Vikings Looking To Turn Early-Game Production Into TDs Rather Than FGs

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 18, 2012 – 5:53 am

The perception of the Vikings offense through the first two games of the season is that the group is slow-to-go early in the game before they find rhythm in the middle of the game to start producing late in the game. And if you look at the Vikings points scored by quarter (3-10-7-23), the numbers support that perception.

But while the scoreboard does not reflect it, the Vikings offense this past Sunday in Indianapolis took a step forward in early-game production and was actually just as efficient early in the game as late in the game. In their first two drives of the game, the Vikings ran 21 plays and gained 105 yards, an average of 5.0 yards per play. In their last two scoring drives, the Vikings ran 19 plays and gained 96 yards, an average of 5.0 yards per play.

The problem? Both of the early drives ended in FGs rather than TDs.

And that’s a significant problem. It’s a problem Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier was asked about on Monday during his customary day-after-the-game press conference.

“It’s something we’re going to talk about,” Frazier said. “You like the fact that we’re finding our groove as the game goes on, but we’d like to get started earlier. We talked about that during the week. On the road, you really don’t want to get the home crowd involved, especially when it’s their home-opener and we’re moving the ball on offense in the first half but we weren’t finishing with touchdowns. Those field goals, if they were touchdowns, maybe the game is a little bit different early on, but it is something we have to go back and keep looking at this week.”

The hurry-up offense is one facet working well for the Vikings. Is that something the team will look at employing with more regularity?

“We’ll look at it,” Frazier said. “We do have some no-huddle in our offense, but we’ll take a look at what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and what’s going to give us the best chance to succeed this next weekend. We’re going to explore all avenues. We want to get off to a faster start for sure.”

The Vikings will prepare this week to face the San Francisco 49ers, a team that is 2-0 after impressive wins at Green Bay in Week 1 and at home against Detroit in Week 2. The Vikings have not played their best football through the first two weeks, but because of the caliber of opponent they were able to hang around and have a chance to win each game, taking advantage of that chance in a Week 1 overtime victory and falling short in a tight Week 2 loss at Indianapolis. If the Vikings are to hang around and have a chance to win against the 49ers, the offense will have to score TDs rather than FGs early and often.

“We’re going to be playing at home,” Frazier said. “We want to get off to a fast start on offense and defense along with special teams and have our fans in the game early.”

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 30 Comments »

30 Responses to “Vikings Looking To Turn Early-Game Production Into TDs Rather Than FGs”

  1. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    First !!!…

  2. By Parkway on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    We need to do either a no huddle or limited huddle. Play with a sense of urgency and be aggressive. This team wastes a lot of time and it shows up in our lack of production/scoring early on.
    I know we don’t have our 2nd deep threat in Simpson back yet, but what were the stats for throwing the ball down field last game over 15 yards? I only remember maybe two? No defense is going to give you any respect in the p a s s game if you do that and it’s no wonder AP can’t get anywhere.

  3. By Parkway on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Wobby how does Gurley look on the PS so far? Is he ready to come be our big physical WR yet?

  4. By sandiamond on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Out of Ponder’s 37 throws (including those wiped by penalty), only five (13.5%) were targeted at least 14 yards downfield. 3 caught for +10 yds

  5. By sandiamond on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

  6. By sandiamond on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Vikings are clean off-field going into the start of this season. great news!

  7. By kevinwi on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder played safe and did some good things, but there were glaring issues if you watched.
    He bailed out of the pocket several times on perceived pressure, but in reality were well blocked, tucked the ball and ran without looking for his check down guy. He had difficulty pulling the trigger on intermediate routes for some reason unwilling to take even a slight risk and he’d tuck and run. He also doesn’t seem to want to just throw away a ball, which cost him two sacks.

    Luck on the other hand kept his eyes downfield most times…even with pressure bearing, never gave much of a look to the defender and got the ball away for a completion. That’s how he beat us. Luck is the real deal.
    Ponder can get there, but he’s not as comfortable in the pocket yet.

