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The Hard Count, Paying Felton’s Fee & A Great Decision In Houston

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 27, 2012 – 1:54 pm

As they do each Thursday before a Sunday game, the three Vikings coordinators met with reporters inside the Winter Park field house. Here are a few of the notable discussion points from each of their conversations…

The Hard Count
One of the nuances fans can pick up by watching games on television is the different cadences of QBs across the NFL. Many QBs have non-descript cadences, but some have a distinct pattern and/or tone. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is one with a distinct cadence, and it caused the Vikings some trouble in the Week 13 game at Lambeau Field.

In going through that game’s play-by-play, I counted 5 times in which the Vikings were flagged for defensive offsides. Some of those penalties were declined, some were accepted. But all of them were because of how good Rodgers is at what they call the “hard count” to try and draw the defense across the line before the snap, sometimes resulting in a “free play” for the offense and often times resulting in a 5-yard penalty.

“You’ll see time and time again the defenses that are jumping offsides in the neutral zone,” Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams noted on Thursday. “We want to make sure we key the ball and get off on the ball and not any voice reflections and that type of thing.”

Working on this is nothing new for NFL teams. The Vikings have made that a focus of practice every week of the season, it’s just that Rodgers is better than most at drawing opponents offsides.

“He’s one of the masters at it,” Williams said of Rodgers, “and we have to make sure that we hold our water and not jump and shoot ourselves in the foot because we did do that the last time we played them.”

Paying Felton’s Fee
Vikings FB Jerome Felton was named to his first Pro Bowl on Wednesday, a well-deserved honor for the hardworking 5th-year pro. Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave was asked a few questions about his all-star fullback, and within one of the answers he provided a funny story from his time in Jacksonville.

“When I was in Jacksonville, James Harris, our General Manager, used to say you have to pay the fullback’s fee at times for all that blocking that they do,” Musgrave explained. “It’s nice to hand them a belly every once in a while, a dive, throw the ball out there to him in the flat. We haven’t paid Jerome his fee very often and he continues to do a good job.”

No Problem In Houston
A key moment in last week’s win over the Houston Texans came in the 4th quarter, with the Vikings leading 16-6 and facing a 4th and 9 from the Houston 40. For most teams, that’s an automatic punting situation. But with Blair Walsh on the team, the Vikings aren’t most team. Earlier in the game, Walsh blasted a 56-yard FG through the pipes, giving him a NFL-record 9 FGs of over 50 yards on the season.

Had the Vikings decided to trot Walsh and Co. out onto the field from the 40, it would’ve been about a 58-yard try that, if converted, would’ve extended the Vikings lead to 19-6. If it was off the mark or short, Houston would’ve taken over at their own 40 trailing by 10 with roughly 12:30 to play.

The Vikings decided to punt. And the decision paid off.

“Coach (Frazier) and I talked about that,” Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer explained. “And the risk-reward, the risk was higher than the reward at that point in my opinion. The way our defense was playing, he and I talked about it, he made a great call and a great decision on going ahead and punting it there in that situation. Because of the situation, the way our defense was playing, pin them back deep and let’s go. Kluwe had a great punt, Josh Robinson made a really nice play for us.”

Kluwe’s punt landed at around the 5 and Robinson sped down the field to down it at the 1. Houston went 3-and-out, punted the ball away, and the Vikings offense marched onto the field and then marched down the field on a 10-play, 64-yard TD scoring drive that was capped by a 1-yard Toby Gerhart plunge. The score put the Vikings ahead 23-6, the drive took 6:01 off the game clock, and the decision to punt rather than try a 58-yard FG turned out to be the right one.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 67 Comments »


67 Responses to “The Hard Count, Paying Felton’s Fee & A Great Decision In Houston”

  1. By BlueBird7 on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    When in doubt, drop back 50 yards and punt…….Old NFL joke.

