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Antoine Winfield, WR Bryan Walters Impress During OTA #1; Other Observations

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 29, 2012 – 1:39 pm

The Vikings held their first Organized Team Activity (OTA) of the 2012 offseason program on Tuesday, working for roughly 90 minutes on the outdoor practice fields at Winter Park under mostly cloudy skies and windy conditions. The energy level is ramped up around the facility as the team begins Phase 3 of the offseason program.

Now is not the time to put much stock into depth charts and tracking which players are working with the first-stringers and which players are working with the second-stringers. Coaches experiment with several different combinations for a variety of reasons at this point in the offseason, so we’ll let others worry about all of those projections.

There were plenty of other observations to make, however. Here are a few notes I scribbled out while watching Tuesday’s practice…

– One of the first players to stand out in my eyes was CB Antoine Winfield. It was great to see him back on the field after he played in just 5 games last season. Winfield showed no signs of being slowed now, though, as he looked spry during individual drills and very sound during team offense vs. team defense. Winfield had a bounce in his step around the facility before and after practice, and it’s clear he still has explosion in his legs while on the field.

– QB Christian Ponder was sharp early in practice, displaying accuracy and command during the individual and group installation periods. He spread the ball around to several receivers, encountered no QB-center exchange issues with C John Sullivan and even found WR Jerome Simpson on a deep pass. After working through some issues midway through practice, Ponder bounced back nicely at the end of the 7-on-7 drill to cap a solid first practice.

– Speaking of Simpson, it’s a treat to watch him chase down a deep pass. There are times when the QB takes a short drop and launches a pass downfield that looks to be grossly overthrown. But Simpson usually finds a way to track the ball down and make a play on it. You can see that Ponder already has trust in Simpson’s ability to make plays downfield, and that trust and play-making potential will only grow the more they practice together.

Click here to check out a photo gallery from OTA #1.

– A group of collegiate officials were at Tuesday’s practice and will be officiating OTAs for the Vikings.

– My sense is LB Erin Henderson is poised for a breakout season. He now has one year as a full-time starter under his belt and I think he’ll only improve with another offseason of work at Winter Park before his second year as a full-time starter. Henderson is a player who seems to be around the ball a lot, and I’m hopeful he’ll make the improvement from a player who is around the ball a lot, to a player who makes big plays around the ball frequently.

– The Vikings WR position will be a fun one to watch this offseason, training camp and preseason. There are currently 11 WRs on the roster, and I’m guessing there will be some tough cuts later this summer. Bryan Walters, acquired by the Vikings earlier this offseason, impressed me on Tuesday. At 6-0, 190-pounds, Walters is a diminutive receiver with sure hands and crisp route-running abilities. As well as he could perform at WR, I’m also curious to see if he’ll be in the punt return rotation because that would increase his stock. He’ll be a player to watch this summer as the team prepares for the 2012 season. Walters is a 2-year veteran out of Cornell.

– There has never been a doubt in my mind that RB Toby Gerhart could shoulder the load full-time for an NFL team, and after seeing him on Tuesday that continues to be the case. Whether he has to do just that with the Vikings remains to be seen, but if he is charged with that responsibility the Vikings will still be in good shape. Gerhart looks very fit, and I can say with certainty that I would not like to be the one trying to break down and tackle him as he runs downhill.

– Another spot that is sure to see good competition this offseason for a starting position is DT next to Kevin Williams. Williams has been missing a solid, consistent running mate since the other half of the Williams Wall – Pat Williams – was no longer with the team. Time will tell which players the coaches tab to compete for that spot, but I don’t think there will be a shortage of candidates. Vikings GM Rick Spielman and his scouting staff have done a nice job of acquiring players to try and fill that gap. Both Letroy Guion and Fred Evans were brought back and could be candidates. And from the looks of it, several others, including 7th-round pick Trevor Guyton (6-3, 280 pounds), Tydreke Powell (6-3, 325) and Terrell Resonno (6-3, 305) will be in the mix. I left DTs Chase Baker and Christian Ballard off that list only because I could see them playing at Kevin Williams’ spot in a reserve role, but the Vikings coaching staff could certainly ask either of them to step into the competition as well.

