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From The Ground Up: Vikings Offense Paced By Ground Attack

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 14, 2012 – 6:42 am

It’s no secret. The NFL is a passing league. In 2011, only 3 teams (Denver, Houston, San Francisco) ran the ball more frequently than they passed it, and nearly 33% of NFL teams threw the ball in excess of 60% of the time. Also in 2011, 3 NFL QBs (Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford) threw for 5,000+ yards and 3 had (Brees, Stafford, Aaron Rodgers) 40+ TD passes.

While it’s no question the preferred method of moving the ball in the NFL is through the air, there are still teams and coaches who place a tremendous value on running the ball. The Vikings and Head Coach Leslie Frazier fall into that category. And it’s for good reason. Since 2007 when the Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson and hired Frazier as defensive coordinator, the Vikings have been the NFL’s best rushing team. They rank first over that span in total rushing yards (11,272), per-carry average (4.7), rushing TDs (92) and runs of 10+ yards (333).

“It’s big for our team,” Frazier said of the running game. “In a League where passing the football has become first for so many teams, we’ve taken a little bit different approach and featuring a guy who we think is the best running back in pro football in Adrian Peterson and because of that, it takes a lot of pressure off our young quarterback as well as our passing game.”

The Vikings understand the importance of being able to move the ball through the air, too. That’s why they signed free agents such as TE John Carlson and Jerome Simpson, and that’s why they used draft picks on the likes of LT Matt Kalil and a pair of WRs in the 4th round (Jarius Wright, Greg Childs). The development of young QB Christian Ponder was priority A for the Vikings this past offseason, and everyone at Winter Park knows Ponder’s progress will be key to future success. Frazier’s contention, though, is that the presence of a productive running game will ease the pressure on Ponder because opponents are forced to figure out a way to contain Peterson and Gerhart before they think about defending the Vikings passing attack.

“Having a guy like the guy that we do have makes us very unique from an offensive standpoint,” Frazier explained, “but it helps us to achieve our goals as a football team, having a good running game and establishing the run for us to run our offense and really win the way we want to win.”

As he’s explained, Frazier wants the Vikings running game to set the tone and allow Ponder and Co. to operate with more freedom. Additionally, being able to run the ball well can shorten a game for a team when it has the lead. But Frazier also explained that his desire to run the ball well is not about being a conservative team that looks to shorten the game and win close contests. Frazier sees the Vikings running game as one with explosion and scoring capability.

“For us, that’s exactly the approach we take but we also believe that we can also get explosive plays through the running game because of who we have at the halfback position,” Frazier said. “It’s not just ground and pound. We have a guy who can break the 20-yard run, the 60-yard run. Most people have to get that throwing the football down the field, and we want to be able to do the same. That’s one of the reasons we made the offseason acquisition of Jerome (Simpson) and try to feature Percy the way we do. But being able to have a balanced attack and still feature our run game is who we are.”

Side Note
Peterson and Gerhart get most of the credit for the Vikings productive running attack. On Sunday in the season opener, though, another member of the backfield was key to the Vikings ground game – FB Jerome Felton. Both Frazier and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave mentioned how well Felton played in his first regular season game as a Viking.

Said Frazier: “He played extremely well and that was a lot of snaps for him. There wasn’t one time a season ago we had that many snaps with our fullback on the field and a lot of it had to do with the way he played and what’s happening when he is on the field. It was really encouraging for all of us to see him dominate the way he did. There may be more opportunities for him as we go forward.”

Said Musgrave: “Jerome Felton played really well. He was a presence out there. He was also a presence on the sideline in terms of being the leader. He suggested a couple of amendments to our game plan during the game and we took them to heart and they really paved the way for good runs there in the second half.”