  8. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Our WR’s are not getting any seperation !!!…

    That is not Ponders fault…

    If you watch a Giants game…Eli has 3 WR’s running free all over the field…All the time…

    Ponder does not have that luxury…Aromashudo and Jenkins are always covered…

    Have any of the rest of you fans been seeing any footage I have been missing ???…

    I have yet to see Jenkins or Aromashudo beat any coverage yet…Unless it is when coverage loosens up late in games…Trying to protect against the long ball…

    Has either Jenkins or Aromashudo caught a pass in the first 3 quarters of the first 2 games ???…I can’t remember one…

  9. By kevinwi on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    I’ll also add this…Ponder did have good numbers, but 56% were manufactured by Percy. Throws for zero yards which Percy turned into chunks. Ponder only threw for 100 yards in the air, the other 145 came yards after catch. (other receivers too)

  10. By sandiamond on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    11 of 25 completions behind the line of scrimmage. This stat seems disturbing but remember that Percy is highly effective this way

  11. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    That is how the “west coast offense” works…By getting yards after the catch with a short pa ssing game…

    And yes…Percy is getting most of that yardage…He is the only one beside Rudolf getting open…

  12. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    I can’t believe, it seems fans want Ponder to start forcing the ball where he should’nt..

    And start making mistakes and throwing interceptions ???…

    If the WR is covered..(and they always are)…You throw the ball underneath to an outlit receiver…Ponder has been text book so far this season…

    Does the coaching staff need to ask Ponder to throw one deep…If not for any other reason to just loosen up coverage…Maybe ???..

    But lets not start blaming Ponder…

  13. By Parkway on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    You guys are giving our WR too many excuses. Look at what the Patriots have done without a number one receiver for the past few years. Wes Welker = Harvin. Gronk=Rudoph, Hernandez= Carlson? (Yet to be seen) Plus we have Jenkins as a decent 3rd option, oh and we have this guy named AP. Ponder is obviously not Tom Brady and our O line is mediocre at best, but there’s no excuse for the talent we have to not be able to create a decent/good pas s ing game. It’s all about our lack of good play calling and this pathetic “west coast” offense.

  14. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    When Ponder was allowed to throw the ball in the second half’s of each game…Ponder has averaged about 180 pa ssing yds…

    And that is against defenses that were expecting the pa ss after the Vikings fell behind early in both games trying to establish the run…

    If you double those second half stats and make it a complete game…

    Ponders stats on average would be well over 300 yards…and 2 TD’s a game…

    Is the problem Ponder…Or the “run first” consevative play calling early in games ???…

  15. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply


    You are right though…Why don’t the Vikings take some shots ???…

    If it is 3rd and 5 on the 50 yard line this Sunday ??…

    I play a “Packer style punt”…I throw the ball into the end zone or a pa ss that lands inside the 5 yard line…If it gets picked off…Who cares…That defender should be tackled anyway before he gets much of a return…If the pa ss is a touch pa ss with arc…

    But that jump pa ss may be caught or draw a flag…And you have a monster play !!!…

    These are “calculated risks” the Vikings never do ???…

    Why ???…Coaching…

  16. By tomcat on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    i know if you have a big gun you have to shoot it, but in red zone we have to mix it up. everyone (including the defense) knows ap is gonna get the ball.

  17. By Parkway on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Yeah don’t you think if us lowly fans think our play calling is predictable that NFL coaches who are PAID to study video tape probably know exactly what we are doing?

  18. By vikingology1 on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Parkway and OTKalil- I could’nt agree with you more. No matter who we play, it seems our offensive game plan is exactly the same-Run, run, pass, then all of the sudden we find ourselves two TD behind and have to play catch up.

  19. By Troutdaddy on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    For crying out loud. Ponder will take long shots when he has an open man. He doesn’t throw the long ball if it doesn’t make sense. That is why he hasn’t had an interception this year. He is playing smart. Trust me, he would LOVE to hit a wide open WR down-field but go back and watch our first two games. He is not getting a shot to because the WR’s are not open. Ponder is doing a great job with what he has to work with. For those of you saying MBT is the answer and to bench Ponder- that is just idiotic. I may not be a stats guuy or a footbal analyst but I know that a team needs time to gel and find its way with so many new people. Go and read the Daily Norseman dated sept 17 called “One to grow on”. C’mon people- time to puple up and and do it in a realistic way. We may not get to the big dance this year, but it is going to come together piece by piece. The 49ers may kick our butts this week but that doesn;t mean I am going to belittle my team and harp on them publicly just because I am upset that they underperform duing a HUGE REBUILDING YEAR… Although- I am going to harp on players/coaches when they do not show passion, integrity and pride in their team and for the fans. Just my take on stuff. I bleed purple….. Nuf said…..

