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
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Chad Greenway, Chris Kluwe, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 160 Comments »
The Vikings rugged post-bye schedule continues this week as they prepare to conclude their season series against the Chicago Bears by hosting them at Mall of America Field on Sunday. Both the Vikings (6-6) and Bears (8-4) are coming off losses last week, but both are very much in the NFC playoff hunt.
Chicago won the earlier matchup between these two teams back on November 25, a 28-10 victory that was never really in question after the 1st quarter. The Vikings figure to put forth a better effort this week as they return to play at home for the first time since November 11 and as they look to gain ground on a division opponent and keep pace with a handful of other teams vying for playoff positioning.
Here are 5 Vikings-Bears storylines to chase this week…
1. Pressure On Christian Ponder Mount
Christian Ponder completed 75% of his passes for 221 yards with 2 TDs and no INTs the last time he played at home – a 34-24 victory over the Detroit Lions. In two road games since then, Ponder is just 35 of 68 (51.4%) for 278 yards with 2 TDs and 3 INTs. Last week in Green Bay, Adrian Peterson ran for 210 yards and the Vikings defense and special teams groups played well enough to win, yet a sputtering passing game prevented the Vikings from putting the game out of reach and the Packers were able to log a comeback victory. Pressure is mounting on Ponder to snap out of his drought and show the signs of promise he displayed earlier in the season when he wasn’t turning the ball over and was one of the League’s highest-rated passers. The Bears will surely go “all-in” to stop the Vikings elite rushing attack, which means they’ll dare Ponder to beat them.
2. Key Players From Both Teams On The Injury Report
It’s not uncommon for injury reports to fill up this time of year, and the Vikings and Bears will most certainly not be exceptions this week. Percy Harvin has missed the last 3 games due to an ankle injury and his status bears monitoring all week. Also, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier disclosed on Monday that DE Jared Allen underwent an MRI for a back ailment. Expect other odds and ends to show up on the report as well, such as the shoulder injuries LB Jasper Brinkley and TE Kyle Rudolph have been dealing with, knee swelling for RT Phil Loadholt and a rib injury for C John Sullivan.
The Bears are no different. Three players – WR Earl Bennett (concussion), LB Brian Urlacher (hamstring) and CB Tim Jennings (shoulder) – left last week’s loss to Seattle; Urlacher is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. Three other starters – WR Devin Hester (concussion), WR Alshon Jeffery (knee) and G Chris Spencer (knee) – missed last week’s game but are hopeful to return this week in Minnesota. LB Lance Briggs and RB Matt Forte both played last week but are both dealing with ankle injuries, CB Charles Tillman is battling an ankle injury as well, and both DT Stephen Paea and G/C Edwin Williams are playing through shoulder injuries.
3. Vikings Must Contain Bears WR Brandon Marshall
He didn’t get into the end zone against the Vikings two weeks ago, but don’t let that fool you – Brandon Marshall was a thorn in the Vikings side all game. Several times the Vikings had Chicago in unfavorable 3rd-down spots, and several times Marshall bailed the Bears out with a great grab in traffic or a few extra yards after the catch. Marshall had 12 catches against the Vikings two weeks ago and he had another 10 for 165 yards last week against Seattle. Two numbers that illustrate Marshall’s importance to the Bears passing game are 91 and 138: Marshall has 91 receptions in 138 targets this season, while the next highest Bears receiver in each category is 30 receptions for Forte and 43 targets for Bennett.
4. Bear Trap: Can Chicago Stop Adrian Peterson?
It’s not a good week for Chicago to lose their middle LB because they are set to face the NFL’s best RB at a time when he’s playing at perhaps his highest level. Adrian Peterson is the NFL’s rushing leader by 308 yards, has logged 6 straight 100-yard rushing games, is averaging 6.2 yards per carry and is on pace for 1,928 yards (a career best). He nearly single-handedly defeated the Packers last week, and you can count on him trying to do the same to the Bears this week. Even without Urlacher, the Bears have a formidable run defense and will be up for the challenge to stop Peterson. Yes, the Bears will be up for the challenge. But so is Peterson.
