Emptying Out The Monday Night Notebook

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 7, 2009 – 7:56 am

Just wanted to empty out the notebook from Monday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers before we begin to look ahead at this week’s game in St. Louis…

— Great job by the Vikings of cleaning up the penalties. You’ll remember that this was a problem area for the Vikings during the preseason. In 4 preseason games, the Vikings had 40 penalties enforced against them for a total of 286 yards, which averaged out to 10 penalties a game for losses of 71.5 yards a game, which looks like a nice scoring drive. Against the Packers on Monday night, the only 2 penalties were enforced against the Vikings. Credit goes to both the coaches and players for cleaning that up.

– I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that WR Sidney Rice was one of the hardest-working players during this past offseason. Well so was WR Jaymar Johnson, and it paid off for him on Monday night. Johnson, who saw his 1st regular season action because of the injury to WR Darius Reynaud, returned 2 punts for a total of 42 yards. His 1st return was an 18-yarder that advanced the ball from the Vikings 26-yardline to the 44. The 2nd return was even better, as Johnson advanced the ball 24 yards from his own 25-yardline to the 49-yardline.

– It’s more than appropriate that we give kudos to the Vikings offensive line for a great job of pass protection on Monday night. The unit was receiving criticism after 3 games for how many times QB Brett Favre was being sacked and hit, but against the Packers they kept Favre completely clean, allowing zero sacks and giving Favre enough time to complete 24 passes for 271 yards and 3 TDs.

“Chester (Taylor) had a great blitz pick up on the pass that Brett had to Sidney (Rice) in the end zone, with the guy coming off the edge,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said. “I thought the inside three guys did a nice job as well as the guys with the speed rushers and the tight ends and the backs are involved in that. They were just all on the same page and nobody got beat.”

– Jared Allen was the Vikings DE who had the best game on Monday night, tallying 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble while making QB Aaron Rodgers’ life completely miserable. But another DE had a good game also – Brian Robison got in there for 1.5 sacks and had a tackle for a loss. He’s a high-motor guy who has played in a few spots along the line. He can play inside on passing downs and he has also played both DE spots. And Childress says Robison is contributing to other areas of the team as well.

“Not just spot rushing, having that sack and jumping inside, but he’s doing a tremendous job and really has embraced what he does on the special teams,” the coach said. “In that return that Percy (Harvin) had last week he was running stride-for-stride with (Nate) Clemens down the field blocking him. So he’s doing nice things all the way around; in our return game, our coverage game.”

– The Vikings outscored their opponent once again in the 3rd quarter, besting Green Bay on Monday night 7-0. That runs the Vikings positive 3rd quarter scoring margin to 38-3. The Vikings 38 points in the 3rd quarter is the most of any team, and the Vikings rank 4th in overall scoring with 29.5 PPG.

I don’t know how what’s led to the positive 3rd quarter scoring margin, but I’ll give the coaching staff the credit for making good adjustments at halftime. After all, if the Vikings were being outscored 38-3 in the 3rd quarter, the coaching staff would be getting killed for it.

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WRs Rice, Johnson Work Among Minnesota’s Best

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 15, 2009 – 9:17 am

A dilemma many NFL fans face each year is deciding which team to root for in the Super Bowl, since most of the time their team isn’t 1 of the 2 teams battling for the Lombardi Trophy.

That dilemma was made much easier for Minnesotans last year when the Cardinals and Steelers faced one another because Larry Fitzgerald, a Minnesota native and former star out of Holy Angels, is a member of the Cardinals.

As Fitzgerald prepares for another NFL season, his 6th, he invited some colleagues (and a Vikings legend) to Minnesota to workout with him. Cris Carter, Green Bay WR Greg Jennings and Washington CB DeAngelo Hall are just a few of the individuals working with Fitzgerald.

And a couple of Vikings have gotten in on the action, according to Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.

According to the report, Fitzgerald was trying to get Sidney Rice to participate in some of the workouts. Recently, Rice decided to join, and he brought 2nd-year WR Jaymar Johnson with him.

Rice even posted a blog entry on his website about the workout.

“Cris gave me some good pointers about coming out of my breaks,” Rice says in his blog. “He pointed out that a big guy like me, my body can’t do the same things that smaller guys can do. He was showing me some great things.”

Rice also had an interesting line about Fitzgerald, saying “Larry was my favorite receiver when I was in high school, that’s why I wore No. 1, because that was the number he wore at Pitt. Larry is just a great dude, he’s been an All-Pro so many times but he just acts like a regular guy. He’s always willing to help out.”

As pointed out in the Star Tribune blog entry, Rice is entering an important season in 2009 as he recovers from a knee injury that sidetracked his 2008 season and tries to build upon his productive rookie season (2007). I wouldn’t be a surprised to see Rice play extremely well early in training camp because I’ve seen him here at Winter Park frequently during the offseason. And working with guys like Fitzgerald and Cris Carter will only improve Rice’s chances of having a great season in 2009.

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