Quick Hitters
– WR Devin Aromashodu was hot during 7-on-7 drills and was a favorite target of young QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
– RB Jordan Todman, preparing for his 2nd season out of Connecticut and acquired by the Vikings late last year after spending much of his rookie season with San Diego, is impressively fast. He burst through a hole during team offense vs. team defense drills today and his explosion was remarkable.
– I saw LB Larry Dean around the ball a lot on Tuesday.
– Rookie LB Corey Paredes made one of the best defensive plays on Tuesday, nabbing a Joe Webb pass out of thin air and returning it for a TD.


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Vikings Push Lions To Limit, Lose On Last Play 34-28

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 11, 2011 – 5:26 pm

You wouldn’t have thought it was possible in the 1st quarter, when the Lions were firmly in control and held a 21-0 advantage at one point, but the Vikings had a ton of fight in them on Sunday at Ford Field and they gave the Lions more than they could handle.

Unfortunately, though, giving the Lions more than they wanted to handle wasn’t enough. Detroit, a team that came in having lost 3 of their last 4 and 5 of their last 7 after starting 5-0, was able to escape the game clinging to a 34-28 victory as a last-second play from the 1-yardline went awry for the Vikings and the officials missed a severe facemask infraction against Lions LB DeAndre Levy (just look at the photo on the home page of vikings.com to see how severe and obvious an infraction it was).

There is so much to go over from this game that presenting it in paragraph fashion will not be effective. Here’s a quick summary of the game, with many details missing but the main story explained…

– A pretty good looking start quickly turned into an awful series of events for the Vikings. The Lions won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. The Vikings defense forced a punt after giving up just 1 first down. The Vikings offense took over 1st and 10 on the 10-yardline. On the Vikings first offensive snap, Lions DE Cliff Avril got around the edge of RT Phil Loadholt and Vikings QB Christian Ponder was not able to step up into the pocket quick enough. Avril batted the ball from Ponder’s hands and then LB Stephen Tulloch pounced on the ball to score a TD.

– Things got much worse before they got better for the Vikings. Ponder was intercepted by CB Alphonso Smith on the next possession, and Detroit turned the turnover into a TD just two plays later when QB Matthew Stafford found WR Titus Young down the left sideline for a 57-yard score. The Vikings punted the ball away on their next possession, and Stafford struck again 3 plays later, this time finding TE Brandon Pettigrew for a 12-yard score. At that point the score was 21-0 and it looked like the game would be no contest.

– But Ponder and the Vikings showed life. The rookie QB drove his team down the field – 80 yards in 10 plays – and capped the drive by finding TE Visanthe Shiancoe for a 7-yard score.

– Things looked as if they’d get better on the next drive, as the Vikings forced another Lions punt. Two plays later, though, Ponder threw another INT. This one was returned by Smith for a 30-yard TD, and the Lions lead was 28-21. Once again, Ponder responded by driving down the field for a TD. After another 10-play drive, this one for 60-yards, Ponder found WR Percy Harvin for a 12-yard score, and we had a game at 28-14 midway through the 2nd quarter.

– The teams exchanged 3 punts after the Harvin TD, and the Vikings had the ball 1st and 10 from their own 16 looking to pull to within 7 points before halftime. But RB Lorenzo Booker lost a fumble and the Lions were able to turn it into 3 points just before halftime to take a 31-14 lead into the locker room.

– On the first drive of the 2nd half, Ponder threw another INT, his 3rd of the game, and after that was replaced by Joe Webb. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier explained after the game that the move to Webb was the result of Ponder not being able to operate normally because of his hip injury. Going forward, Frazier explained, Ponder will be the starter. For the rest of the game, though, it was Webb’s ballgame. And Webb answered the bell, in a big way.

– The Vikings defense bowed up in the 2nd half, paving the way for Webb to mount a furious comeback. Webb got the party started late in the 3rd quarter by dashing through and away from the Lions defense for a 65-yard TD run. It was the longest run ever by a Vikings QB and the 6th-longest run ever by an NFL QB. More important, though, is the fact that it pulled the Vikings to 31-21 with just over 19 minutes to play in the game.

– The Vikings defense continued to shut down the Lions offense, holding Detroit to just 3 points in the entire 2nd half. After Jason Hanson’s 4th-quarter FG to make the score 34-21, Webb drove the Vikings down the field – 12 plays, 60 yards – and found RB Toby Gerhart for a 2-yard score. That made the score 34-28 in favor of the Lions.