  2. By GrandDaddyPurp on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Josh Robinson, what a great pick for us.

  3. By Spike on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    If that joke is old then so am I. :)

  4. By CaribooBill on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Actually, Gerhart’s run was more than a “plunge” – it was from the 3 and a half yard line through heavy traffic.

  5. By liito on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Dear Vikings’ team players,
    1. Please help Adrian and Blair get their records. Congratulations also to J & J (Jared and Jerome) for their Pro-Bowl selection.
    2. Please just be steady in winning so I can wear my Vikings’ jersey through February 2013.
    3. I have a feeling that the receiving corp will surprise us all, if we get into the playoffs. Go Vikings!

  6. By Spencer on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    JRob played 4 snaps last week…

  7. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    I like Robinson. He’s a rookie. I thought he’s held up really well.

  8. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Most teams these days build their “D” to stop the pass in this pass happy league. But here come the Vikes plowing their way into the playoffs. AP for 300.

  9. By RichardA1 on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Hard count? it nothing like the hard metrodome turf Rodgers will be visiting! A.P. is going to “roll” It is time for Jared Allen to have a game like he played last year! lets get in that Berzerk, Europhoric out of control atmosphere that all our guest hate!!!

  10. By Spencer on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    “Cook is a good-sized corner and did a decent job against Houston,” an executive in personnel for an AFC team said. “He’s a (big) improvement over Jefferson. I’m not high on Robinson or Jefferson.”

    I should be an NFL Scout

  11. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Expect Aromashadu to have a big game.

  12. By vikingbob136 on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Somehow i was not riveted to Wobs headline or story this time. A snoozer for sure. Slow day in Wobbyland.

  13. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Cook is an obvious started, But Robinson has SPEED, BALL SKILLS, BODY CONTROL. In other words, the man’s got skills. The only thing he lacks is experience.

  14. By Spencer on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    All JRob has is speed, thats pretty much it. He gives up slants and underneath routes every game. And on the season he has given up 8TDs, he is just completely helpless against the bigger WR’s in this league.

    He shouldnt be playing on the outside, he needs to be in the Dime or the Nickel.

  15. By RichardA1 on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    and why not use Webb!

  16. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    He is far from helpless. He’s a rookie for crying out loud. You can pull stats out of your butt all you want. He just lacks experience.

  17. By Tomcat on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    J.Rob has a couple of big int`s as well.

  18. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    J Rob will be very good.

  19. By Tomcat on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Jefferson is underrated, as is the rest of our secondary. I mean, how many 50+ yard pass plays have we given up?

  20. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Read that again and out loud, Spencer.

  21. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    I agree Tomcat. Jefferson is very underrated. Not everybody is Champ Bailey, but that does not mean they are not outstanding football players.

  22. By Spencer on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Jefferson confuses the he|| out of me, the guy plays tight coverage nearly every play but just cant seem to ever make a play on the ball! I dont get how a man could be excel so much in covering a guy but have horrendous ball skills.

    And coming out of college guess what was one of his weakness?
    “Lacks the ball skills to be a playmaker in the secondary.”

    http://www.nfl.com/draft/2011/profiles/a.j.-jefferson?id=494275

  23. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Jefferson is new to our coaching staff, our system and our cast of player support. Give it some time and he may surprise you.

  24. By Spencer on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    I have hope in AJ Jefferson, he has a great teacher.

  25. By Tomcat on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Jefferson probably is our weak link, but that speaks more about the talents of our other players than Jefferson`s shortcomings.

  26. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    It could also be just a simple as Jefferson putting in more work. A true professional if you will. What you put into is what you get out of it. No knock on Jefferson at all, just saying.

  27. By RichardA1 on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Ahh oooh, lets reflect on the times we totally annihilated Green Bay, that’s what I’m talking about!

  28. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Not giving up the big play has been huge for us( as Tomcat has reminded us) and let’s hope we keep up that stellar play. I can’t see Rodgers wanting to be patient, and that could easily work to our favor. If he holds on to the ball a little to long, good things will happen. Pressure, Pressure, Pressure on Rodgers all game long. They can have the run, we have enough talent to clean up the rest. Just don’t give up the big ones.