5. Rematch: Vikings DL vs. Bears OL
In the matchup two weeks ago between Minnesota and Chicago, many expected the Vikings defensive line to embarrass the Bears offensive line. The Bears were coming off a Monday Night Football beatdown at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers in which QB Jason Campbell was sacked 6 times. Chicago’s offensive line responded, however, and allowed just 1 sack in Cutler’s return to the lineup. Entering this game, the matchup still favors the Vikings on paper. Only three teams have permitted more sacks than the Bears, and the Vikings pass rush at home can overwhelm teams. As we saw two weeks ago, though, this Bears offensive line has the ability to respond.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Jasper Brinkley, John Sullivan, Kyle Rudolph, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin, Phil Loadholt
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 418 Comments »
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier met briefly with reporters after practice on Friday and provided an update on the probability of WR Percy Harvin returning from his ankle injury in time for this Sunday’s game in Chicago. The chances are not good that Harvin will play, as Frazier said his star WR will be listed as doubtful on the week’s final injury report.
Harvin injured his ankle against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9 and has been rehabbing and recovering since. The ankle has improved, but he’s yet to be able to participate in a practice since the injury. Harvin’s final status for the game likely won’t be declared until 90 minutes prior to kickoff, which is when teams are required to submit their list of inactive players.
Regardless of what happens with Harvin, Frazier did say that WR Jarius Wright will be active. The rookie 4th-rounder played in his first NFL regular season game two weeks ago against Detroit with Harvin sidelined. Wright responded with 3 receptions for 65 yards and 1 TD. He’ll have another chance to contribute in Chicago this weekend.
Frazier said Wright does not figure to fill in for Harvin in the kickoff return role. Marcus Sherels, AJ Jefferson and Josh Robinson (in that order) are listed as backups to Harvin in the kickoff return role.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Jarius Wright, Josh Robinson, Leslie Frazier, Marcus Sherels, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 12 Comments »
Early this week it was unclear who would start at QB for the Chicago Bears on Sunday, with Jay Cutler still feeling the effects of a concussion and backup Jason Campbell dealing with an injury to his ribs. But after Thursday’s practice, the picture is a bit clearer.
Cutler, who sustained the concussion two weeks ago in a loss to the Houston Texans and then missed last week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, returned to practice on a limited basis on Thursday. It was the first time Cutler had been on the field working since suffering the concussion on November 11., and it’s a big step in him returning to the field to be the Bears starter against the Vikings.
“I know you all want to know about Jay Cutler. He was able to do some things on a limited basis,” Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith said. “So it’s looking better for (him) to get him back on the football field.”
Chicago will wisely attempt to keep Cutler’s status in doubt all the way up to Sunday morning, but another clue will emerge later on Friday when the Vikings and Bears are both required to submit their final injury reports of the week.
The same can be said for the Vikings with regard to WR Percy Harvin, who is attempting to nurse an ankle injury back to health in time for Sunday’s game. Harvin has not practiced yet this week, and Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier has said multiple times this week that he’d like to see the star receiver practice before playing.
Tags: Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 51 Comments »
It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s finally time for the Vikings to flip the calendar away from their bye week and begin on-field preparations for the Chicago Bears. With 6 games to play, the NFC race is wide open. And the Vikings have an opportunity to move into a tie in the division standings with Chicago if they can get a tough road win in the Windy City.
Here are 7 Vikings-Bears storylines we’ll be chasing this week in advance of the Sunday’s showdown between division rivals Minnesota and Chicago…
1. Will Percy Play?
There’s a big question mark for the Bears offense heading into Sunday’s game (more on that next), but the Vikings also have a key offensive player dealing with an injury and dealing with uncertainty about his availability for Sunday. Percy Harvin suffered a sprained ankle in the Vikings Week 9 loss in Seattle, and the injury prevented him from playing in Week 10 against Detroit. The injury also prevented Harvin from practicing on Monday as the Vikings came back to work from their bye week. Will the injury prevent Harvin from playing this Sunday, too? Only time will tell.
