The Vikings passing attack took a big step forward on Sunday, and a big reason for it was the reemergence of one of Christian Ponder’s favorite targets – TE Kyle Rudolph. The 2nd-year TE hauled in 7 receptions for 43 yards, including a 20-yard TD early in the 4th quarter that gave the Vikings a 14-point lead.
Of Rudolph’s 7 receptions, 4 resulted in a 1st down or TD and a 5th led to a Blair Walsh FG. Rudolph was targed 9 times on the day.
Rudolph is one of Ponder’s most reliable targets, but he had been neutralized in recent weeks. After scoring 5 TDs in Weeks 2-6, Rudolph had just 2 receptions in his previous 3 games. That of course changed on Sunday, and the change came after the Vikings placed an emphasis on getting Rudolph more involved.
“We actually have been emphasizing Kyle; we just haven’t been able to get him uncovered,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said after the game. “We did some things today to try to get that done from a schematic standpoint and also formation wise, we were able to connect. We’ve been trying the last few weeks to get him the ball, we know in order for our passing game to succeed we need him involved.”
On Sunday, he was involved. And on Sunday, the passing game succeeded.
Tags: Christian Ponder, Kyle Rudolph, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 65 Comments »
Football fans know it can be foolish to cast final judgment on a draft class too early. Just 10 games into the season, it’s clearly far too early to grade each NFL team’s performance in the 2012 NFL Draft. But it’s also clear that just 10 games into the season, the Vikings got a lot of things right last April.
On Sunday, it became even clearer. Matt Kalil continues to hold down the left side of the offensive line, Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson have helped the secondary improve, Blair Walsh set a team record for touchbacks and is now 23 of 24 on FGs, and Robert Blanton, Rhett Ellison and Audie Cole continue to contribute on special teams and in other phases of the game. But now there’s a new contributor.
Jarius Wright, a receiver the Vikings drafted in the 4th round (118th overall) last April, made his regular season debut on Sunday and hit the ground running with 3 receptions for 65 yards and 1 TD. On the Vikings fifth offensive play, Wright dashed through the Detroit Lions secondary and QB Christian Ponder threw a shoulder fake to the left before lofting a pass toward Wright down the middle of the field. Wright hauled in the pass while falling to the ground and was tackled at the 1. Just moments later, Ponder found Wright in the end zone for a 3-yard TD to give the Vikings an early 7-0 and to give Wright his first NFL score.
Let’s keep things in perspective: it was one game and Wright had just one catch after hauling in two during the first series. But let’s also enjoy this moment, because Wright infused excitement and athleticism into a passing game that was missing its most explosive component – Percy Harvin.
The Vikings 2012 draft class has looked good all season. But after Wright’s debut on Sunday, it looks even better.
Tags: Christian Ponder, Jarius Wright, Rick Spielman
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 94 Comments »