– The Vikings defense answered the bell yet again on the next drive, forcing the Lions to punt the ball and opening up an opportunity for Webb to finish the comeback effort. Down 21-0 and 28-7 at various points in the game, the Vikings were poised to stun the Lions and their home crowd by notching a game-winning TD on the game’s final drive.

– Using his legs and his throwing arm, Webb drove the Vikings from their own 20 to the Lions 1. Facing a 1st and goal from the 1 with 9 seconds to play, the Vikings called a fade/fade stop option route to TE Kyle Rudolph, who faced single coverage split wide left. Rudolph was covered right after the snap, and as Webb attempted to extend the play by scrambling left, Levy grabbed his facemask and forced a fumble. Detroit recovered the fumble all the way down the field at the Minnesota 43, but the referees failed to call the egregious penalty. Had the officials made the right call, the Vikings would’ve had an untimed down from inside the 1-yardline with no time on the clock. But because the referees missed the call – which should’ve been easy to see because the facemask infraction caused the fumble – the game was over and the Lions escaped with a victory.

There’s so much more to go over from this game, including discussion about the Ponder/Webb situation, the tremendous play of DE Jared Allen (3.0 sacks), Toby Gerhart performing well in place of superstar Adrian Peterson, and the surge in play we’ve seen from DT Kevin Williams over the last several weeks. We’ll get to all of that over the next 2 days or so on the vikings.com Blog as we digest this game and get ready to move on to next week’s matchup with the New Orleans Saints, who will visit Mall of America Field on Sunday.


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Recent History Suggests There Is Still Plenty On The Line For Vikings

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 30, 2011 – 10:22 am

Sitting at 2-9 and with plenty of shortcomings suppressing the team’s ability to display improvement, many are inclined to castaway the Vikings final 5-game stretch of the 2011 season as a meaningless period of time. But a quick stroll down memory lane suggests that there still is plenty on the line for the Vikings as they begin the final stretch of the season, a stretch that includes 3 of the final 5 games at home.

In the 2002 season, which was Mike Tice’s first full season as Head Coach, the Vikings limped out of the gates to a 0-4 start and eventually wound up sitting at 3-10 after 13 weeks. But, just as Leslie Frazier’s team has done this year, that Vikings team didn’t quit on the season. They finished strong by collecting wins in their final 3 contests, knocking two teams – the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins – out of playoff contention along the way.

The benefit of playing hard and not surrendering at the end of the 2002 season paid dividends even in 2003 for the Vikings. With the 9th overall pick in the 2003 draft, the Vikings selected DT Kevin Williams, and then in the 2nd round they pounced on LB E.J. Henderson. Add WR Nate Burleson (3rd round) to a mix that also included Matt Birk, Cory Chavous, Daunte Culpepper, Jim Kleinsasser and Randy Moss, and the Vikings were off to a 6-0 start the following season.

Had the Vikings simply given up at the end of the 2002 season, would the same events have unfolded? Perhaps. But probably not. If the Vikings continue to play hard for the final 5 games of this season and find a way to rattle off a few wins, will the same kind of success follow in 2012? It’s not a guarantee, but it only increases the probability.

The point is not to sweep the underachieving results of 2011 under the rug. No one, from people within Winter Park to the passionate fans that allocate their time, emotion and money to the team, expected or deems acceptable the results of this season. But the key for the Vikings now is not what happened earlier. The key is to fix it and make sure the 2012 season is as exciting as the 2011 season was disappointing.


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Happy Thanksgiving, Vikings Fans

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 24, 2011 – 8:00 am

Happy Thanksgiving, Vikings fans. We here at vikings.com and the Vikings Entertainment Network hope you are able to enjoy Thanksgiving and football with family, loved ones and/or friends today.

As a side dish to a big Thanksgiving meal, here are some fun facts about your favorite football team as they prepare to play the Washington Redskins this Sunday.

– DE Jared Allen needs just 3.5 more sacks to reach the 100 sack mark for his career.

– With 4 more receptions WR Percy Harvin can move into 4th all time in Vikings history for most catches in first 3 seasons.

