The Vikings are at 0-2 after a pair of tale-of-two-halves losses to begin the season and today they have an NFC North matchup against the 2-0 Detroit Lions. On many different levels, this is a big game for the Vikings.
The good news is it looks like the Vikings will have all hands on deck for today’s battle.
The Vikings had 8 players listed on the Friday injury report, but 7 of them were given the “probable” designation and just 1 was “questionable.” CB Chris Cook is listed as questionable with a groin injury, but Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said he made it through the week just fine and should be good to go for today.
A pair of starting defensive linemen – Jared Allen and Kevin Williams – were on the injury report, with Allen feeling soreness in his shoulder and Williams still dealing with a foot injury. Both players are probable for the game, and Williams was a full participant in practice all week while Allen was limited on Wednesday but was a full participant on Thursday and Friday.
WRs Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins should both be good to go. Harvin missed Thursday’s practice with an illness but was back at full strength on Friday, while Jenkins is listed with a groin injury but didn’t miss any practice over the week.
The other 3 players listed were LB E.J. Henderson (knee) and CBs Asher Allen (toe) and Marcus Sherels (chest). Allen and Sherels both finished the week as full participants in practice and Henderson, who was limited all week in practice, is expected to play and start today.
Tags: Asher Allen, Chris Cook, E.J. Henderson, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Marcus Sherels, Michael Jenkins, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 40 Comments »
The Vikings secondary help Chargers QB Philip Rivers below his career marks in yards per attempt and passer rating last week in the season opener. They’ll look to do the same thing to Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman this week in the home opener, and a little extra help should be available in that quest.
Asher Allen, an important component in the team’s nickel defense as well as on special teams, was limited in practice all week leading up to the Chargers game and then he didn’t play on Sunday. Allen is dealing with a foot injury, but Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said the CB “should” be able to play this weekend, assuming everything goes according to plan in practice over the next 3-4 days.
“I think he will,” Frazier said when asked if Allen will make it back to the field for Sunday. “We’ve got to see how he does in practice. But from everything I was told leading up to today’s practice, we should have him for this game on Sunday.”
Frazier said the Vikings came out of last weekend’s game pretty healthy and he doesn’t expect at this point that anyone will miss Sunday’s game with Tampa Bay.
Jamarca Sanford will get his second straight start at safety, but Frazier said Tyrell Johnson will rotate in, just as he did last week. Frazier was also asked about the QB depth chart and he said it will remain the same, with Christian Ponder listed as the backup and Webb listed as the #3.
Tags: Asher Allen, Christian Ponder, Jamarca Sanford, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 67 Comments »
In this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag, I made the case for Lorenzo Booker to take care of kickoff return duties for the Vikings this season. The punt return job, however, is not quite as simple to delegate at this point.
Before Tuesday afternoon’s practice officially began, I watched 8 Vikings take turns fielding punts. They were: CBs Asher Allen, Cord Parks, Marcus Sherels and Devon Torrence; WRs Stephen Burton, Greg Camarillo and Jaymar Johnson; and RB Lorenzo Booker.
Camarillo was the primary punt returner last season, fielding 39 of the team’s 42 punt returns. He hasn’t done anything to lose the responsibility and is in fact one of the surest-handed returners in the group, but there’s nothing wrong with opening up the job for competition. Through one preseason game, Johnson has the best results (1 return for 40 yards) and Sherels has returned a pair of punts for 4 yards.
There are higher-profile position battles on the Vikings roster this year, such as backup QB and starting safety, but the importance of the punt return position battle should not be understated. The candidates for the job come from a variety of different positions, which means the punt return job has an impact on several areas of the team when it comes time for coaches and scouts to pick the 53-man rosters.
We’ll continue to monitor this position battle for you on vikings.com throughout the rest of training camp and the preseason. Here are a few notes from Tuesday afternoon’s practice…
– The team worked in full pads for just short of 2.5 hours under partly cloudy skies. The temperature was fairly warm, but there was a persistent wind that cooled the air and made life a bit more difficult for P Chris Kluwe and K Ryan Longwell.
– Longwell, though, was solid during the special teams period and connected on a high percentage of his FG tries.
– RG Anthony Herrera practice for the second straight day and continues to ease back into the swing of things. He worked with the first-team offense. Also working with the first-team offense again on Tuesday was Scott Kooistra.
– Tyrell Johnson was a safety on the first-team defense and Chris Cook worked with the first-team nickel defense.
