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Greenway Awards Equipment Grant To Hometown High School

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 1, 2013 – 5:58 am

chad

Vikings LB Chad Greenway was named to the USA Football 2012 All-Fundamentals Team this past January, and as part of the award the community-conscious Greenway received an equipment grant valued at $1,500 from USA Football to donate to the youth or high school program of his choice.

Last week it was announced that Greenway will donate the grant to his high school  alma mater’s football program – Mount Vernon (SD) High School.

“We had a genuine need to upgrade our equipment for safety reasons, and this grant not only allows us new compression girdles and knee pads but frees up money to be spent in other areas as well,” Mount Vernon High School Athletics Director Eric Denning said. “We are very ecstatic to receive the grant as it will provide the safest equipment for all boys in our football program.”

More on USA Football
USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the Vikings and the NFL. The USA All-Fundamentals Team honors 26 NFL players who employ proper technique, particularly when blocking and tackling, which fosters inherent safety benefits and better on-field performance.

Employing core football fundamentals advances a youth player’s performance and safety, particularly in the areas of blocking and tackling. USA Football has educated more than 100,000 youth football coaches in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., through its online courses and single-day coaching clinics. Approximately 3 million American children age 6-14 play organized tackle football, placing it among the country’s most popular youth sports.

 


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Rudolph, Walsh And Teammates Help NFC 62-35 Route AFC

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 27, 2013 – 9:37 pm

Kyle Rudolph had a 3-yard TD reception and led the NFC with 122 receiving yards on 5 receptions. Blair Walsh hit FGs of 48 and 26 yards to go along with 8 PATs. Chad Greenway had a fumble recovery. Jerome Felton had a 4th quarter TD run. It was a good night for Vikings at the Pro Bowl.

Those contributions plus many others from the rest of the NFC squad led to a 62-35 victory over the AFC in the Pro Bowl. Rudolph’s TD came from NY Giants QB Eli Manning and it gave the NFC a commanding 31-14 lead as the squads went into the locker rooms at halftime. Felton’s TD came midway through the 4th quarter, with the game out of hand, and it gave the NFC its 62nd point and a 34-point lead.

Matt Kalil played much of the game while rotating between LT and RT, while Jared Allen also played much of the game and emphasized the importance of players participating in the game when voted in by their peers during a sideline interview during the 4th quarter. It’s notable that Allen made the statement because he’s played through a shoulder injury all season and did so once again during the Pro Bowl.

Adrian Peterson, who won Pro Bowl MVP honors after the 2007 season, had 5 carries for 13 yards and made a quick exit.

The NFC’s victory this year marks their 4th in the last 6 games.

Other standouts from the game included:

– Packers C Jeff Saturday snapping the ball to Broncos QB Peyton Manning. Saturday played for the NFC and Manning for the AFC, but the snap was a special moment because the two were long-time teammates with the Indianapolis Colts, and Saturday is set to retire this year.

– NY Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul intercepting a pass intended for Houston DE JJ Watt and thrown by Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck.

– Bengals WR AJ Green grabbing 7 receptions for 119 yards and 3 TDs.

– NY Giants QB Eli Manning going 16 of 23 for 191 yards and 2 TDs.

– Seattle QB Russell Wilson going 8 of 10 for 98 yards and 3 TDs.

– Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson and NY Giants WR Victor Cruz combining for 16 receptions for 187 yards and 3 TDs.

– Saints QB Drew Brees throwing for 131 yards and 1 TD on 8 of 11 passing.


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Keeping Up With Postseason Award Recipients/Winners

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 11, 2013 – 1:06 pm

Now is the time of year when various media outlets and NFL teams vote on and/or select recipients for awards and honors. Several Vikings players have been recognized for many of these awards, so we’ll keep a running tally here to keep you up to date.

Vikings Team MVPs
Defense: LB Chad Greenway
Offense: RB Adrian Peterson
Special Teams: K Blair Walsh

Pro Bowlers
Jared Allen
Jerome Felton
Chad Greenway
Adrian Peterson
Blair Walsh

2012 Vikings Ed Block Courage Award Recipient: RB Adrian Peterson

2012 Vikings Community Man of the Year: RB Adrian Peterson

2012 Korey Stringer Good Guy Award: LB Chad Greenway

Pro Football Weekly
All-Pros: RB Adrian Peterson, C John Sullivan, K Blair Walsh
All-Rookie Team: LT Matt Kalil, S Harrison Smith, K Blair Walsh
NFL MVP: RB Adrian Peterson
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Adrian Peterson
Comeback Player of the Year: RB Adrian Peterson

2012 Maxwell Football Club
Bert Bell Professional Player of the Year: RB Adrian Peterson
Bert Bell Most Valuable Player: RB Adrian Peterson

2012 NFL 101 NFC Offensive Player of the Year: RB Adrian Peterson


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Team Names Greenway, Peterson, Walsh MVPs

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 10, 2013 – 1:21 pm

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman met with reporters on Thursday and one of the disclosures he made was that the team voted on its MVPs. This has been an annual ritual for the team the past several seasons, with a MVP being named on defense, offense and special teams. The awards are  voted on by Vikings coaches and players.