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 46 Comments »


46 Responses to “From The Ground Up: Vikings Offense Paced By Ground Attack”

  1. By DRS. on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    First

  2. By DRS. on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    It is starting to look like this division is wide open. The Bears and the Packers are week teams with plenty of holes in their defenses and offences. The only team, as I see it, to fear is the Lions. Last night it looked like neither team wanted to win, the only deciding factors were the Bear’s QB, and lack a good O-Line though the Packers were not that much better, at this time it is looking good for the Vikings. Go Vikings!

    Have to go off-line for now. God Bless you all.

  3. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    What does this article say that we don’t know? Vikings focus on the running game as foundational– okay, let’s move on.

  4. By Ricky on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Dear Coach Frazier,
    I want the Vikings to win twice. Beat them! I want the Vikings to win and so does my dad. Shape up. All my folks like the Vikings and so do I. Kick their butts! Mom likes the Vikings; I’m going to tell Jeff to get Vikings tickets. Good luck on Sunday.

  5. By H.M.G. on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Hmmmm…
    A article about running for a running team. Who would have thunk it?

  6. By RichardA1 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Wow, enough time to throw in my, the Vikes have been drinking the purple cans of whoop ass! the Berzerk Gang will put on a performance to remember!

  7. By Frederick Jones on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    As for constitutional rights, Americans have always had the right to live with who, or whatever they want, be it dogs, cats, chimpanzees, etc.

    If certain amendments are not passed who’s to say marrying ten women is wrong?

    It is not a constitutional right to sin. Read your Bible!!!

  8. By Frederick Jones on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Jones warned that A.D. was not ready for the game against Jacksonville. A.D. now has “residual soreness” in his knee.

    The problem is that this could go on ALL SEASON, and he is primed for re-injury.

    He may need to SIT MORE versus Indianapolis, or maybe not play at all.

    Just the facts of life my fine feathered friends!

  9. By Frederick Jones on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Johnny Unitas in 1955. They never played him.
    The Steelers were 4-8 that year. Is it possible or even probable that Unitas, if he had not been picked up by the Baltimore Colts, would have never played in the NFL?

    Would Bart Starr, an average Quarterback, have ever been a HOF QB if Vince Lombardi hadn’t taken over the Packers in 1959?

    How many QBs sat on the bench, or never played in the NFL, and yet were as good as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and etc. I say quite a few.

    It is a myth that the QB makes his team great. It is more likely that the team he plays for, makes the QB great!!!
    IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT THE QUARTERBACK, THAT IS MEDIA SENSATIONALISM!!!

  10. By PurplHaze on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    The only thing that needs to be said, is that we have what it takes to win the game at Indy on Sunday. Go get a win, VIKINGS! SKOL!!!

  11. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Of course the running game is the Vikings foundation for their offense…

    But the play calling stinks, setting up that very important running game !!…

    The Vikings offense is “extremely predictable”…nuff said…

    The running game in this era of football feeds off the fear of the p a s s ing game…

    If there is no fear or threat of the pa ss…The defense brings up 10 in the box…And the running play fails…

    Quite frankly the Vikings never enter RISK into their game plan…

    In a tight game like with the Packers-Bears last night…If the Vikings were the team ahead 3-0…And were set up to make another field goal try…

    Would any Vikings fan ever in a million years believe Frazier would have tried that CREATIVE shuffle pa ss for a TD…And throw momentum the Packers way the rest of that game with that big call from the coaching staff ???…

  12. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Freeney out…Collie doubtful…

    http://min.scout.com/2/1221527.html

  13. By sandiamond on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Looking up OT! wobs says wright and jefferson could see action this sunday as well

  14. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Prediction…

    An open play book on offense and defense might do wonders for a big win for the Vikings this Sunday…

    But will the game plan again be a conservative running game ???…

    Still do not trust the Vikings coaching staff…To show trust in their young QB…And do not understand why ??…

    I predict a Viking win…But look for the coaching staff to keep this game more interesting than it should be…