– The Vikings coaching staff gave the one-on-one drill between WRs and CBs/safeties a different twist. Ordinarily the drill pits just one WR against one CB, but on Tuesday the Vikings worked on route combinations. There were three DBs on the field for the drill (one safety, two CBs) and two WRs. The drill not only had the offensive players working on route combinations and the defensive players working on defensive schemes, but it also forced the defense to communicate and it forced the QB to make a decision on which receiver to target.
– There is usually a “special category” period of practice, which is commonly referred to as “special cats.” Tuesday’s “special cats” period had the offense working in the no-huddle against a 40-second play clock. A few interesting things to note about this period of practice: QB Donovan McNabb ran the no-huddle for the first-team offense flawlessly and without error; Camarillo saw a lot of extra time with the first-team as a slot WR with Harvin sitting out (more on that below); and rookie Brandon Burton grabbed an INT during the period off of Christian Ponder on an impressive play where he tipped the pass and was able to concentrate in traffic to haul in the pick.
– Guys who sat out of practice on Tuesday: S Simeon Castiille, LBs Heath Farwell and Kenny Onatolu, DE D’Aundre Reed and TE Visanthe Shiancoe. WR Percy Harvin took part in the early portions of practice but then sat out for most of the workout. It looked like a precautionary move more than anything because he stuck around outside for the entire practice and was interacting with his teammates. Harvin was bothered by a rib injury near the end of the Mankato portion of training camp. Also, LB Jonathan Gilmore left practice early; no indication on his injury.
– I’m not sure how much it’s worth tracking which players are playing with the first-team, second-team and third-team, mostly because coaches are still experimenting with different combinations as they try to shape their position groups. So at the risk of jumping to conclusions, or causing you to jump to conclusions, here’s how a few positions appear to be shaking out: Adrian Awasom (LDE) and Everson Griffen (RDE) are consistently with the second-team; Letroy Guion and Fred Evans are second-team DTs; rookie LB Ross Homan and veteran LB Mark Washington have been primarily with the second-team defense the past two days; Asher Allen and Chris Cook are the second-team CBs, but Sherels is rotated into the mix on occasion; Mistral Raymond and Jamarca Sanford are the second-team safeties and both have taken turns with the first-team; the second-team nickel features Burton and Devon Torrence at outside CB, Marcus Sherels in the slot, Jasper Brinkley and Ross Homan at LB and a rotation at safety among Chris Adingupu, Raymond and Sanford.
– Rookie DeMarcus Love, a 4-year starter at the University of Arkansas in the talent-rich Southeastern Conference (SEC), seems to have established himself as the second-team LT.
Tags: Asher Allen, Cord Parks, Devon Torrence, Greg Camarillo, Jaymar Johnson, Lorenzo Booker, Marcus Sherels, Stephen Burton
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 115 Comments »
Much of my attention so far in the aftermath of the Vikings preseason opener in Tennessee has been on the QBs. Much of the fans’ attention has been on criticizing the offensive line and secondary. So for a moment let’s focus on a few other topics from Saturday night’s game and discuss whether they are trends that we can anticipate continuing or mirages that were just a flash in the pan.
Let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry…
Lorenzo Booker flying all over the field
From an individual standpoint, RB Lorenzo Booker flashed on the field more than any other player for the Vikings. Many Vikings fans will remember Booker as “the guy who came on late last season and returned a few kicks.” But on Saturday night he had a different role. In the end, Booker finished with 9 carries for 47 yards (5.2 yards per carry), including a run of 20 yards. He also had 3 receptions for 32 yards and a kickoff return for 26 yards.
More than just the numbers, though, Booker displayed his above-average speed and his outstanding quickness. He has a wiggle to him when the ball is in his hands and rarely does the first defender bring him to the ground. In fairness, we must note that he did lose a fumble on Saturday night and that turnover led to a Tennessee TD. That cannot continue if Booker is going to remain a factor for the Vikings.
Trend or Mirage: I say this is a trend. Booker immediately bonded with QB Donovan McNabb (they were together in Philadelphia during the 2008 season) and I think he’s going to be a safety net for McNabb in the Vikings offense. Booker is a great change-of-pace RB, he’ll be valuable on 3rd downs and, perhaps most importantly, he could be the primary kickoff returner. If Booker can prove reliable as a kick returner, it will allow the Vikings to preserve Percy Harvin from that role and increase Harvin’s touches on offense.