Chad Greenway was named the defensive MVP, Adrian Peterson was named the offensive MVP and Blair Walsh was named the special teams MVP. Greenway and Peterson recorded career-highs in tackles and rushing yards, respectively, and Walsh was arguably the NFL’s best kicker.

Spielman also said the team would announce its rookie of the year in April following this year’s draft at a special event. Who would you vote for as the Vikings Rookie of the Year for 2012? Let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.

Previous Team MVPs
2006: Antoine Winfield, Chester Taylor, Heath Farwell
2007: EJ Henderson, Adrian Peterson, Heath Farwell
2008: Kevin Williams, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Longwell
2009: Jared Allen, Brett Favre, Ryan Longwell
2010: Chad Greenway, Adrian Peterson, Chris Kluwe
2011: Jared Allen, Percy Harvin, Eric Frampton


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Can’t Get Away From Greenway

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 1, 2013 – 3:33 pm

Entering the 2012 season, Chad Greenway had led the Vikings in tackles for four consecutive seasons. Now you can make it five consecutive seasons.

Greenway finished the season with a career-best 184 tackles, 61 more than the next defender – rookie S Harrison Smith with 123. Only Scott Studwell has led the team in tackles for more consecutive seasons (6).

“He’s a very good tackler, those numbers speak to that,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said. “But his effort, as much as anything, has a lot to do with the number of tackles he gets. And then along with his instincts. He’s a very instinctive football player. He’s around the ball a lot, and he’s always hustling. He’s one of those guys going a hundred miles per hour, and he has a nose for the football. There are certain guys that just have a knack for being around the ball and making plays, and he’s one of those guys.”

The numbers support Frazier’s claim. Greenway had 10+ tackles in a game 10 times this season, including four consecutive games with double-digit tackles to start the season and a season-high 18 stops at Green Bay in Week 13. Greenway led the team in tackles in 8 of the team’s 16 regular season games, and he also tallied 8.0 tackles for loss, 8 passes defensed, 3.0 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble and 1 INT.

Greenway earned his first career Pro Bowl berth last season following a then career-best 174-tackle season. Although he topped that number this season and added a few splashy plays, Greenway was a snubbed from this year’s Pro Bowl.

But that’s okay. Greenway’s focus for now, as he and his teammates prepare for a playoff game at Lambeau Field on Saturday, is on a different “bowl” game 4.5 weeks.


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Greenway: “We Have To Take Advantage Of Our Home Field”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 30, 2012 – 1:35 pm

I made note of a quote from Vikings LB Chad Greenway earlier in the week when he appeared on NFL Network, and I haven’t found a spot to put it in the blog. Now is the time, with kickoff only hours away and the frenzied environment that will be Mall of America Field about to unfold.

The Vikings are 7-1 at home this season, and Greenway stressed the importance of the Vikings using their home-field advantage to their advantage against Green Bay this week.

“Obviously we have to take advantage of our home field,” Greenway said. “That’s the biggest thing for us. We know how good Green Bay is. They’re rolling right now. They’ve got things clicking late in the year and this is when you want to be playing your best football. I think for us it’s about going out there, using our home-field advantage. This is where we feel most comfortable…where we play our best ball. We’re looking forward to being in front of our home-field crowd and taking advantage of it.”


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A Win The Size Of Texas: Vikings Top Houston, Win 3rd Straight

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 23, 2012 – 5:41 pm

They say everything is bigger in Texas. And that includes NFL upsets. The Vikings earned a huge one on Sunday in the Lone Star State.

The Vikings marched into Reliant Stadium in Houston as 9-point underdogs to the Texans and proceeded to control the game from start to finish along the way to a convincing 23-6 victory that keeps them very much alive in the NFC playoff race.

After holding the Texans to a FG on their first possession, the Vikings responded by driving 78 yards in 8 plays to capture their first score of the game. The drive included a 20-yard dash by Adrian Peterson on the first play, a 27-yard catch-and-run by TE Kyle Rudolph on the third play and a 32-yard perfectly-placed floater from Christian Ponder to Michael Jenkins on 3rd and 6 from the Houston 34. Ponder found Rudolph from 3 yards out on 2nd and goal to finish the drive, and the Vikings led 7-3 midway through the opening quarter.