  29. By Spencer on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Anybody know if its legal to do this at the Dome?

  30. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Wobbles – incorrect usage of the ampersand, dude.

  31. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Did you hear Arron Rodgers? Ya AP is fun to watch. He ran for 212 yards, but we still beat them. Ya, beat this fool !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He just needs a higher dose of AP and the Purple People Eaters.

  32. By Immure on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Spencer- Unfortunately its not allowed. In fact its illegal in the state of Minnesota to sell or possess aerial fireworks.

  33. By Immure on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Anyways it would be a huge safety concern to light of that type display inside an inclosed stadium.

  34. By Immure on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    light off*

  35. By Spencer on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Dam, you can’t do anything in ‘Murica.

  36. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Sure you can– you can freeze.

  37. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Ya, but we can roll out a tank.

  38. By vikes- or - die on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    The AP hybrid tank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Rodgers never should have said that arrogant comment– liking to watch AP but we won— did he really say that? Now I know for sure we will trample them. Vikings 41, Packers 21

  40. By Spencer on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    What if they banned all Male Vikes fan from the Dome…

  41. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    It would be a conspiracy by Avon.

  42. By scviking on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    why cant i say its about time i get to watch a vikings game in south carolina! rodgers smack talk is funny. hes just being opptomistic that AP wont run all over his defense an make them look bad. im counting on ponder to help us out by spreading sugar as well. SKOL VIKINGS!

  43. By scviking on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    I GuESS WEBBLIES AN HIS SILLY HAT ALLOWED ME TO POST 1 FINALLY. man im excited to see my vikings on home television. i hope vikings country has a
    great time watching this game

  44. By vikesforever on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Wobbs was found spanking his monkey in the Viking shower. he will no longer be with us.

  45. By john 61 on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    this is going to be a hard game for the vikes,hope there up for it,they played great last week,hope they have some left,vikes win by three

  46. By saddy on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    That’s exactly the reason why I hate A Rodgers, he is arrogant, AP on the other side is humble , I have a feeling we are going to crush packers this weekend, We came close to crushing them in Lambeau until Ponder turned over the ball in the end zone which should have been a 7 or at least a 3.

    We also should try lot of reverse plays with Wright to confuse the defense so when AP carries they are not just zoning in on him.

    Also Ponder is quick on his feet why not do an option play with a fake run play to AP.

    Infact everytime Ponder does one of those run plays and we score 7 he gets confident and plays good so why not stick to that.

    Let’s crus GB this weekend, I can’t wait.

    Also FANS Please be Loud and when Kuhn is carrying say something like ALLLLLLENNNNNNN

  47. By Cali Bry on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    That purple kool-aid works wonders….Do you realize we had 5 STARTERS out for the Lambeau game, including defensive MVP Matthews? Rodgers against scout team wanna-be Ponder, this is going to be fun. At least you won a super bowl, oooooohhhh mmmmmyyyyy bbbbbbaaaaaaadddd!!!!!!!!!!!LOSERS!!!!!!

  48. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Do you realize you were playing in Lambeau?

  49. By Spencer on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Seriously, soccer fans are amazing…

  50. By Parkway on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    I guess if the sport is really boring you have to pretend it’s not?

  51. By Saddy on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Callbry did you win superbowl last year, so you are losers too, we don’t talk about past, this is future and get ready to come to this blog and get your as* kicked in this blog after the match, I will be here.

    Vikings are going to hand Packers a mega loss and if you think you are over confident I dare you to come this Sunday after the match.

    You have a good QB I agree, well is one of those starters your QB I guess not we all saw how your backup QB was running and GB lost when all your starters were there except Aaron Rodgers.