Christian Ballard notches a QB sack
The Vikings selected DL Christian Ballard with their fourth-round pick in last April’s draft and they took him with the thought that he could bolster the defensive line’s depth because he can play both inside at DT and outside at DE. Ballard was productive at both spots while playing for the University of Iowa and I’ve seen nothing so far in training camp that indicates he can’t be productive at either spot in the NFL.
On Saturday night during the 2nd quarter, Ballard crashed the pocked and sacked QB Jake Locker on 3rd and 2, ending the Titans drive and forcing a punt. That’s the kind of disruption the Vikings hoped to see from Ballard.
Trend or Mirage: Looks like a trend to me. Although he hasn’t had an outstanding camp, he has played well enough so far, especially with the sack on Saturday night, to inspire confidence that he can be a member of the DL rotation this season.
Vikings secondary suspect again
It was only the first preseason game, so we don’t want to draw a water-tight conclusion yet. But unfortunately we saw more of the same from the Vikings secondary on Saturday night. Granted, Tennessee only scored 14 points for the game, but there were times when it felt like both Matt Hasselbeck and Locker had no problem finding holes in coverage. Also, the Vikings didn’t generate much of a pass rush all night – except for Ballard’s sack – and that doesn’t help the secondary cover anybody.
Both Asher Allen and Chris Cook will be criticized for the next week for their play in Saturday night’s game. Also, fans will be quite vocal about the need for an improvement at safety. Given how the secondary performed last year and also how Saturday night unfolded, this is a fair complaint. But as upset as you are fans, at how the secondary has played, I hope you are just as open to seeing improvement in the weeks ahead.
Trend or Mirage: I think it’s a mirage. My expectation is the Vikings pass rush will be better in 2011 than it was in 2010 and I also think the return of Cedric Griffin to the starting lineup (he didn’t play Saturday night) will make a huge difference in the secondary. I know head coach Leslie Frazier believes in Cook and if the second-round pick from last year can gain some confidence and play well, the Vikings can quickly turn what was once a major weakness into a serviceable to strong part of the team. Yes, we saw a few things we didn’t want to see on Saturday night, but we have three preseason games and a whole lot more training camp to go before the regular season begins on September 11 in San Diego.
Tags: Asher Allen, Cedric Griffin, Chris Cook, Christian Ballard, Lorenzo Booker
Posted in All | 107 Comments »
In the previous blog entry about G Chris DeGeare, we made the point that: “There’s no doubt that hitting home runs with 1st-round picks is key to success in the NFL. But if you do some research, you’ll see that selections in rounds 2-7 and also the signing of undrafted rookie free agents are just as important.”
In the previous blog entry, we also said we’d take a closer look at some of those 2nd- through 7th-round picks in the next posting. While the group isn’t full of Pro Bowlers or future Hall of Famers (yet), it is a group of players that represent at least a part of the core of the current roster. There are 10 players who’ve started games for the Vikings on the list and obviously there will be many, many more starts from this list in the years to come.
Here we go…
CB Asher Allen - A 3rd-round pick in 2009, Allen struggled at times as a starter in 2010. But over his 2 Vikings seasons, Allen has flashed some potential. With the return of Cedric Griffin in 2011, Allen will be in a position to contribute in the nickel and dime packages where he’ll be more successful.
LB Jasper Brinkley - A 5th-round pick in 2009, Brinkley stepped in as the starter when E.J. Henderson went down to injury at the end of the 2009 season. It’s easy to take this for granted, but keep in mind the Vikings had the NFL’s top-ranked defense and Brinkley was a rookie starting in the middle of the defense. The Vikings defense missed Henderson, but Brinkley was solid in his place and the Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship Game. On top of that, Brinkley has been a solid special teams contributor during his career in Minnesota.
CB Chris Cook - A 2nd-round pick in 2010, Cook had a tremendous offseason and training camp heading into his rookie season. But then a pair of knee injuries that both required surgery slowed and eventually halted his rookie season. Cook is a big, physical CB who fits what head coach Leslie Frazier wants his defense to do. The upside on Cook is big and the Vikings defense will benefit from his return.
FB Ryan D’Imperio - A lot of factors were working against D’Imperio during his rookie season in 2010. He was a 7th-round pick (#237 overall), he switched positions from college LB to NFL FB and he had an established starter in front of him on the depth chart. But D’Imperio impressed enough to stick around and was a member of the practice squad in 2010. During the offseason and training camp this year he’ll have a chance to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
G Chris DeGeare - The blog entry below this one tells DeGeare’s story.