The teams exchanged punts on each of their next possessions, and then Houston started putting together another nice series near the end of the 1st quarter. But on 2nd and 7 from the Minnesota 28, RB Arian Foster took a handoff and was popped by Vikings LB Jasper Brinkley. Foster coughed up the ball, and Vikings CB AJ Jefferson was there to recover it. The turnover ruined a scoring chance for Houston and led to a Blair Walsh 56-yard FG roughly 5 minutes later; that FG for Walsh set an NFL record for 50-yard FGs in a season (9).

The Vikings extended their lead to 13-3 before halftime, and carried with them into the locker room momentum that would only grow in the 2nd half.

After driving 52 yards in 8 plays and converting a key 3rd and 10 from midfield, the
Vikings offense stalled at the Houston 21. Walsh came on to salvage the drive, converting his third FG of the game and giving the Vikings a 16-3 lead early in the 2nd half.

Neither offense could muster much production the rest of the 3rd quarter, but the Vikings were okay with that because they held a commanding lead and their defense was a step ahead of Houston’s offense all day. Even after a Vikings turnover on a J.J. Watt strip-sack gave Houston possession near midfield, Matt Schaub and Co. continued to be stymied by the Vikings defense.

Exchanged punts continued in the 3rd and early stages of the 4th quarter, finally setting the stage for Ponder to dagger the Texans. The Vikings took possession at their own 36 following a 65-yard punt by Houston. Ponder hit Rudolph for 9 yards on 1st down, then scrambled for 29 yards two plays later to bring the Vikings to the Houston 27. Peterson and Toby Gerhart carried the ball on the Vikings next 5 plays, and then Ponder found Jarius Wright on a shallow crossing pattern to convert a key 3rd-down conversion. A facemask penalty was tacked on, giving the Vikings a 1st and goal from the 3. Gerhart plunged in from there on the next play, finishing a 10-play, 64-yard drive and essentially finishing the Texans for the day.

The Vikings forced a fumble on the next series when Harrison Smith punched the ball from QB T.J. Yates, who had come on to replace starter Matt Schaub. The Vikings recovered and were able to run out the clock from there.

Ponder finished the day with a box score of 16-30 for 174 yards with 1 TD and 0 INTs. He played efficient, smart football, often times avoiding the disastrous play and frequently making a clutch throw to pick up a 1st down or take advantage of busted coverage. Peterson, who entered the game 294 yards from breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing mark of 2,105 yards, finished the day with 86 tough yards on 25 grinding carries. He is now 102 yards from the 2,000-yard mark and 207 yards from Dickerson’s record.

The Vikings defense put forth a sensational, dominating effort in limiting a Houston offense that averaged 25.5 points per game coming into the contest to no TDs and just 6 points during the entire game. Schaub was frustrated and ineffective all day, completing 18 of 32 passes for 178 yards with no TDs or INTs. Foster, the AFC’s leading rusher, finished the day with 15 yards on 10 carries; he left the game due to an irregular heartbeat, according to the Texans, and did not return. Smith was the Vikings leading tackler and he also had a forced fumble, while he, Jared Allen, Fred Evans and Antoine Winfield collected sacks.

A key moment in the game came late in the 3rd quarter and was registered by the Vikings defense. A 12-yard completion from Schaub to Kevin Walter put Houston on the Vikings 1. From there, though, Houston was unable to punch it in. Schaub threw incomplete on 1st down, #2 RB Ben Tate was stonewalled by Chad Greenway and Kevin Williams on 2nd down, and then Evans sacked Schaub on 3rd down. Houston had to settle for a FG, but it was a momentous victory for the Vikings at that point to surrender just the 3 points. The Texans never got closer than their own 40-yardline from there on out as the Vikings professionally put away their 3rd straight win.

The win is the Vikings 9th of the season, an impressive number considering they were 3-13 a year ago. With the win, the Vikings began their trek back to Minnesota with an extra bounce in their step and knowing they’ll have a shot to make the playoffs next week with a win over the Green Bay Packers at Mall of America Field and perhaps a little help from other teams in the NFC.


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Frazier Speaks To Greenway’s Leadership, Griffen’s Growth

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 20, 2012 – 7:18 am

Often times there’s nothing notable about a NFL head coach speaking in glowing terms about his players. Coaches spend countless hours mentoring, teaching and guiding their players to put them in a position to succeed both on the field and away from it, so you can’t blame them for having a positive viewpoint of their players when evaluating their performance.

While meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier spent several moments talking about a pair of his defensive players – LB Chad Greenway and DE Everson Griffen. Both are timely topics because Greenway is having perhaps his best season as a pro and Griffen is coming off a game in which he replaced an injured Brian Robison at left DE and made a huge play while doing so – a 29-yard INT returned for a TD in the 2nd quarter to break the game wide open.

That Frazier flattered both Greenway and Griffen while speaking about them on Wednesday is not surprising. But in complimenting those two individuals, Frazier did provide an interesting glimpse into how he and, presumably many within the organization’s leadership structure, had previously viewed each individual.

Let’s take a look at what Frazier was asked about each player, what may have led to that question being asked, and then what Frazier said in response…

Greenway
The question: “What stood out to you as you watched Chad Greenway on Sunday?”

The context: Greenway leads the NFL in tackles with 140, and has led the Vikings in tackles in 8 of the team’s 14 games. He did so once again last week in St. Louis with a game-high 14 stops, and he also registered a sack of QB Sam Bradford and a fumble recovery as well. In addition to performing well on the field, Greenway has taken a step forward in the leadership department during his 7th season.

Frazier: “I still go back to how much he’s grown as a leader. I felt like he would get better as a player over time, but what he’s brought to our defense and to our team from a leadership standpoint has really helped us to grow up over the course of the season. That has been big for me and the rest of the staff and our players. The football part, we thought he was going to be a good football player, that’s one of the reasons we franchised him a few years ago. But what he’s provided in the locker room as well as on the sidelines has really helped our team.”

Griffen
The question: “How have you seen Everson Griffen develop from a maturity standpoint since he’s come here?”

The context: The Vikings selected Griffen out of USC with a 4th-round pick (#100 overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft. I remember in the build-up to that draft, Griffen was considered by many to be a potential late 1st-round prospect, but definitely a 2nd-round prospect. But some also had concerns about him from a maturity standpoint, and that’s why his stock dropped a touch. I also remember Vikings Director of College Scouting Scott Studwell being interviewed after the Vikings selected Griffen, and he explained that Griffen had too much talent for the Vikings to pass on him in the 4th round, even despite the concerns some had about him. The Vikings deserve credit for including within their organizational structure a process that helps players mature once they enter the NFL. Having this in place allows the Vikings to consider selecting or signing “at-risk” players who some teams may shy away from because of those maturity concerns despite their immense talent. Griffen is a great example of this.

Frazier: “He’s come so far. I’ve talked to him about it often. Just seeing the maturation, even through this last offseason, being able to manage his free time, understanding what it means to be a pro and act like a pro, both at practice and in games as well, and off the field. He’s one of those guys, as we speak, that has really bought in to the right way of doing things. There are other guys you can talk to about, ‘Hey, this is how it has to be.’ And they’re going to do it their way, but he’s one of those guys who’s paid attention, he’s listened and, we always knew he was a good athlete, but just being able to manage some of the other things that were happening in his life. He’s a great example for a lot of young players that come into our League. He’s really grown up. The tragedy he faced this season, losing his mother, that was hard. But the way he responded, even in the midst of that tragedy, you have to take your hat off to him at how courageous he is. I told him I know his mother would be extremely proud of him and the way he’s handled himself. He’s come a long ways.”


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A Closer Look: What Is “Vikings” Football?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 19, 2012 – 1:15 pm

It may be wise to take with a grain of salt what NFL head coaches say during press conferences at this late stage of the season. And you can hardly blame a NFL coach for falling into patterns of hyperbole and coach speak given how frequently they’re required to meet with reporters and speak about their team.

With that being said, it’s not uncommon for a head coach to carry to press conferences the same theme(s) he promotes to his team. As an example, we’ve heard Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier emphasize repeatedly that he wants his team to play “smart, tough, disciplined” football. Whether speaking to his team in a meeting room or after the game in the locker room, or speaking with reporters at a press conference, Frazier calls this brand of play “Vikings football.”

Here’s a closer look at what defines Frazier’s brand of “Vikings Football”…

Smart
The Vikings game plans against St. Louis were clever. Bill Musgrave and the offensive staff mixed in play-action bootlegs early in the game to find holes in a Rams defense that was selling out to stop the run. St. Louis had some success neutralizing the run early – Adrian Peterson had just 8 yards on his first 8 carries – but eventually they had to account for the crossing routes and rollouts. Once they did that, the running game took over.