    Vikings 27…Colts 20…

  15. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    sandiamond…

    Sure would love to see a few deep throws this Sunday !!!…

    Vikings need to get the timing down for the p a s s ing game…

    If we do win against the Colts…

    The Vikes need to be firing on all cylinders on offense and defense…

    Because after the Colts comes the 49ers at home…

  16. By sandiamond on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    no better time to open up the offense and get some more players involved…. carlson, wright, etc doubtful that can happen vs SF

  17. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    The only way the Vikings running game works against the 49ers when we play them…

    Is for the Vikings to show how well they can throw the football this week against the Colts…

    The only way a team can confuse a very good offense like the 49ers…

    Is to have an offense that is attacking from all over the field…Not just a solid running game…

    If the Vikings don’t try to establish the pa ss to set up the run against the 49ers…

    The 49ers will kick our @ss !!

    But that is 2 weeks away…Lets give those Colts an early season loss…

    Before that Luck guy turns into one of the leagues stallions at QB in the future…. ; )

  18. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    *a very good defense…

  19. By dieseldog on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Will people please quite using the I’m “first” email. It’s childish.

  20. By PurplHaze on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Wright coming back would be EXCELLENT news!

    I’m still confused as to why we signed Jefferson. :-/

  21. By sandiamond on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    all these blogs flyin around and nothing new on players/practice/inj this week? wobs

  22. By vikingd12 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Andrew unLucky poor son got nothing to do but being chased around Lucas Oil stadium by Jared Allen all day …Skol….Go Vikes

  23. By odark30 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. By odark30 on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Hey what the………………..

  25. By Justin Bieber Roolz Yo... on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    How many years have Farve been on this team? When did Aron Rogers take over on teh Vikings O? My sister wants Aron Roger to sign her shirt. Can I just send her shirt? Where is the address? I hope we can beat the oilers.

  26. By sandiamond on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Oh my! the 1st mock top ten 2013 draft is out… defensive houndDOGS!

  27. By sandiamond on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    1st round:

    http://www.draftcountdown.com/sub/Mock-Draft-A.php

  28. By Frederick Jones on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    *The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Johnny Unitas in 1955. They never played him.
    The Steelers were 4-8 that year. Is it possible or even probable that Unitas, if he had not been picked up by the Baltimore Colts, would have never played in the NFL?

    Would Bart Starr, an average Quarterback, have ever been a HOF QB if Vince Lombardi hadn’t taken over the Packers in 1959?

    How many QBs sat on the bench, or never played in the NFL, and yet were as good as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and etc. I say quite a few.

    It is a myth that the QB makes his team great. It is more likely that the team he plays for, makes the QB great!!!
    IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT THE QUARTERBACK, THAT IS MEDIA SENSATIONALISM!!!

  29. By Kyle Johnson on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    I do agree with Frazier that the running game is important to our success. Once the offense got their feet under them at the end of the first half, it did have a decent flow to it. And they were able to get a scores at the end of regulation and overtime when needed. If everyone stays healthy I can see the offense and passing game getting better.

  30. By robb on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Vikings need to run more screen plays,gadget plays.

  31. By Jeffbleedspurple on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Could saying being the highest ranked running team since 2007 actually be a good thing? Sure it is a good thing, but only if it came with a balanced attack in the air and ground. In our teams case it only points out our weakness. The run game has not been an issue. A successfull pass game is important to the run attack.
    Our team is like the Barry Sanders era Lions, great running back/running game, but without a good passing game, we will go no where.