RB Toby Gerhart - At first I think Vikings fans are quick to point out disappointment in Gerhart’s rookie season, but I don’t see it that way. He had a tough go during training camp and the early part of the season, but he continued to improve as the season went along and he had an impressive showing in a start against the Bears in Week 15 when he rushed for 77 yards on 16 carries. For the season, Gerhart average 4.0 yards per carry. Given how productive he was in college and how aggressive the Vikings were in trading up to select him in the 2nd round last year, I’m willing to give Gerhart more time to develop into a productive NFL RB.
DE Everson Griffen - A prospect with 1st-round talent who dropped to the 4th round because of off-field concerns, Griffen flashed potential on defense and productivity on special teams as a rookie. He’s in line to get more playing time on defense in 2011, especially if the Vikings are unable to reach contract agreements with either Ray Edwards or Brian Robison.
DT Letroy Guion - When the Vikings used a 5th-round pick on Letroy Guion in 2008, he was only 20 years old. He came in and didn’t produce right away, but now he’s progressed into a member of the defensive line rotation. As is the case with Griffen, Guion may be in line for even more playing time depending on what happens with potential free agents ahead of him on the depth chart.
WR Jaymar Johnson - Another 7th-round pick (2008) who remains on the roster, Johnson was in the midst of another solid offseason and training camp when he injured his wrist and was put on Injured Reserve before the 2010 season got going. Johnson will be in another battle to make the roster this offseason, but his return capabilities will help him.
S Tyrell Johnson - A 2nd-round pick in 2008, Johnson has moved in and out of the starting lineup during his 3 seasons in Minnesota. With the safety position still a bit in flux, Johnson has a chance to reclaim a starting spot if he can perform well in the offseason and in training camp. He’s a tremendous athlete who needs to polish his skills in coverage.
RT Phil Loadholt - Another 2nd-round pick, Loadholt stepped into the starting lineup as a rookie in 2009 and was one of the team’s best offensive linemen. The Vikings offense averaged 29.4 points per game during Loadholt’s rookie seasan and the 6-8, 343-pound mauler showed that he could be a talented player in this league for a long time.
WR Sidney Rice - The 2nd-round picks keep rolling in. Rice was a 2nd-rounder in 2007 and exploded for a career season in 2009 with Brett Favre under center. A hip injury slowed his 2010 season and now Rice will look to bounce back in 2011 with another strong showing. His leaping ability and sure hands are his best qualities, and they’re qualities a rookie QB would love to have in a starting WR.
DE Brian Robison – An All-Rookie honoree who was 3rd among all NFL rookies with 4.5 sacks in 2007, Robison has been a productive player for the Vikings and figures to be an important member of the defensive line rotation in 2011. He was a 4th-round pick in 2007 out of the University of Texas and one of the great aspects of his game is that he can slide inside to play DT in certain situations.
S Jamarca Sanford – With Heath Farwell, Sanford is one of the most valuable special teams contributors for the Vikings, specifically in the kick and punt coverage units. He has also logged playing time on defense and has also been a starter at safety. Considering Sanford was the SEC’s leading tackler during his 4 years at Ole Miss, it’s hard to believe Rick Spielman and Co. found him in the 7th round. But that’s what they did, and that makes Sanford one of the more under-rated Vikings draft picks in recent years.
C John Sullivan – Sullivan’s 2nd year was better than his 3rd, but I’m guessing his 4th year will be the best yet. He sat behind Matt Birk as a rookie in 2008, then stepped into the starting lineup at center for the 2009 season and helped the Vikings offense to a 29.4 points-per-game average. In 2010 Sullivan’s season was disrupted by injuries and he dealt with the passing of his father. Certainly Sullivan won’t use those as excuses, but you have to think it impacted him in some form or another. Sullivan should enter the 2011 season in full health and he’ll have a shot to solidify his standing as the team’s anchor in the middle.
Tags: Asher Allen, Brian Robison, Chris Cook, Chris DeGeare, Everson Griffen, Jamarca Sanford, Jasper Brinkley, Jaymar Johnson, John Sullivan, Letroy Guion, Phil Loadholt, Ryan D'Imperio, Sidney Rice, Toby Gerhart, Tyrell Johnson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 39 Comments »
Aside from the fact that the Vikings suffered a deflating 21-3 loss to the NY Giants last Monday night, the defense played well as it has been since Leslie Frazier took over as interim head coach.
It may not look like any phase of the Vikings team played well by simply looking at the score, but when we take a deeper look into the game, it’s clear that the defense held its own throughout the contest.
