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Vikings Make Several Changes To Roster

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 29, 2011 – 5:33 pm

There were no press conferences and players have the day off, but Tuesday was still a busy day at Winter Park as the Vikings made several changes to the active roster and the practice squad. After a rash of injuries, a few of which came in last Sunday’s game against the Falcons, the Vikings have placed 4 players on the Reserve/Injured (IR) list and signed 5 others to the active roster/practice squad.

S Husain Abdullah, WR Michael Jenkins, S Tyrell Johnson and long snapper Cullen Loeffler were all placed on IR. Jenkins, Johnson and Loeffler were all injured last Sunday, while Abdullah has missed the last two games after suffering a concussion against the the Packers in Week 10.

To fill those four roster spots, the Vikings signed WR Stephen Burton, long snapper Matt Katula, S Jarrad Page and S Andrew Sendejo. The team also signed TE Mickey Shuler to the practice squad. There was one opening on the practice squad after the Vikings promoted Allen Reisner to the active roster last Saturday and waived Burton to make room for the move.

Vikings fans will recognize the names of Burton and Shuler because both have been with the team recently. Burton was a 7th-round pick in last April’s draft and has been with the Vikings the entire season. Shuler was also a 7th-round pick of the Vikings (2010) but was claimed by the Miami Dolphins when the Vikings tried to clear him through waivers to add to the practice squad.

Page might also be a recognizable name because he’s a 6-year veteran out of UCLA who has spent time with Kansas City, New England and Philadelphia. He was a 7th-round pick of the Chiefs in 2006, was acquired via trade by the Patriots in 2010, signed with the Eagles in August of 2011 and then was released by the Eagles earlier this month.

Katula is a 6-year veteran out of Wisconsin who has spent time with the Baltimore Ravens (2005-09) and the Patriots (2010). New England signed Katula in November of 2010 and then waived him in August of this year.

Sendejo went undrafted out of Rice in 2010 and has spent time with the Dallas Cowboys and NY Jets. In November of 2010 Sendejo was signed to the Cowboys practice squad and then was promoted to the active roster just days later. In September of this year, Sendejo was claimed by the Jets off waivers, was later waived and re-signed, and was finally waived again on September 27.


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Pro Bowl Voting Open; Greenway Has Earned Consideration

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 29, 2011 – 4:44 pm

We’ve been promoting DE Jared Allen and RB Adrian Peterson as worthy of the fans’ Pro Bowl vote in recent weeks. Those two stars remain deserving of the vote, but another Vikings player is beginning to emerge as a legitimate Pro Bowl candidate – LB Chad Greenway.

Greenway will be the first to acknowledge that he expects a better performance from himself. He opened the season with an impressive 13-tackle outing in San Diego, but then slumped a bit over the next 3 games by tallying single-digit tackles in each of those games. Beginning with a 10-tackle performance against Arizona in Week 5, however, Greenway has been on a tear. He’s had just one single-digit tackle game since October 9, and over the past two games he’s collected 22 and 17 tackles against the Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons, respectively.

Greenway’s 22-tackle effort against the Raiders two weeks ago is behind only Scott Studwell’s 24-tackle gem in 1985 in Vikings history. Greenway followed that up by tallying 17 more stops against Michael Turner and the Falcons in a game where he was clearly the team’s top defensive player. For the season, Greenway has 124 tackles and is on pace for a career-high 181 stops for the season. He leads the team in tackles and if he continues this pace it’ll be the 4th consecutive season that Greenway has led the Vikings in tackles.

As for making the Pro Bowl, Greenway has some work to do. He ranks 3rd in the NFL and 2nd in the NFC in tackles, according to Stats, Inc., and his adjusted total of 124 would rank him 1st. But making the Pro Bowl as a LB requires more than collecting a bunch tackles. Making impact plays, such as forced and recovered fumbles, INTs and sacks is as important as making tackles. Greenway has 1.0 sack on the season and no INTs, that’s the bad news. The good news is that the lone NFC LB with more tackles than Greenway – Washington’s London Fletcher – has just 1.5 sacks and 2 INTs. Those are numbers Greenway could overcome if his current trend of outstanding play continues. Atlanta’s Curtis Lofton, who has 100 tackles, has no sacks and just 1 INT, while San Francisco’s NaVorro Bowman has 97 tackles but no INTs or sacks.

The bottom line is Greenway still has work to do in order to secure a Pro Bowl bid and there are a lot of good LBs in the NFC who appear deserving of a Pro Bowl nod. But there are still 5 games to play on the schedule, which gives Greenway and all of the other top-performing LBs ample amount of time to increase their performance and impress those with the power of the vote.

Speaking of those with the power of the vote, Pro Bowl balloting for fans is going on right now, both online and on web-enabled mobile phones. Balloting will continue through Monday, December 19, so vote now and often for your favorite Vikings. Go to NFL.com/probowl to vote.


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Harvin Climbing The Single-Season WR Rushing Chart

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 29, 2011 – 10:35 am

Percy Harvin continues to be the Vikings most dynamic weapon on a week-to-week basis. His ability to produce as a pass-catcher and a kick returner is well-chronicled, but we should also not forget that Harvin can contribute as a runner as well.

On Sunday against the Falcons, Harvin continued to climb the WR rushing charts. For the season, Harvin has 33 attempts for 235 yards, which places him in 4th place all-time among WRs for rushing yards in a single season. Harvin is just 64 yards behind Brad Smith for 3rd place all-time and he’s 146 yards away from matching Joshua Cribbs’ 2009 effort for 2nd place all-time. San Diego’s Lionel James holds the NFL single-season record for rushing yards by a WR with 516 in 1985.

Harvin’s touches and production have increased each week since the Vikings hosted the Green Bay Packers on October 23 (Christian Ponder’s first career start). Last Sunday against the Falcons was no exception. Harvin had 210 yards and 2 TDs on 14 touches, which raises his season totals to 1,187 combined yards on 95 touches (averages out to 12.5 yards per touch).

Taking kickoffs out of the equation, here are Harvin’s touches-yards-TD totals over the past 5 games: 4-23-0; 8-77-1; 9-70-0; 11-94-1; 13-106-1.

Being productive in a variety of ways is the strongpoint of Harvin’s skill set. In 2009 as a rookie, Harvin established the Vikings record for the most combined yards with 2,081 (1,156 kickoff returns, 790 receiving, 135 rushing). Then in 2010, Harvin finished 2nd in the NFC and 5th in the NFL with 1,908 combined net yards.

Whether on ground or in the air, Harvin is a dynamic playmaker and it’s a treat to watch him every Sunday.


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