  52. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    One thing I don’t understand– and please, if you’re a Packer fan help me with this. The Packer fans like to say how the Vikings never won a Superbowl — and they like to rub it in that they have (whatever number) championships– and it is a lot, I grant you that. But here is where I have a real disconnect– if they (Packer fans) have won so many championships, why do they cry so hard when their team loses– seriously. I have seen stories of parents slapping their children, people becoming depressed– angry and yelling– probably a few jumping into frozen lakes or off silos. I mean, if you have won so many championships, why do you boo hoo so loudly — I mean, I can understand last year– being 15-1 and being slaughtered by the sixth seed in your first round of the playoffs– at home, no less. Yes, that must have been pretty embarrassing. My own take on this is that there really is nothing outside of the Packers for a Green Bay resident to even remotely associate with anything close to the city life we enjoy in the 15th largest metropolitan area of the country— in other words, we have a life outside of football.

  53. By Argos Geminus Sparticus Esperanza on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    None of your ramblings resemble a complete thought. You will however live up to your blog name after the vikings skol their way to 9-7 on the year. Don’t be sad “Saddy” you can’t help that Minnesota’s high school students have a lower gpa than Wisconsin’s. You should have passed on the hormel chili that they served in the cafeteria.

  54. By Smith22DMVP on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    I love how packerbackers have nothing better to do than come talk smack on our page. Life in GreenBay must really be boring.

  55. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    I drove through Green Bay ONCE. Nothing out there.

  56. By Argos Geminus Sparticus Esperanza on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Titus, you do realize that thousands of Packer fans live in the Twin Cities metro. Losing to the Giants after a 15-1 season was nothing to cry about. They won the Superbowl the year before and won 15 games. There would however be something to cry about if the Packers went 3-13. It seems to be a viking fan mantra to think Packer fans are that upset over a great season as last years was. As far as I can see most of the crying comes to this blog after a viking loss. You aren’t one of them but many come here to cry about Ponder and Frazier. If all these whiny fans were optimistic like you they wouldn’t get ripped on as much by Packer fans. Oh well. Good luck to your vikes, and most importantly enjoy this one. A game this exciting doesn’t come around very often.

  57. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks Argos. I will take that compliment. And yes, this game should be a classic– both teams fighting for a lot and divisional foes. I do believe it may be lopsided though.

  58. By Immure on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Wow, the Packers have their own version of Titus. Its like a parallel universe or something…. I bet he hates bike riding.

  59. By RichardA1 on Dec 27, 2012 | Reply

    Vikes never won a superbowl, and rub it in our faces! we haven’t beat the pants off them on 12/30/2012 yet either! You mean you had 5 starters who were to chicken to come play against the Vikings! It’s going to be fun to watch Rodgers after they loose, he’s a laugh to watch!

  60. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Rodgers is soooooooooooooooo overrated.

  61. By Dr. Remulak on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve only been on this site a few months and i have never seen, NOT ONCE, a Bears or Lions fan come on here and talk S.hit. Green Bay players are really talented, but their fans are total F.ucking losers.

  62. By Derrick.G on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Look at all the Greengay fans on here.

  63. By Derrick.G on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Prepare to eat some humble pie losers!

  64. By OTKalil2012 on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    This should be a great game !!!…

    I predict 5 Rodgers sacks…And the Vikings grabbing 3 ints from Rodgers…
    Yes 3 ints !!!…Packers fumble 2 times…

    I expect our defense to dominate this game at home…With the offense having a solid game also…Even passing the ball…Hoping Ponder has some surprises for the hometown crowd… ;-)

    Vikings 28….Packers 17….

    GO VIKINGS !!!!

  65. By BlueBird7 on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    I turned on the TV yesterday, hoping maybe the GB/Vike game was on early.

    Alas, nothing but scenes of snow falling. Big snow Storm. But nothing like the Storm this coming Sunday! Batten down the hatches, Mates .Scuttle those pigs!

  66. By BlueBird7 on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    My daugther is Retired US Navy. I borrowed some Navy Jargon from her…….

  67. By Stoney on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    It’s the Bizzaro Titus

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