Adrian Peterson Named FedEx Ground Player Of The Year Finalist

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 7, 2013 – 4:19 pm

The NFL announced on Monday that Adrian Peterson is a finalist for FedEx Ground Player of the Year honors. Peterson rushed his way into the history books, finishing the season with 2,097 yards rushing, 2nd -most in league history and just nine yards shy of breaking Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson’s NFL record (2,105).

Peterson, who was second in the NFL in carries (348), tied Earl Campbell for the most games with at least 150 rushing yards in a single season (s7) and he scored 12 rushing TDs as well. From Week 7 through Week 15, Peterson accumulated 1,313 yards in 8 games, the most over any 8-game span in a single season in NFL history.

Selected as the NFC’s starting running back for the 2013 Pro Bowl, Peterson was nominated for FedEx Ground Player of the Week 7times, winning 3times. Peterson was named FedEx Ground Player of the Year in 2008.

Joining Peterson as finalists for the award are: Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch and Washington’s Alfred Morris.

Also, the NFL announced that New England’s Tom Brady, Denver’s Peyton Manning and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers have been named FedEx Air NFL Players of the Week.

Fans can vote for one player in each category on until Friday, January 25 at 8 p.m. CT to determine the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year.

During the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, FedEx plans to announce the 2012 FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year in New Orleans, as well as make a $25,000 donation in each winning player’s name to Junior Achievement offices in the their city. The funding is used to help U.S. small business development, by educating the next generation of entrepreneurs on how to start and grow their own businesses.

This season, fans voted for more than their favorite player. As part of the Air & Ground program and its commitment to small business owners, FedEx supported education efforts at Junior Achievement by making weekly $2,000 donations in each of the winning players’ names.

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Uncharacteristic Miscues Cost Vikings In Playoff Loss

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 7, 2013 – 3:01 pm

A quick glance at the box score might lead one to conclude that the disparity in production at QB led to the outcome of Saturday night’s Wild Card game playoff between the Vikings and Green Bay Packers. Green Bay came out a winner by a 24-10 count behind a 274-yard, 1-TD performance from QB Aaron Rodgers, while the Vikings offense struggled with backup QB Joe Webb under center.

It’s true that a big difference in play at QB was a determining factor in the game. But mistakes in other areas of the game were contributing factors as well. Just as frustrating for the Vikings as not having their starting QB available for the biggest game of the season was the fact that many of the costly mistakes committed by the Vikings were uncharacteristic of the way the team played down the stretch, when they won four consecutive games to qualify for the postseason.

Consider the following costly miscues committed by the Vikings:

– Leading 3-0 midway through the 1st quarter, the Vikings held Green Bay to a 3-and-out on its first possession and then stopped them on 3rd and 2 on their second possession. But an offsides penalty against veteran DT Kevin Williams extended Green Bay’s drive, and RB DuJuan Harris made the Vikings pay several minutes later when he scored from 8 yards out.

– On the first drive of the 3rd quarter, Green Bay was stopped again on 3rd down and was forced to bring their FG team out onto the field to salvage a score. But the Vikings had 12 men on the huddle due to a miscommunication from the sideline, and Green Bay was awarded a 1st down. On the next play, Rodgers found FB Jon Kuhn for a 9-yard TD, giving the Packers a commanding 24-3 lead.

– With 14:12 to play in the 4th quarter, the Vikings forced a punt from Green Bay and were poised to take possession while trailing by 21 points. But Marcus Sherels, who had been solid as the team’s punt returner all season, muffed the punt and it was recovered by the Packers. Green Bay was forced to punt again just 3 plays later, but they burned 2 more valuable minutes before doing so.

The last mistake did not result in a Green Bay score, but the previous two mistakes resulted in two Green Bay TDs. Keep in mind, the winning margin for Green Bay in the game was 14 points.

“To give up fourteen points after we should’ve been off the field, it is uncharacteristic,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said after the game. “We’ve done a good job with penalties this year. Marcus has been great catching punts. We never had to worry about him fielding punts.

“Those are things you don’t want to see happen – unforced errors in a game like this. It’ll kill you, that’s a good football team. For whatever reason it happened to us tonight.”

Despite the mistakes and the effort that resulted in a 14-point loss and early exit from the playoffs, Frazier reiterated during his press conference that he was proud of his team’s effort over the course of the season. No one is proud of the result, but that doesn’t preclude one from appreciating the effort and results that came from a successful 2012 season for the Vikings.

“I thought our guys played hard,” Frazier said. “We just didn’t always play the way we are capable of playing in some instances.

“I’m extremely proud of our football team, and the way they worked throughout this year to represent our organization, to represent our state. The effort that they have every single week throughout the course of this season, including tonight, those guys never let anyone put limitations on what they could achieve and they played as hard as they could and tried to do the very best they could to give us a chance to win. Tough loss, not the way we wanted our season to end. But because of the character of the men on this football team, there are a lot of things that we can learn from this 2012 season.”

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Early Look At 2013 Opponents

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 7, 2013 – 7:58 am

Over the next week or so, our coverage of the Vikings here on the Blog will be a mix of rehashing the 2012 season/Saturday’s playoff loss and looking ahead to the 2013 offseaon and regular season. Early this Monday morning, let’s start with a look ahead to next season.

While the 2013 regular season schedule won’t be known until late April most likely, we do already know the identity of the Vikings opponents for next season. Here’s a home/away breakdown of the opponents:

Opponents at home: Carolina, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Green Bay, Philadelphia, *Pittsburgh and Washington
*The game against Pittsburgh will be played in London on September 29, 2013.

Opponents on the road: Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay, NY Giants, Seattle

The regular season schedule is determined by a formula devised by the NFL back in 2002 following expansion (Houston Texans) and realignment. Here is the breakdown of how the schedule is determined:

– 6 games against your division (3 on the road, 3 at home)

– 4 games against a division in the NFC (2 on the road, 2 at home)

– 4 games against a division in the AFC (2 on the road, 2 at home)

– *2 games against teams that finished in the same spot in their division as the Vikings did the previous year in the NFC outside of the division they play four games against already (1 on the road, 1 at home).

*That last point can be a bit hard to explain, but for example, if the Vikings win their division and play four games against the NFC West the following year, then those two extra games would be against the teams who won the NFC East and NFC South.  In 2013, the Vikings play all four teams in the NFC East, so they play one game each against the NFC South and NFC West.

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