– Vikings LB Chad Greenway recorded 20 tackles last week against the Raiders, which is tied for 4th most in Vikings history. Greenway is averaging 10.7 tackles a game this season and is on pace to set a career-high in tackles ( has 107, career-high is 150 in 2008).

– Vikings QB Christian Ponder has shown grace under pressure by completing 63.3 % of his passes on 3rd down in his action this season, ranking as the 7th-best completion percentage among QBs with 20+ 3rd-down attempts on the season. Inside the red zone, Ponder has gone 8-of-9 with 3 TDs to lead the NFL among all passers in red zone completion percentage. Ponder’s 3 red zone TDs have gone to 3 diff erent players- Visanthe Shiancoe, Adrian Peterson and fellow rookie Kyle Rudolph.

– DE Kevin Williams had a 54-yard INT return for a TD on 9/9/07. 1 of his Vikings-record 4 defensive TDs.

– Over the last 5 years, the Vikings have had one of the best running attacks in the NFL, rushing for 10,263 yards. The team’s 138.7 yards per game average ranks #1.

– The Falcons and Vikings have had a common head coach, the Viking franchise’s 1st head coach Norm Van Brocklin who coached the Vikings from 1961-66 and went on to coach the Falcons from 1968-74.


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Kevin Williams, Teammates Bowl For Charity

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 24, 2011 – 6:00 am

Vikings DT Kevin Williams, along with several teammates, Vikings alumni and Viktor the Viking, were bowling for charity this past Monday night. The Vikings contingent was at PINZ Entertainment Center in Oakdale, and together with a large gathering of Vikings fans raised money to support the Vikings Children’s Fund (VCF).

The event, which was sold-out, was held for the 17th consecutive year and continues to be a highlight event surrounding the VCF.

Participants who bought tickets bowled two games with a member of the Vikings family, received a Vikings-themed gift, met several current players and the team’s mascot, had the opportunity to participate in a silent auction, and watched the Monday Night Football game on PINZ Entertainment Center’s bevy of big-screen TVs.

The Vikings Children’s Fund is a means for Vikings players, coaches, staff and their families to focus their community support. Their mission is to combine their time and resources, through events and appearances, with that of the corporate community and fans in an effort to support the many needs of children in the Upper Midwest.


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Frazier Says Sunday Was Kevin Williams’ “Best Game Of The Season”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 21, 2011 – 4:12 pm

It was a tale of two halves for the Vikings defense on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. In the 1st half, the Raiders racked up 186 yards of offense, collected 13 first downs, converted 4 of 6 third downs, and scored 24 points. In the 2nd half, though, the Vikings defense clamped down on Oakland and surrendered just 115 yards, 9 first downs, 1 of 8 third-down attempts and only 3 points.

According to Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier, veteran DT Kevin Williams deserves much of the credit for the turnaround in defensive performance.

“Without question, his best game of the season,” Frazier said on Monday. “He was dominant. I told him earlier this morning I wish we could have finished that game off just for him because he deserved a game ball for his performance yesterday. It was just a dominant performance from the Kevin we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing, and yesterday it was on display.”

Williams finished the game with 12 tackles, including 2 tackles for a loss, and he also had a sack. There’s also no doubt that he made a difference even when he didn’t notch a statistic because he commands double-teams regularly, which frees up other defenders to make plays (LB Chad Greenway had 20 tackles and a sack).

But Williams’ contributions on Sunday went beyond the football field. Frazier shared with reporters that it was Williams who lit a fire under the defense in the locker room at halftime, with the Vikings trailing 24-7.

“He couldn’t be blocked one-on-one, destroyed their guard when he was rushing the passer, he was very disruptive and just a great example for the rest of our guys,” Frazier said. “And I think that had a lot to do with why our defense played as well as they did in the second half, limiting their offense to three points and playing on the short field. Kevin had a lot to do with that. He said a few words to our entire team prior to going back out at the second half. He really backed up his words with the way he played yesterday.”

Frazier wouldn’t go into specifics of what Williams said to the team at halftime, other than to indicate it was a “good” message, and a message to which the team definitely responded.

“It was a good message, but I don’t want to into it,” Frazier explained. “It was a good message, the guys responded. They played much better in the second half. Going into that half, the way that that last four or five minutes of the second quarter ended, that could have been a disastrous second half. But the guys stood up and they fought and put ourselves in a position to have a chance to win that game. A lot of that has to do with the leaders that are still on this team. Although we’re 2-8, there are guys in that locker room that are fighting to get a win.”


