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Goal Line Stand and WR Berrian Combine Again

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 7, 2009 – 7:29 am

 Last year against the Chicago Bears at the Metrodome, the Vikings defense made a dramatic goal line stand and the offense immediately answered with a 99-yard TD pass from QB Gus Frerotte to WR Bernard Berrian. On Monday night against another division rival – Green Bay – the Vikings defense and offense once again teamed up for a nice combo platter.

This time, however, it was a Berrian TD reception that set the table.

The Vikings began the 3rd quarter with the ball and QB Brett Favre marched the troops on an 8-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 31-yard scoring strike to Berrian, giving the Vikings a 28-14 lead and control of the game.

On the ensuing drive, Green Bay drove the field as well and got down to the Vikings 1-yardline after 11 plays. And that’s where the Vikings defense bowed up, executing a series of impressive plays that ended with a dropped pass in the endzone and a turnover on downs.

“Well it (the goal line stand) is impressive because it was from a variety of different looks,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress pointed out. “They dove the fullback one time and (Chad) Greenway makes a tremendous play to stop him one-on-one and not let him get the ball in the endzone. (Ben) Leber makes a great play, just a pursuit with a guy dragging underneath and actually causes a loss there. But they (Green Bay) were (in) everything from three tight ends to empty (sets) and they defended it all. So hats off to those guys.

“As long as you give us a little bit of ground to defend we are going to defend it. We are not going to concede.”

Following that chain of events, the Vikings and Packers exchanged a few punts, with Minnesota P Chris Kluwe eventually pinning Green Bay on their own 1-yardline. It was thereafter that DE Jared Allen sacked QB Aaron Rodgers in the endzone and increased the lead to 30-14.


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Greenway’s Day

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 21, 2009 – 11:48 am

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson won the FedEx Ground Player of the Week award for his performance against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. Vikings LB Chad Greenway may be the one bringing home a national weekly honor for his outstanding performance against the Detroit Lions in Week 2.

Against Detroit on Sunday, Greenway picked off Lions QB Matthew Stafford twice and also recovered a fumble. The Vikings scored 14 points off of those 3 Greenway-induced turnovers, and likely prevented the Lions from putting points on the board as well.

“Fortunately they threw a couple (passes) my way and I was able to catch them,” Greenway said. “Sometimes it’s just your day.”

Greenway was humble in the locker room following the game. The interceptions were more than a matter of Stafford just throwing passes toward Greenway. On his 1st interception, Greenway came all the way across the field (right to left) to pick off a pass intended for WR Calvin Johnson. It appeared Johnson was open and a completion would’ve resulted in a 1st down, but instead Greenway stuck his mitts out and hauled in the laser from Stafford, even showing enough quickness to turn upfield before going out of bounds.

On the 2nd interception, Greenway was back-peddling into what appeared to be zone coverage. Stafford tried to go over the middle to TE Brandon Pettigrew, but Greenway jumped to grab the pass before it got to Pettigrew, and then #52 returned it 36 yards to the Lions 16-yardline to setup WR Percy Harvin’s 3-yard TD reception.

During the 2008 season, Greenway displayed his ability to get to the ball carrier by tallying a team-high 150 tackles. So far in 2009, Greenway continues to chase down opposing ball carriers (7 tackles), but he’s also making other plays all over the field.

Impact plays such as INTs and fumble recoveries are the type of plays, along with a 150-tackle season, that eventually put players in the Pro Bowl. As a prideful player, Greenway has the personal goal of making it to a Pro Bowl one day.

On Sunday in Detroit, he got a little bit closer.


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Childress: Backup LB Battle “Neck and Neck”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 26, 2009 – 2:42 pm

We mentioned yesterday in this space that the 3rd CB/nickel back position battle is still up in the air. Another position battle that’s been hotly contested since OTAs and through both training camp and the preseason is the backup LB position.

Reserves Jasper Brinkley, Heath Farwell, Erin Henderson, David Herron and Kenny Onatolu are the candidates to backup starters Chad Greenway, E.J. Henderson and Ben Leber, and at this point Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress characterized the position battle as “neck and neck.”

“It’s a hell of a battle; it’s neck and neck,” Childress said after preactice on Wednesday. “That’s what makes you a good football team. We’ve got guys striving at the linebacker position and striving at the special teams positions. It makes you better.”

As Childress mentioned, a big factor in determining who makes the final 53-man roster heading into Week 1 of the regular season will be special teams and which of the candidates can best display their ability to contribute in multiple phases of the game.

Childress also said on Wednesday that he has yet to decide on a 2nd-half QB rotation for Monday night’s game at Houston; he already said earlier in the week that Brett Favre will play the 1st half.


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Scout.com’s Preseason All-NFC North Defensive Team

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 24, 2009 – 7:36 am

The Vikings were well-represented with 4 players on Scout.com’s preseason All-NFC North offensive team. On Thursday, the site unveiled it’s All-NFC North defensive team, and 3 Vikings were recognized. You can view the team by clicking here.

Even when looking at the division’s top defensive players with an objective lens, one would have to wonder how only 3 Vikings could be recognized. There are probably 3 players along the defenisve line alone that rank among the division’s best – Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. So where does that leave players such as Antoine Winfield and the talented corps of starting linebackers that play in Minnesota?

Well, if you check out the link to Scout.com’s team, you’ll see that Allen and Kevin Williams are included, and so is Winfield. Absent from the list is Pat Williams, with Chicago’s Tommie Harris in his place instead.

Personally, Pat Williams would be a lock on my preseason All-NFC North defensive team. He’s coming off 3 consecutive Pro Bowls and he is literally the anchor of a unit that has led the league in rushing defense for 3 straight years. Nothing against Harris, who has been a great player over the past 3 seasons (when healthy), but the absence of Pat Williams on this team seems to be a fairly significant sum.

Having said that, Scout.com did a nice job picking 3 LBs. Although no Vikings are on the list, the 3 players who are named – Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and Julian Peterson – are legitimate players. You are familiar with Briggs and Urlacher, but those of you not familar with Peterson will become familiar with him this year. He was acquired by Detroit in the offseason via trade with the Seattle Seahawks and he will strengthen a group of NFC North LBs who already comprise a very strong group.

Just a few of the NFC North LBs who didn’t quite make the list include Chad Greenway, A.J. Hawk, E.J. Henderson, Ben Leber and Ernie Sims.


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