and 5th round picks

  42. By truther on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    1rst round O Line 2nd round O Line 3rd round C B 4rth round C B 5th round W R 6th W R 7th round Safety.

  43. By truther on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Without a solid O Line , It doesnt matter how great our QB is if he is on his back the entire season. O Line is a must Priority in rounds 1 and 2 of the2012 Draft.

  44. By truther on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Start Cutting all of the Overpaid Slackers and Play all of our Backups and Rookies so that we no Just how Deep our needs Go.

  45. By TonySmith on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    The fastest way to improve our team in the win and loss column next year is to improve our strongest point. The offense is very close to being unstoppable. Hands down best RB in the NFL. Toughest and most explosive slot receiver in the NFL. Young franchise QB. Quality tight ends in Shiancoe and Rudolph. The offensive line isn’t as bad as people think. Watch the games people. The only hole on our line consistently over the past few years is RG. Every defense we face week in and week out exploit this huge gap in our offensive line. Anthony Herrera is a fighter I will give him that, but undersized and not very talented. In comparison to a hall of famer like Steve Hutchinson, no comparison. Fix the RG problem, but first off get that vertical receiver that will make defenses stay honest and keep them safeties out of the box. Adrian will have the biggest year of his career with a vertical threat and more plays designed to get him to the edges quicker. Those quick toss plays to the outside always produce 8-10 yds a play. Rarely do we run them though. Statistically speaking we run up the middle 85% of the time. We do have major holes in all areas of our defense once again and yes it is time to start rebuilding, but in order for our team to be a legitimate threat again soon though, we need to get a deep threat and soon. Whether it’s a trade or by the draft this needs to be done immediately. It wouldn’t hurt to pick up a legitimate safety at some point soon also. They are jokes, i’ve never seen worse safety play in all my years of watching the Purple Monsters of the Ice Way. By far the biggest weakness on our defense. Go VIkes, hopefully they will address these areas and we can once again start kicking some packer u know what. We’re way overdue for our Super Bowl parade in Minneapolis.

  46. By truther on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    It isnt only the Gaurd thats the problem on the O Line, Our tackles are getiing Beat badly in Pass protection. Until that is fixed Ponder wont have time to throw deep. So at this point it Makes no since to go after a WR with 4.20 speed if your QB is on his back as the WR Blows by the secondary. You watch the film, our O Line is decent at run blocking only, There are like swiss cheese in pass protection. Thats a Fact. Stats dont lie Vikes O Line have given up the 2nd most sacks in the leauge And they are first in the Leauge at allowing QB preassure on passing downs. Ive watched there games and i see what is ,not what i want to see.

  47. By sandiamond on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    truther we can’t wait until the 3rd round for a CB. The year of the Cook draft all known prospects were gone by time the vikes picked

  48. By CanadianVF on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    @ Tony Smith, I am with you on your points. I just do not think it is as simple as saying the O line is terrible. We have not replaced Sidney Rice, and so opposing defenses are able to follow their game plan to stop us each week, which is stop AP. We have two starting linemen in their second year of pro ball, we drafted some more talent this past draft. If we go out and get at least one good lineman this year we will be fine. The defensive secondary is another matter. Again it is too simple to say we have no talent back their, rather I think it is a lack of talent plus the system we play that is also the problem.

  49. By chris on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    what idiot would pick up mcnabb, and why isn’t booker our second running back. gerhart is too slow. too heavy for a running back and too slow to escape crucial plays. once in awhile he’ll brake a good run. ayodele sucks so he needs to be released, as well as mcnabb.

  50. By SaskatchewanVikesFan on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    ACTIVATE ARCENEAUX NOW!!!

  51. By Bettye on Nov 24, 2011 | Reply

    Play FRED EVANS, he makes a difference for Kevin, Jared and Brian. Ballard is learning, Fred should be starting at nose tackle. Don’t wait until we lose him to another team, he is young, fast and strong.

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