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Four “Under The Radar” Players In Tonight’s Matchup

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 16, 2011 – 10:41 am

We’ve spent the four days talking about tonight’s Vikings-Bears matchup on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and the discussion has focused on everything from the importance of special teams, to Chicago’s pass protection against the Vikings pass rush, to the pair of premier RBs in this matchup with Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson both among the NFL’s top rushers so far this season.

Through it all, though, there are four players about whom we haven’t talked enough. So, we’ll talk about them right now. There are two on each team, and we’ll start with the Vikings…

TE Visanthe Shiancoe and DT Kevin Williams
The Vikings best offensive weapon through 5 games has been Peterson, and he’s played well against the Bears in his career. So we can expect to see a lot of Peterson early in the game. But at some point the Vikings will have to supplement their ground attack with a strike or two through the air, and that’s where Shiancoe enters the picture. No, he’s not the Vikings top option in the passing game, but that might be precisely why he can be a factor tonight. With only 11 catches and 1 TD on the season, Chicago may pay more attention to other threats, such as Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins. You can also be sure the Bears will make sure one of their former players – either Devin Aromashodu or Bernard Berrian – doesn’t burn them. I’m guessing Chicago will play a lot of Cover 2 defense, which is customary for them, and I’m thinking they’ll load up to stop the run. This could create plenty of one-on-one opportunities for Shiancoe, and he’s due to win a few of those matchups and find the endzone.

With Williams, my thinking is the soggy field and poor footing could slightly limit DE Brian Robison’s advantage over new starting RT Lance Louis. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Robison over Louis, but there’s no doubt Robison is better on a fast surface. The slow surface also takes a bit of Jared Allen’s advantage away because he, too, is a speed rusher off the edge who likes a fast track. That sets the stage for Williams, one of the NFL’s top interior defensive lineman and a guy who is hitting full stride right now after missing the first two games of the season. Chicago’s starting center used to be a guard, their left guard used to be an offensive tackle, and their new starting right guard is listed as a guard/center and is coming off a broken hand. Advantage: Kevin Williams

LB Lance Briggs and WR Dane Sanzenbacher
One name is familiar to you (Briggs), and the other probably is not (Sanzenbacher). But both are important pieces to the puzzle for Chicago. An argument can be made that Briggs is the best outside LB in the NFL. He’s very good against the run and he can drop back and play the pass also. Briggs has finished 1st or 2nd in tackles for the Bears every year since 2004, he’s earned 6 straight Pro Bowls and he’s accumulated the following impressive list of statistics: 10.5 sacks, 12 INTs, 48 pass break ups, 12 forced fumbles, 8 fumble recoveries and 66 tackles for a loss. That stat line illustrates just how complete a player Briggs is for this defense.

Sanzenbacher is a rookie and he’s listed as the 5th WR on Chicago’s depth chart, but don’t let any of that disguise his importance and potential impact on this team or on tonight’s game. It’s been described to me that Sanzenbacher now runs the pass routes that TE Greg Olsen used to run in this offense, and that’s an important point because Olsen had success against the Vikings during his Bears career. In 8 career games against the Vikings, Olsen had 31 receptions for 313 yards and 3 TDs. And over the last 2 seasons against the Vikings (4 games), Olsen never had fewer than 3 receptions in a game and he had 2 TDs. Sanzenbacher is not the same player as Olsen, obviously, but he can have a similar or greater impact if the Vikings don’t respect him and cover him up.


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Frazier Says Kevin Williams Is Back To Full Speed

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2011 – 3:04 pm

It was no coincidence that the Vikings defense registered 5 sacks against a team that had allowed zero sacks previously in the same game that DT Kevin Williams made his return to the lineup. After missing the first two weeks of the 2011 regular season, Williams returned in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions and the result was not pleasant for QB Matthew Stafford.

Williams is known as a premier run-stopper in the NFL because he teamed with Pat Williams for several seasons to form the “Williams Wall.” That DT tandem helped the Vikings rank #1 against the run from 2006-08 and then #2 against the run in 2009. But Williams is also a huge factor in the team’s pass rush, largely because he commands a double-team nearly every snap, which yields other players along the defensive line one-on-one matchups.

