Rookie Report – Week 1 vs. Jacksonville

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 12, 2012 – 9:15 am

The calendar has flipped from Week 1 to Week 2 in the NFL. But before we get too far into discussing the Vikings Week 2 match-up with the Indianapolis Colts, let’s take a quick look back at how several Vikings rookies performed in the season-opening win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

A few of the rookies played key roles in the victory, which is part of the reason we’ll have a rookie report this week. But I’m guessing a rookie report will be warranted most weeks given the important role several Vikings draft picks are going to have on this team, namely LT Matt Kalil, S Harrison Smith and K Blair Walsh.

Here’s the Week 1 Rookie Report…

Matt Kalil
Kalil logged 69 total snaps, with 59 coming on offense as the starting LT and 10 coming on special teams. He was solid in the run game and pass protection, but his most notable – or at least most visible – contribution was a blocked PAT in the 1st quarter. In a game that went to overtime, a blocked extra point is obviously huge.

Frazier’s take: “I thought he held his own in the run game, did a very good job in pass protection as well, just a lot of things that we can build on. There were a few errors that we want to correct. There are some things that he knows he has to get better at but that’s going to be a part of his maturing as an offensive tackle as well. But a lot of good things on tape by him.”

Harrison Smith
Smith led all Vikings in total plays with 91 (79 on defense, 12 on special teams), and he was one of the Vikings two starting safeties (Mistral Raymond). Perhaps his best play came in overtime, when he broke up a pass from Blaine Gabbert intended for WR Laurent Robinson on a 3rd and 2 from the Jacksonville 31. The game was over on the next play, also an incompletion. On special teams, Smith PBU in overtime or 4th.

Frazier’s take: “I thought he did a good job. He had maybe one missed tackle but his angles, he had a nice deflection there late in the game, moved around well, was in the right position, made some good plays. When I look at the tape, he brought a smile to my face a few different times because he was where he needed to be and that’s important when you’re a guy who plays in the secondary.”

Josh Robinson
Robinson logged 53 snaps, with 38 coming on defense primarily as the 3rd CB and 15 coming on special teams. He had a solo tackle on special teams and registered 4 more tackles on defense. Starter Chris Cook left the game for a brief period, bumping Robinson up to one of the top 2 CB spots. A.J. Jefferson, whom the Vikings acquired via trade a couple weeks ago, did not play. It will be interesting to see Jefferson’s progress with the team and also the impact his playing time has on Robinson’s. Robinson has shown plenty of signs that he can be an NFL CB, so I expect the Vikings to continue to put him on the field in order to develop his skills.

Rhett Ellison
Ellison played primarily on special teams, with 22 of his 25 total snaps coming with that group. He logged 1 solo tackle.

Blair Walsh
Walsh logged 12 plays and was spectacular from start to finish. He was 4 of 4 on FG tries, including a game-tying 55-yard FG as time expired and the game-winner in overtime from 38 yards. Walsh was good on kickoffs as well, tallying 3 touchbacks and helping hold the Jaguars average starting field position at the 19.5-yardline. Walsh was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance and he’s been named a finalist for Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week honors as well.

Frazier’s take: “Blair, there is no need to say it but it was outstanding to come away and kick the way he did at the end of regulation and then to hit the game-winning field goal in overtime. As a rookie, it doesn’t get much more pressure than that and to come through for us, it really improved the confidence of our players along with his confidence as time goes on.”

Robert Blanton
Blanton logged 7 total snaps, all of which came on special teams. I expect him to continue in that role for the short-term, but his long-term role will likely be much more significant. He’s still catching up from missing a big chunk of training camp and the preseason with an injury.

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16 Responses to “Rookie Report – Week 1 vs. Jacksonville”

  1. By H.M.G. on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Love the rookies. Great start for the future of the team.

  2. By J.W.M on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Congratulations on a great game. Keep it in perspective.

  3. By DRS. on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    How about them Packers, what a team, LOL, SKOL Vikings, let’s keep the momentum going. 5-3 to start the season will be a nice start.

    Well it is time to go off line, have things to do, have fun.

  4. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Keep gaining confidence rookies !!…

    Vikings will not be given any credit for improvement even if they beat the Colts this Sunday…The media has already thrown the Vikings first game out the window…Because the victory was (only) against the Jag’s…

    Expect a similar revue again (if) the Vikes can gain another win against the Colts…

    But if the Vikings can go 2-0…And have a close battle (win or lose) against the 49ers at home ???…

    Especially after the 49ers manhandled the Packers…

    The Vikings could gain HUGE credibility as a division contender across the league !!!…

    Hoping Allen and friends can get after Luck this Sunday…

    GO VIKINGS !!!

  5. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    And for all you Packer trolls out there upset about my prediction that the 49ers would win…

    You are not going to like my prediction for tomorrow night either…

    Bears 31…Packers 24…

  6. By Gabriel on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Great start for the rookies this season and i beleive that people arent paying enough attention to Kalil, he was as crucial as walsh to win this game. Not only did he had great blocking the whole game and in particular a huge block in the second level that allowed AP to break that run in OT. And even more importantly if it wasnt for that blocked field goal we wouldnt had won the game, we would had needed a td to win the game which would had been a true miracle

  7. By vikingd12 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    One game does not a season make.But Kalil is the real deal he has that swagger.A starting OLT blocking an extra point? …wow . The other rookie that caught my eye was Robinson this kid has blazing speed and does everthing fast. Speed kills in the NFL This guy is a keeper,..skol Go VIKES

  8. By NCVikings on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Does anyone have any idea why AJ Jefferson didn’t see any playing time?

  9. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply


    AJ Jefferson is learning the Vikings defense…

    But agree with V12..Robinson is doing a great job also !!…

    This is an awesome rookie class of players the Vikings drafted this spring !!!…

  10. By PurplHaze on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    I think we need to concentrate on week 2 at Indy! SKOL VIKINGS!!!


  11. By PurplHaze on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    The fact that you can post a write-up like this, and have this much material to report on, is a compliment to the quality of this year’s draft class.

    Rick … Hats off to you, Sir! You picked up a couple of serious gems! Keep up the AWESOME work!

  12. By PurplHaze on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    And early kudos to the coaching staff … Keep providing these men quality training, and you’ll continue to see BIG rewards!

  13. By odark30 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    I hope GB wins and the vikes beat the Colts. MN in first place in the NFC North???? Sounds good to me.

  14. By Vikings1 on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    @ OTKalil2012

    Le’t hope that the Vikings have a lot of “Bad Luck” in Indy this Sunday due to our defense.

  15. By 3DONTHERADIO on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t think the Colts will be “Luck-y” enough to stop Allen, Robison & company this weekend. 2-0 against bad to average teams is still way better then 0-2 against any kind of teams. Go Vikes!

  16. By A True Vikings Fan on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    I think Harrison Smith is a Beast man i really am expecting a big year for him

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