Defensively, Alan Williams and the Vikings defensive staff mixed blitzes, pressures and even zone blitzes into the game plan. Everson Griffen came away with a pick-6, Marcus Sherels and Antoine Winfield pressured the QB, and Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson registered sacks. When all was said and done, the Vikings had 5 pass breakups, 4.0 sacks and a fumble recovery. Greenway led the team in tackles (again) and role players such as Christian Ballard (1.0 sack), Griffen and Sherels all made an impact

Tough
The essence of blocking and, consequently, of running the football is moving the opponent in a direction against their will. The Vikings offensive line has been able to do that with regularity this season. It’s no secret the Vikings come into each game prioritizing the run game, and it’s also no secret that opponents come into each game with the top priority being stopping the run. The Vikings have seen defenses put as many as 9 players in the box, and yet Peterson and the Vikings offense still find a way to run the ball with effectiveness.

And how about the Vikings special teams? The combination of kick and coverage on kickoffs has been sensational for the Vikings this season. Blair Walsh has set a single-season record for touchbacks, but many times he’s asked to put hang time under his kicks so the coverage team can run down and, well, cover. The Vikings rank 6th in opponent’s average starting field position after a kickoff and they also rank 7th in opponent’s average punt returns.

Disciplined
It’s not often discussed or written about, but one of the Vikings most significant areas of improvement this season has been in the penalty department. Last season, the Vikings ranked 23rd in penalties accepted against (109). This year, the Vikings rank 4th with just 75 accepted penalties against them. The Vikings and Atlanta Falcons are the only two teams who’ve avoided double-digits in holding + offsides/false start penalties. Frazier credited two sources for this drastic improvement – his players and ownership.

“For us to be in the top five this season, credit to our players,” Frazier said. “We really emphasized in the offseason, but that’s not unlike any other year that we’ve emphasized it. Once again, our ownership really buying into some things that I talked with them about this offseason. I was talking with some other coaches around the League, trying to get some ideas. One of the coaches I talked with mentioned that they had tried to use officials in practice. And he saw a dramatic decrease in their penalties. I talked to our ownership about it because those guys (officials) aren’t going to volunteer their time, and they (ownership) were willing to support it. I think having those officials there has helped us, along with our players being more conscious. But they’re probably more conscious because those officials are there and they will call penalties in practice.”


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Vikings Go Old-School In 36-22 Win Over Rams

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 16, 2012 – 6:10 pm

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier has an affinity for old-school football after playing on one of the best defenses of all-time (the 1985 Chicago Bears) and with one of the greatest RBs of all-time (Walter Payton). As you can imagine, then, Frazier was quite pleased with his team following their big victory Sunday.

It’s a non-traditional final score, but the Vikings 36-22 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome was about as old-school as it gets. Another historic day by Adrian Peterson and a cleverly-crafted defensive game plan paced the Vikings winning effort, as they moved to 8-6 on the season and remained alive in the NFC playoff chase.

Peterson, who has been forward about his desire to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, looked like a man on a mission against the Rams. Constantly pushing through and dashing around Rams defenders, Peterson muscled and sprinted his way to 212 rushing yards and 1 TD on 24 carries. He had 2 runs of 50+ yards, including an 82-yard TD in the 1st half, and then his 54-yard outburst late in the game all but sealed the Vikings win.

As good as Peterson was on the day, he didn’t deliver the Vikings a victory on his own. The Vikings defense, which has come on of late, played perhaps its best game against the Rams. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams and his staff put together a game plan that held St. Louis to just 7 points in the 1st quarter and just 5.6 yards per play for the game.

Rather than relying on a 4-man rush from the defensive line and dropping 7 in coverage, the Vikings mixed up their calls and kept the Rams guessing. A quick glance at the stat sheet will illustrate the way the Vikings varied their defensive attack: defensive linemen Letroy Guion and Kevin Williams each had a pass defensed; linebackers Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson each had a sack; and Everson Griffen dropped into coverage and came away with a 29-yard INT return.

When all was said and done, the Vikings had 5 pass breakups, 4 sacks and a fumble recovery. Greenway led the team in tackles (again) and role players such as Christian Ballard (1.0 sack), Griffen and Marcus Sherels all had an impact on defense.

The Vikings running game and defense were key in the victory, but credit also goes to QB Christian Ponder for a well-managed game. Ponder was efficient and careful, connecting on 17 of 24 passes for 131 yards with no TDs or INTs; he also had a 5-yard rushing TD in the 1st quarter. Blair Walsh also played a key role, hitting a NFL record 3 FGs of 50+ yards and going 5 of 5 on the day.

It was a huge win for the Vikings because it keeps them alive in the NFC playoff chase and improves their record in the NFC should that come into tie-breaking procedures. Now the team will sit back, watch the rest of the NFC games unfold late Sunday, and prepare for a game against one of the AFC’s best next week – the Houston Texans.


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