The Vikings will begin on-field preparations for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday, and that means we’ll begin previewing the matchup on Wednesday as well. But it also means we have several more hours to digest last Sunday’s win.
Before we move on to Vikings-Titans, let’s empty out the Vikings-Lions notebook…
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier disclosed an interesting observation following his team’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago.
“The way we prepared this week, you knew we were going to play good football,” Frazier said immediately after the 49ers win. “I didn’t say that about our team before we played Indy. We did not handle the success against Jacksonville the right way, and I mentioned that to our players. We came back this week and our guys were locked in and focused throughout the week, and it showed the way we played.”
With Frazier making that observation about his team, it was interesting to see how the Vikings responded to their second victory of the season during the week of preparation for the Lions game. The team was focused all week, and it showed as they put together a solid win at Ford Field. In fact, Frazier said in his post-game comments in Detroit that he thought the team’s practice on Friday was their best Friday practice of the season.
“We’ve been hitting on it,” Frazier said, “from that Indy game on, just how important the focus and the preparation have to be every single week.”
Simpson’s Deep Impact
Jerome Simpson returned to the lineup amid much fanfare on Sunday. The Vikings offense has moved the ball efficiently for most of the season, but many are still clamoring for more downfield production from the Vikings passing attack. While Simpson didn’t haul in a long TD reception, he was still able to use his explosive athletic ability to be a factor in the passing game.
Simpson drew a pair of pass interference penalties on passes deep down the side line in the 1st half – one for 26 yards and another for 31 yards – and both penalties eventually led to points for the Vikings. Then late in the game with the Vikings trying to gain a 1st down to help run out the clock, QB Christian Ponder lofted a pass down the left sideline and Simpson out-jumped a defender to make the catch and give the offense some breathing room.
When all was said and done, Simpson finished as the Vikings leading receiver with 4 receptions for 50 yards.
Said Frazier of Simpson’s impact: “Those PI (pass interference) penalties, to give us the field position they gave us, the threat that he gives us vertically, that catch he made late in the fourth quarter, that’s a big time catch. Great throw by Christian but that was pretty good coverage by that defensive back, but to make the play on the ball the way he did, we need that. Very, very impressed with some of the things he did in the short time we’ve had him.”
No Hitch For Peterson
Adrian Peterson looked in prime form at Ford Field. He’s historically done well against Detroit, and he only added to his impressive totals vs. the division rival on Sunday. Peterson gained 102 yards on 21 carries, giving him his 28th career 100-yard rushing game and his 6th such game against the Lions.
Peterson displayed the extra gear, burst and elusiveness that he’s always had, and Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier spoke about it on Monday.
“He looked more like the Adrian of old than at any point in this young season,” Frazier said. “He had some runs that showed the strength, the power, the elusiveness that we’ve seen in the past and it was just great to see. There was no hitch anywhere. He looked good.”
Peterson’s 28 career 100-yard rushing games is just one shy of the Vikings franchise record of 29, which is held by Robert Smith. Also, Peterson is now just 6 TDs away from passing Chuck Foreman for 4th on the Vikings all-time TDs list.
Ponder Protecting The Ball
The biggest improvement in Ponder’s play through the first 4 games of 2012 is the command he demonstrates in directing the Vikings offense. He does not look hesitant or unsure, he doesn’t panic in the face of pressure or when he can’t find a receiver, and he doesn’t make irresponsible throws.
A season ago, that was not the case. Ponder had as many INTs (13) as TD passes (13), and he completed just 54.3% of his passes. This season is a different story. Ponder has completed 68.3% of his passes and he’s yet to throw an INT; Ponder has not thrown an INT in his last 124 pass attempts.
NFL defenses are good, so eventually they get to even the best of the best passers. Mistakes are bound to happen at this level of play, but Ponder has shown that A) he has the ability to limit mistakes, and B) he has the proper mindset to bounce back quickly when a mistake does happen.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder, Jerome Simpson, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 53 Comments »