Yes, the defense allowed a season-high 213 rushing yards, but if you take away both Giants RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw’s longest runs – 73 and 48, respectively – that number is reduced to 92 yards and 1 less TD since Bradshaw’s 48-yard run in the 3rd quarter was good for a score.
The secondary also played quite well, picking off Giants QB Eli Manning twice in the 1st half. The first INT came on the Giants 3rd play from scrimmage where Vikings CB Frank Walker jumped in front of Giants WR Hakeem Nicks on a seem route down the right hash, picking off Manning’s pass and returning it 10 yards to the NY 34. The turnover resulted in a 31-yard FG by Vikings K Ryan Longwell.
Manning’s second INT came on the Giants 2nd play of the 2nd quarter. Vikings CB Asher Allen established position in front of Giants WR Mario Manningham – who was running a short slant route at midfield – marking Manning’s 11th INT against the Vikings in 5 games. The INT gave the Vikings the ball at their own 41, but they were unable to convert the turnover into points.
To go with the pair of INTs, the Vikings defense allowed Manning to complete a pedestrian 22 of 37 passes (59.5%) for 187 yards and 1 TD. The 59.5 completion percentage was Manning’s 3rd worst of the season. That low completion percentage is a reflection of the Vikings front 4 putting pressure on the Giants QB for much of the game.
Vikings DT Kevin Williams posted a season-high 6 tackles (3 for loss) while DE Jared Allen increased his consecutive games with a sack streak to 5 and now has 9.5 on the season, furthermore establishing his worthiness of a 4th consecutive Pro Bowl nod.
Other positive numbers for the Vikings defense include 6 tackles for a loss for -19 yards while allowing a 23% (3 of 13) 3rd-down efficiency for the Giants.
Tags: Asher Allen, Frank Walker, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 130 Comments »
CB Asher Allen is listed on this week’s injury report with a concussion and he hasn’t participated in practice yet this week because of the injury. When asked about Allen, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress did not give an indication as to whether his 2nd-year CB would be able to play this weekend.
Childress did say, though, that rookie Chris Cook would start in Allen’s place should Allen be unable to suit up. Cook was impressive during offseason workouts and training camp and might have been in line to start if not for an injury late in the preseason. Since that injury, Cook has battled back, been injured again and battled back to the playing field from that injury as well.
If Allen is unable to go, the Vikings will rely on Cook, Lito Sheppard and Frank Walker to pickup the slack at CB opposite starter Antoine Winfield. They would also have the option to call up a CB from the practice squad (Cord Parks and Marcus Sherels).
Tags: Asher Allen, Chris Cook
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 22 Comments »
On Wednesday we’ll begin focusing on the huge NFC North showdown between the Vikings and Green Bay, which will be featured on NBC’s broadcast of Sunday night football. Before then, though, let’s empty out the notebook from last weekend’s 24-21 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Percy Harvin has been a sensational playmaker for the Vikings since he arrived last season as a 1st-round pick. But just as impressive as the actual plays he makes on the field is his ability to impact the Vikings in so many different ways. He’s a dynamic kick returner, a productive receiver and he can line up in the backfield and act as a RB.
As a rookie last season, Harvin finished tied for 1st among all NFL rookies in receiving yards (790) and receptions (60). He also ranked 2nd in the NFC and 7th in the NFL with his team record 2,081 all-purpose yards (1,156 kickoff return, 790 receiving, 135 rushing). In total, Harvin touched the ball 117 times and averaged 17.8 yards per touch.
Against Dallas on Sunday, Harvin returned a kickoff 95 yards for a TD, the 3rd kickoff return TD of his career – more than any other Vikings player in history. He also had 3 receptions for 21 yards and lined up in the backfield to take 2 handoffs and pickup 18 yards.
“We talked about that before,” Childress said when asked about Harvin’s versatility, “about Urban Meyer saying he may have been their best running back (at Florida). In fact, he takes a great look at runs coming out of the backfield; outside runs, inside runs. We’re just trying to put the ball in his hands and get him as many touches as we can.
Childress even said the team might take a look at Harvin as a punt returner at some point because of his natural return abilities and vision in setting up blocks.
Replacing Cedric Griffin
The loss of CB Cedric Griffin to another knee injury hurts the Vikings pass defense and his absence was felt against the Cowboys. All 3 of Dallas’ TDs came via the pass, and two of the scores came with CB Lito Sheppard in coverage.