  32. By astolpho on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    The packers got troubles on defense and a suspect running game, chicago has all of the peices but the D is getting old and Cutler is inconsistent, now with Forte out for several weeks we’ll get to see what his back ups can do. Detroit seems to have inherited our disfunctional defensive backfield from last year, Stafford had an off game last week but I’m not ready to call that a trend yet, they have the best receiver package in the division certainly if not in the league. Our team is so young and still evolving I’m not sure what their weaknesses are yet, the defensive line is a faily well known quantity but the rest is really up in the air, a lot of new faces in familiar places. Week 3 against San Francisco will be a good check spot for where we truly are at this point in the season but even that will be without Jerome still. Week 4 against Detroit will be an interesting check of where we are in the division week 8 Bucaneers will be another good spot check should be a tough game, we see Detroit again before the week 11 bye and wins in the stretch after the break could mean a trip to the playoffs, tough 3 weeks Bears, Packers, Bears, right after the bye will likely decide our position in the division the Rams will feel like a break, then back in the fire for the Texans and Packers to finish. But hey if we can beat Indy and the 9′rs can beat Detroit this week then we’ll be all alone at the top of the division 2-0 and it’ll be our’s to keep or loose.

  33. By peever on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    with Childs out for the season…..Simpson out for three games…..WHY are the vikings not taking a serious look at plaxico burress…….and when simpson comes back can you imagine plax on one side,simpson on the other and harvin up the middle…….it would be 1998 “three deep” all over again…no defense could cover them….come on vikes…suck it up and bring in plax..the running game can only take you so far

  34. By JE on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Plax is old and washed up. Theres a reason why all 32 teams are passing on signing him.If a team has multiple injuries he might get a look but i doubt it. The young receivers is the way to go.

  35. By astolpho on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    If they were looking to bring in a big name free agent Chad Johnson might be a consideration

  36. By odark30 on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Week 2 is a win. With enough momentum off a week 2 win and being in first in the NFC North and playing at home……………..a win against SF is not an impossibility. Jerome joins the starters week 4. So we would be signing a washed-up player for one game week 3? Personally, I dont think we need any additions to this roster to beat SF….. Detroit is a win for us week 4 away or not. I predict the Vikes still undefeated after week 4…………4-0.

  37. By RichardA1 on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Game plan, execute, win the turn over battle!

  38. By tomcat on Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    in reference to odark30- i hope you are right, but sounds like wishful thinking. i would be ecstatic with 3-1!! 2-2 may be more realistic.

  39. By animal26 on Sep 16, 2012 | Reply

    Does anyone know how Greg Childs is doing in his rehab?

  40. By Old School on Sep 16, 2012 | Reply

    That’s what happens when you have 0 secondary!

    2013 Draft:

    1st pick- Secondary
    2nd pick- Secondary
    3rd pick- Secondary

  41. By Old School on Sep 16, 2012 | Reply

    4th pick- Secondary
    5th pick- Secondary

  42. By peever on Sep 16, 2012 | Reply

    plax has a lot of football left…wait until next week when moss runs all over the vikes secondary…….you need an experienced deep threat….and not just for one game…….plax would be better than any wideout on the roster except maybe harvin…and harvin is not a big tall deep threat………running with ap…….a few first downs with rudolf and harvin…….thats all they got…….think I’ll go get some gophers tickets

  43. By peever on Sep 16, 2012 | Reply

    ya old school we could have had claiborne instead of fat fatty fat matt …dime a dozen o-lineman

  44. By vkings#1 on Sep 16, 2012 | Reply

    MUSGRAVE U SUCK WE FAKED THE REVERSE 10 TIMES BUT DID WE EVER TRY IT NO CAUSE UR A F$$KING IDOT. PLAY JOE WEBB A FEW SERIES SEE WHAT SPARK HE CAN BRING US. FIRE MUSGRAVE BENCH PONDER TELL 4TH HE DONT DO ANYTHING TELL THEN ANYWAYS AND CAN WE CALL EJ HENDERSON AND GET HIM OFF HIS COUCH.

  45. By tomcat on Sep 17, 2012 | Reply

    relax you guys!! rome was not built in a day, either! it takes some time for a young team to jell. we probably do need a few more players- cb, wr, lb, maybe dt. its gonna happen. we are on right track! lets see what we can do against the best in the nfl sunday at home!

  46. By viking181164 on Sep 17, 2012 | Reply

    vikes need wide receivers big time…either that or they have to use tight ends more..and better play calling would help

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