  20. By DrinkHeavy on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    Troutdaddy is right on..gotta manage expectations guys..the fact is that this team will be hard-pressed to win 5 games this year, especially when you look at the division and conference we play in. That said, keep enough cold ones next to the couch during the games and never give up hope..we’ve been bleeding purple for a long time and it’s too late to stop now! GO VIKES!

  21. By peever on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    one more week to suffer…then the juice is back on the field…..why not pick up plaxico burress in the mean time as a compliment and have a true “three deep”

  22. By sandiamond on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    live 2013 draft talk for those interested:

  23. By Rick on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    I agree that the play calling on offense has been poor at best but as far as blaming the head coach remember he has said he isn’t involved much in the offensive game planning and play calling. A good head coach is one that can be a leader and one that the players want to play for and respect. Frazier has those qualities and just because he is not on the sideline screaming and acting like a 2 year old that just had his candy taken away doesn’t mean he is a bad coach. Tony Dungy never acted like that and was a great head coach I believe in Frazier but i’m not to impressed with Musgrave to this point. As far as Ponder goes I believe that if Spielman continues to add talent and pieces around him he could be a great QB for years to come. This team was the oldest team in the NFL 2 years ago when Childress got fired and now they are the youngest team. They are going the right direction and due to a lack of experience and talent i think the coaches have their hands tied for a while I say lets let things play out before we start calling for heads to roll. Did the patriots start winning superbowls the minute Billicheck took over? no it took time to build the team and mold young players to where you want them Frazier took over a complete mess and between him and spielman their is finally a defined direction for this team not just a patchwork of over the hill players trying to make that last run in their career

  24. By Rick on Sep 18, 2012 | Reply

    When I watch the Vikings this year I’m reminded of the Lions 2 years ago only needing a couple of key players in a couple spots to become a legit contender it’s going to be a long time until next year though but from what I see it could be worth the wait

  25. By thenaj17 on Sep 19, 2012 | Reply

    Good to hear from troutdaddy and Rick, we are a young team and look to have a good future. A couple of quality players dashed in there at WR, CB and DT and we have the makings of a very good team.

  26. By thenaj17 on Sep 19, 2012 | Reply

    Back our team guys, i even managed to convince my Mrs to have Purple and Gold as the theme of our wedding next year!

  27. By MontanaViking on Sep 19, 2012 | Reply

    UNdisciplined + UNinspired + UNfocused + UNtalented = UNsuccessful

  28. By read_all_about_it on Sep 19, 2012 | Reply

  29. By Coolest1ap on Sep 19, 2012 | Reply

    I’m with you to @ parkway, the Vikings need to take more shots down field just to get some big plays that’s what we are lacking rite now, it’s like ponder can’t make those throws>< . And they did take there sweet a** time in the 4 th quarter they do sure need to practice that hurry up offense and try to audible sometimes, oh and I think Winfield is done this guy can't cover nothing anymore, I have great respect for him he is a beast of a player but he gets beat so fast off the line by the time he knows it the WR's are half way down the field getting a big play. Ok I feel better now "sigh" GO VIKES!!!

  30. By rory from n.w.ark on Sep 20, 2012 | Reply

    Good posts by Rick and troutdaddy,,I just would like to add,we need to get Wright and Harvin on the field together,we havent got to see that ,I watched every game Wright played in for ARK believe me he has that same cat quickness and when he gets the ball off a catch he is going to be just as hard to catch on the field,he and Childs were scary after the catch at Ark,so in theory we are having so much success with Percy just wait and see with Wright and Percy on the field together it will be a nightmare for opposing teams to handle ,Musgrave take my advice get them on the field together you will double production in the passing game……

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