2. Cutler’s Status Remains Uncertain
The Bears are in a similar situation with starting QB Jay Cutler that the Vikings are in with Harvin. Cutler sustained a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit with Texans LB Tim Dobbins in Week 10 and he had not sufficiently recovered from the concussion to play in last Monday night’s game against San Francisco. As of Wednesday morning, Cutler had still not been cleared to return, and his comments to reporters earlier in the week didn’t clear up the situation. I don’t expect much clarity on this over the next couple days, and it wouldn’t be surprising to go into the weekend not knowing if Cutler will play or not. If Cutler doesn’t play, backup QB Jason Campbell would likely start in his place. Campbell started on Monday night in San Francisco and struggled in a lopsided defeat. In the loss, Campbell was banged up as well, and if he’s unable to play it would be the newly-signed Josh McCown who would suit up.
3. Bears Looking To Fix Offensive Line Woes
For anyone who watched the Bears-49ers Monday Night Football game this past week, the most glaring weakness for Chicago was the play along their offensive line. San Francisco pressured Campbell all night, battering him from start to finish and collecting 6 sacks along the way. It was the 3rd time the Bears had allowed 6 or more sacks in a game this season, and only the Arizona Cardinals have allowed more sacks this season. It doesn’t matter who the QB is – Cutler, Campbell or Johnny Unitas – when you allow that much pressure you’re not going to move the ball down the field. Obviously the Bears will work this week to fix the issues along their line, and the Vikings will look to continue exposing whatever flaws remain. It will be a good subplot in this week’s matchup.
4. Can Adrian Peterson Continue His Climb?
What Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has done to this point in the season is remarkable. Coming off of reconstructive knee surgery, Peterson is the NFL’s rushing leader by a healthy margin (123 yards over Marshawn Lynch) and he’s actually on pace for a career-high in rushing yardage (1,804 yards). For my money through 10 games, he’s a legitimate MVP candidate and he is without question the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. He’s returned from a serious knee injury to become arguably a better player now than he was before the injury. And he was already the NFL’s beset RB before his injury. Can Peterson continue his incredible season against Chicago? If he can, it will only add to the unbelievable season Peterson is putting together. The Bears rank 8th against the run and 5th overall on defense, so this will be a great challenge for both Peterson and Chicago’s defense.
5. Vikings Must Stay Away From The Giveaway
The calling card for the Bears this season has been their dominating defensive effort on a week-in, week-out basis. They lead the NFL in takeaways with 30, and 17 of those 30 takeaways are INTs. Incredibly, the Bears have returned 7 of those 19 INTs for TDs, also tops in the NFL. The Bears defense is not only good at taking the ball away, but they are extremely good at scoring once they do take the ball away. The Vikings have been middle of the road in giveaways, ranking tied for 15th with 16 turnovers. Of those 16 turnovers, 8 have been lost fumbles and 8 have been INTs. The key for the Vikings is not to become conservative so as to prevent turnovers. That is playing into the Bears hands and will make it hard to score. The Vikings will be cognizant of staying away from the giveaway while also choosing the right times to be aggressive in an attempt to put enough points up on the board to take pressure off their own defense and try to come away from Soldier Field with a big win. Can the Vikings strike that balance? It’s one of the biggest subplots to this matchup.
6. Can The Vikings Solve The Soldier Field Jinx?
Fans hear all the time about how hard it is to win on the road in the NFL. Many times, this can be an overblown aspect. But when you’re talking about playing on the road in Soldier Field, it’s not talked about enough. Just look at the numbers. The Vikings last won at Soldier Field in 2007, and that was thanks to late-game heroics by Adrian Peterson and Ryan Longwell. Aside from that 2007 road win in Chicago, the last time the Vikings won at Soldier Field was in 2000. That’s just two road wins against Chicago since 2000. Leslie Frazier has not defeated the Bears as the Vikings Head Coach and the Vikings haven’t logged a win over their division rivals since Brett Favre got the job done in 2009.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 226 Comments »
On Wednesday we’ll throw our entire focus toward Sunday’s contest against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Before we do that, though, let’s take one last chance to reflect on what’s happened over the first 10 games of the Vikings season.