“He was in coverage on the two touchdown throws,” Childress explained on Monday. “I think we felt like he could have played a little bit better technique on the one down in the end zone, maybe could have been in inside technique to deny that slant. He was about to make a great play on the ball, it hit his hands, then [Dez] Bryant makes a great play on the ball.”
It’s not necessary to give up on Sheppard, but the Vikings must correct some of the errors that led to those 3 TDs on Sunday. The Packers have every bit as talented a WR corps as the Cowboys, so expect Aaron Rodgers and Co. to look for a way to attack the Vikings secondary.
Hopefully they’ll try to attack Asher Allen. My sense is that the pieces are falling into place for Allen, who is currently in his second season with the Vikings but is now seeing more of the field on defense. I think Allen is close to making a big defensive play and the timing would be perfect if he could do it against Green Bay. There will still be some learning moments for Allen on defense, but I like what I saw from him against the Cowboys, particularly with him being in the right position at the right time. Eventually he’ll be able to play fast without thinking, and that’s when the big plays will start to happen.
Center of Attention
Staring C John Sullivan has been dealing with a pesky calf injury all season and it’s caused him to miss some games. On Sunday against Dallas he was active but Jon Cooper started in his place – perhaps a precautionary move on the Vikings part. Although I feel the Vikings have missed Sullivan at C this year, Cooper did a good job against a stout Dallas defensive front seven. Jay Ratliff is the Cowboys defender that was lined up directly over Cooper for most of the day and though he did get a sack, he only had 3 tackles. Given Cooper’s inexperience and size disadvantage against Ratliff, it could’ve been much, much worse.
“He did a good job with the line calls,” Childress said of Cooper. “That guy [Jay] Ratliff is a hell of a football player and he gave him fits right from that first pass that he threw complete to Percy. I think he ended up kind of jittering him a little bit at the line of scrimmage and hit Brett on that particular play. But he did a great job with the line calls. Extremely competitive in there. I liked what he did getting a promotion to that starting job.”
Tags: Asher Allen, Cedric Griffin, John Sullivan, Jon Cooper, Lito Sheppard, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 14 Comments »
The Vikings entered their season-opener against the New Orleans Saints with just 3 healthy CBs and a new starter at S in Husain Abdullah. Considering the Saints boasted last year’s #1 scoring offense and #4 passing offense and were also returning most of their starters, the Vikings secondary had a tall task at hand.
But Leslie Frazier’s defense rose to the challenge, holding Drew Brees and Co. under their average passing yards per game from a season ago and giving up just 14 points. The Vikings secondary was beaten for a long TD on the game’s 1st series and there were lapses in other junctures of the game, but by and large the Vikings secondary held their own.
A few days removed from the game, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress explained that he saw some positives from the secondary.
“I thought those guy did some good things, all the way around, whether it was Lito (Sheppard)playing at the right corner, Asher Allen swinging back and forth,” Childress said. “I thought they did some good things, particularly in terms of tackling. I saw Asher show up and be able to stick a knife in some things and Lito had a couple nice tackles as well. Antoine is Antoine.”
Both Winfield and Husain Abdullah had nice open field tackles against some of the Saints best playmakers, and Sheppard forced a key incompletion on a 3rd down pass to force a punt.
One of the reasons the Vikings had just 3 healthy CBs entering Week 1 is because 2nd round rookie CB Chris Cook injured his knee during the 4th preseason game. He’s expected to miss multiple weeks but he was able to return to the practice field on Monday with his teammates.
Childress indicated the rookie CB isn’t 100%, but it’s a good sign nonetheless that Cook is working his way back into the mix.
“He just went through some individual periods,” Childress said. “He doesn’t look completely comfortable. As always, it’ll be how he comes back in and treats and how he shows back up tomorrow. But he did some football specific stuff today out on the grass during individual (period).”
Tags: Asher Allen, Chris Cook, Husain Abdullah, Lito Sheppard
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 47 Comments »
Heading into training camp prevailing thought was that either Tyrell Johnson or Jamarca Sanford would start at S opposite Madieu Williams. As it can often be, prevailing thought was wrong. Husain Abdullah will be starting for the Vikings at S tonight.
In another change from what was assumed all week leading up to tonight’s season-opener between the Vikings and Saints, 2nd-year player Asher Allen will be starting at CB instead of 9-year veteran Lito Sheppard.
By all appearances, John Sullivan will be starting at C.
Tags: Asher Allen, Husain Abdullah, John Sullivan
Posted in All | 6 Comments »