When you have DEs such as Jared Allen and Brian Robison in one-on-one matchups, you’re going to get to the QB. Allen and Robison have 13.0 sacks between them, which is the most of any NFL DE tandem so far this season.

Williams’ two-game absence required him to be away from the team entirely, including at the training facility during the week. Since he’s returned, though, Williams has quickly gotten up to speed in terms of his play on the field, his level of conditioning and in his battle with a foot injury that’s bothered him since training camp.

“No problems,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said. “He doesn’t complain about it. He doesn’t talk about it anymore.”

Opposing offenses must be complaining. Williams is a player that opponents must account for on each snap because of his ability to penetrate the backfield and be a disruptive force. And even when he’s double-teamed, Frazier says, he can still get the job done.

“Now that he is really where he needs to be physically, I think it’s going to be a lot tougher for people even when they do try to double him,” Frazier explained. “He’s one of those guys, even when people have double-teamed him in the past, that didn’t necessarily stop him from doing what he had to do. I think he’s about back to that point now.”


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Notes From Pagac Press Conference; Robison, K. Williams Playing Well

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 29, 2011 – 12:44 pm

A lot of you have commented here on the vikings.com Blog recently that Vikings Defensive Coordinator Fred Pagac does not take a loquacious approach to his weekly press conferences. It’s true, Pagac does tend to hold his cards close to the vest.

But hey, he’s been a successful coach for a long time and you don’t keep at job as an assistant coach at Ohio State University for 23 seasons by divulging secrets and strategies. On top of that, let’s give him credit for not being one who spews out hyperbole just to pass time and give the standard, run-of-the-mill quote.

With all that said, there were a few interesting notes to come out of Pagac’s press conference on Thursday. Here they are…

Not surprised by Robison
There’s always a natural level of concern when a team loses a starter, and that was certainly the case for Vikings fans when DE Ray Edwards left the club via free agency this past offseason. Brian Robison, who had been an important member of the DL rotation since entering the League as a rookie in 2007, was tabbed as the replacement and he was even given a contract extension during the offseason.

Concerns about Robison not being able to replace Edwards have reduced, if not gone away, after the first 3 games. Robison is off to a good start in 2011, having tallied 11 tackles and 1.0 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and 1 pass defensed. He’s gotten to the opposing QB constantly and has 10 QB hits.

Robison’s fast start may surprise some, but it doesn’t surprise his defensive coordinator.

“No, Brian Robison’s a good football player,” Pagac said. “He’s one of our top fifteen, sixteen guys on our football team. We expect those things out of Brian. He’s doing a good job right now.”

Williams right back into the swing of things
Last week marked the return of DT Kevin Williams to the lineup following a two-game suspension to begin the season. It’s no coincidence that the Vikings registered 5 sacks against the Lions in the same game that Williams made his return. When Williams is in the game, opposing offenses generally allocate two blockers to him each play, which gives other defensive linemen one-on-one opportunities. And, Williams was in the game a bit more than Pagac and the Vikings coaching staff expected against Detroit.

“Thought he did well,” Pagac said. “We’re happy to have him back. Obviously we think he’s a great football player, and we expect him to continue to improve as we go on.

“He probably played more than we thought (he would). He probably played probably fifteen, twenty snaps more than we thought he would’ve. But he was in great shape and he was able to go. Whatever he did during his two weeks off, he did a good job of staying in shape and working out.”

Asked if he expects Williams will have any limitations this week because of conditioning after missing the first two games or because of his foot injury, Pagac’s answer was (predictably) simple.

“He’s back to work.”

Encouraged by Everson Griffen
DE Everson Griffen has quickly become one of the Vikings best special teams players. And now he’s also starting to find a niche on defense. The Vikings have experimented with Griffen in a variety of roles on the defense, including standing him up as a LB or sorts.

Griffen was in this role occasionally against Detroit, and Pagac indicated he was satisfied with what he saw, but he’s also expecting improvement.

“I thought Everson did a great job in the game,” Pagac said. “He did a good job of rushing. What he did in the drop part of it was fine. We’ll continue to get better at that. It was one of the first times we did it with live bullets. We expect him to get better and better.”


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All Hands On Deck For Battle Against Lions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 25, 2011 – 6:39 am

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.


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