Vikings Offense Responds To Musgrave’s Motivation Measure

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 7, 2012 – 6:01 pm

If you know Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave, you know that he’s generally a polite, personable character who can strike up a friendly conversation with anyone. If you know Musgrave well, though, you know that he has plenty of vitality in him when it comes to football.

The Vikings offense is well aware of this now.

As the Star Tribune’s Dan Wiederer explains on Access Vikings, Musgrave went outside the box to motivate his group for Tuesday’s practice after a subpar outing on Monday.

“Yesterday we took a step back in a couple of periods,” Musgrave said during his press conference on Tuesday. “We’re looking to make those corrections and get better the next time we’re faced with those periods for sure.”

That’s the measured, polite Musgrave speaking. The impassioned Musgrave addressed his players in a different manner, according to QB Christian Ponder.

“He had a great metaphor of lighting a fire,” Ponder said. “He finds some unique ways of motivating us. But it works. I’m not going to go into details.”

As Wiederer writes, Ponder was pushed for more detail and was asked if props were involved in the motivation tactic.

“Yep,” he said laughing. “Let’s just say it involved a bucket of water, some leaves and some sticks. It was interesting.”

It may well have been interesting. But it was also effective. The Vikings offense rebounded nicely on Tuesday, looking sharp in many of the team periods and even capping off a few drives with game-winning scores. One was to WR Percy Harvin on a deep pass down the middle of the field and another was finished by a Blair Walsh 57-yard dagger that split the uprights and had plenty of extra distance.

“It was important for us to step out and have a good practice today,” Ponder told Wiederer. “We made a point of it [Monday night], to have more enthusiasm. And we did. It was a great way to bounce back.

“He’s (Musgrave) quiet, but when he gets on the football field he gets a fire. He’s not afraid to yell at people, and he expects a lot out of us. He does it in his own way.”

Musgrave’s way is clearly the right way for the Vikings offense. As head coach Leslie Frazier mentioned to reporters after practice, every offense will experience times of adversity. What matters most is how the offense responds. Under Musgrave’s direction, the Vikings offense responded well on Tuesday.

That’s the sign of a good motivator, and of an offense going in the right direction.

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Twitter-Sized Player Evaluations

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 7, 2012 – 6:26 am

One of the main challenges to covering a NFL team during training camp is covering all the bases. With a 90-man roster and plenty of intriguing storylines to follow, it’s hard to cover everything. But there is a saving grace in all of this. Twitter.

Brevity is required when using Twitter because a message on the social media platform must be 140 or fewer characters. Some may look at that as a limitation. But we’re turning it into opportunity. The Twitter-sized player evaluations feature we debuted last week gives us a chance to provide some insight on several players, rather than an overwhelming amount of insight on just a few players.

On Monday before practice, we asked (on my Twitter handle – @wobby) which players you’d like to know about via Twitter evaluations. They are listed below with a 140 (or fewer)-character evaluation…

FB Matt Asiata – Skilled pass catcher out of the backfield. Needs to show ability on special teams during preseason.

WR Stephen Burton – May have some position flexibility to him (can play X and Z receiver) & has had very good camp. Good after the catch. Big preseason for him.

CB Chris Carr – Playing with first-team nickel. Smart, instinctive player. Was in punt return rotation on Monday.

LB Audie Cole – Big, physical & smart. Unsure if he’s best at middle or outside LB. Needs to contribute on special teams. Has a chance to be good NFL LB.

TE Rhett Ellison – Impressing with his hands and fluidity in passing game. Known as hard worker. Will be a good pro for a long time.

RG Brandon Fusco – Still the one to beat for starting RG spot. Smart, tough player. Going against Kevin Williams every day is good for him.

RB Toby Gerhart – Looks and plays the part of a starting-caliber NFL RB. Grinder who will wear defenses out. Good in passing game (protection and receiving).

LB Everson Griffen – Up and down – will make great plays or mistakes. Great instincts and athleticism. Transitioning well, could still play DL in situations.

DL Trevor Guyton – Great start to camp, leveling off a bit now. Hard to move on the inside. Has athleticism to play multiple positions. Stout against run.

DE Brian Robison – Great day of practice on Monday. Excellent inside pass rush moves. Can play DT in nickel package. Great enthusiasm and passion.

C John Sullivan – Excellent leader. Rarely makes mistake. Developing into Top 5 at his position in NFL.

K Blair Walsh – Has impressed with leg strength AND accuracy. Answered the bell in simulated game situations at end of practice. Touchbacks-a-plenty.

WR Bryan Walters – In the mix at WR, needs productive preseason. In punt return rotation & fields kicks gracefully. Sudden route runner with good separation.

WR Jarius Wright – Explosive short-area quickness. Solid hands. In return rotations. Good attitude, practices hard. Solid camp so far.

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