An inability to move the ball efficiently through the air in recent weeks after the passing game looked improved early in the season has many trying to pinpoint a reason for the decline. There are many moving parts in an NFL passing attack, so it’s unlikely there is a sole culprit.
Coinciding with the Vikings decrease in passing production is the absence of TE Kyle Rudolph from the box score. Rudolph, who had 13 receptions for 138 yards and 3 TDs in the Vikings first three games this season, has been held to just 2 receptions for 17 yards over the past three games, including no receptions on Sunday in Seattle at a time when Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier says the team was trying to get him involved.
“We had some things called yesterday that we thought would get the ball to him and they didn’t materialize,” Frazier explained on Monday. “The good thing about Kyle’s game yesterday, he did a great job in blocking which really helped set up some of those nice runs that Adrian had.”
Blocking was not one of Rudolph’s strengths early in his career, so the fact that he’s improved that area of his game is good news for the Vikings. But make no mistake, Rudolph’s primary role is not to be a blocker.
“We do want him included in our pass game,” Frazier said. “We had some things set up for him, it didn’t happen. Partially because of coverage, partially sometimes because of the rush, and sometimes we just didn’t find him. We want him involved. We have to figure out a way to get him involved.”
Tags: Kyle Rudolph, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 131 Comments »
Adrian Peterson was in prime form on Sunday afternoon, rushing hard and fast for 182 yards and 2 TDs on 17 carries. But his Herculean effort, which included a 74-yard run on the second play of the game, was not enough to overcome several Vikings shortcomings. The end result was a 30-20 victory for the Seahawks over the Vikings at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
From the opening kick through the 4th quarter, Peterson ran over and danced around a formidable Seattle defense and reminded everyone why he’s the best running back in the NFL. He averaged 10.7 yards per carry and had runs of 15, 16, 24, 28 and 74 yards, breaking multiple tackles on a play with regularity and showing no signs of a player who incurred such a serious knee injury last December.
The Vikings were off to a quick start thanks to Peterson’s 74-yard gallop on the game’s opening series. Two plays later, Peterson plunged in from a yard out to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead. But it unraveled from there, as Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch and rookie QB Russell Wilson capitalized on short fields (thanks to Seattle takeaways) and second chances (thanks to Vikings penalties).
The Seahawks got on the board following a Percy Harvin fumble on the Vikings second drive of the game, with Wilson finding WR Golden Tate for a 6-yard strike. The Vikings punted on their ensuing drive, and Seattle took a 14-7 lead with Wilson-to-Sidney Rice TD strike.
The Vikings responded, with Ponder driving his team 80 yards in 11 plays to watch Peterson score from 4 yards out to tie the game at 14. Blair Walsh tacked on 3 more points with a 36-yard FG that salvaged a drive after a sack on 3rd and 7 from the Seattle 11. The Vikings led 17-14 at that point, but saw that lead disappear after a masterful 12-play, 80 drive by Wilson and the Seattle offense that was capped by another Tate TD reception, the 3rd TD throw of Wilson’s day. The extra point was blocked by Kevin Williams, so Seattle took a 20-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Seattle used a 4-point edge in the 3rd quarter thanks to a Lynch TD (Walsh had a 55-yard FG, too) to take a 27-20 lead into the 4th quarter. The teams exchanged punts at the beginning of the 4th quarter, Seattle K Steven Hauschka split the uprights on a 40-yard try to make it 30-2-, and then the Vikings weren’t able to inch any closer for the remainder of the game.
Wilson finished going 16 of 24 for 173yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs. Lynch, the NFL’s 2nd-leading rusher behind Peterson, rushed for 124 yards and 1 TD on 24 carries.
While the Vikings were next to unstoppable on the ground, they struggled throwing the ball. QB Christian Ponder was 11 of 22 for 63 yards with no TDs and 1 INT. LBs Jasper Brinkley and Chad Greenway each registered 13 tackles and DEs Jared Allen and Brian Robison were each credited with a .5 sack.
The loss drops the Vikings to 5-4 on the season as they get set this week to host the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field before heading into their bye week.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Blair Walsh, Brian Robison, Chad Greenway, Christian Ponder, Jared Allen, Jasper Brinkley, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 499 Comments »