This was the topic of last week’s Wobcast, as I explained my 10 takes through 10 weeks…
10. Vikings are in the playoff hunt!
A strong 4-1 start and a key win against Detroit heading into the bye has placed the Vikings in the mix for a playoff spot in the NFC. It’s quite a treat for Vikings fans to be in this position after watching their team go 9-23 the past 2 seasons. Kudos to GM Rick Spielman and Head Coach Leslie Frazier for turning this organization around and heading in the right direction. The Vikings are 6-4 overall, 2-0 in the division and 4-3 in the NFC. If the playoffs started right now, the Vikings would miss it because of tie-breakers to Seattle and Tampa Bay. But the playoffs don’t start right now, so we’ll get to see if the Vikings can overcome a few teams over the next 6 weeks.
9. Dome-field advantage has returned
The Vikings were just 1-7 at home last year and suffered to a 3-13 season. This year, the Vikings dome-field advantage has returned. They are 4-1 in home games, and a big reason for that is the Mall of America Field crowd. Frazier compliments Vikings fans after each game and is genuine in his praise. He’s coached against and played against the Vikings in that building and respects the difference the home crowd can make. Good job, fans. Thanks for helping us gain that incredible dome-field advantage.
8. Youth, health has led to improvement in pass defense
The Vikings pass defense has taken a huge step forward in 2012. They were 26th in yards allowed last season and were 14th in that category after 10 games this season. What’s been the key? It’s been health and youth. CBs Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook missed 21 games combined last season, but this year they both started and remained healthy for most of the team’s first 10 games. Cook is dealing with an arm injury now, but young guys are stepping up in his absence. AJ Jefferson and this year’s 3rd-round pick – Josh Robinson – have filled the void well. Also, Harrison Smith is playing the safety position like we haven’t seen in years from a Vikings safety.
7. Percy has no mercy on opposing defenses
Simply put, I think Percy Harvin is the most dangerous offensive weapon among non-QBs in the NFL. He has 100 touches through 10 games – that’s receptions, rushes and returns – and he’s averaging 13.4 yards per touch with 5 TDs. Harvin is the best kickoff returner in the NFL, one of the best receivers in the NFL, and a good runner. There are not many (any?) better all-around threats in the NFL.
6. Vikings special teams have been outstanding, and deserve more credit
– Often times special teams is the neglected phase of football. But special teams has not been neglected by the Vikings, and in fact I’d submit that special teams has been key to the Vikings success this year. Heck, the Vikings special teams basically single-handedly won a game this year – Detroit – Week 4. A bunch of credit goes to Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer and assistant special teams coach Chris White for the work they’ve done together over the past two seasons. Through 10 games, the Vikings ranked 2nd in average drive start, 4th in kickoff return, 2nd in touchbacks on kickoffs and 9th in punt return. Special teams is something fans complain about when it’s going poorly, but forget about when it’s going well. Let’s take a moment during to appreciate the Vikings special teams play to this point. Bravo, guys.
To see the final 5 takes, which includes bold talk about Adrian Peterson and Blair Walsh, check out last week’s Wobcast.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Antoine Winfield, Chris Cook, Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson, Leslie Frazier, Mike Priefer, Percy Harvin, Rick Spielman
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 128 Comments »
Adrian Peterson is the leading Pro Bowl vote-getter for the NFC at RB and is 5th among all NFL players, with 5 weeks of voting remaining. Three other Vikings – DE Jared Allen, KR Percy Harvin and LT Matt Kalil – also lead their respective positions in NFC Pro Bowl voting.
It’s great news that 4 Vikings lead their positions in the balloting, but that also means Vikings fans have work to do. Fans can click here to cast their ballots.
Blair Walsh is having the best season among NFC kickers, having converted 23 of 24 FGs (5 of 5 from 50+) and boasting 41 touchbacks already. TE Kyle Rudolph is 2nd among NFC TEs with 6 TD receptions, FB Jerome Felton is lead-blocking for the NFL’s leading rusher, John Sullivan has developed into one of the League’s finest centers, Chad Greenway is the NFL’s leading tackler and Antoine Winfield looks to have found the fountain of youth. Those are just a handful of Vikings who are deserving of Pro Bowl consideration.
Balloting will conclude on Monday, December 17 following the conclusion of Monday Night Football. The teams will be announced at 6:00 p.m. CT Wednesday, December 26 on NFL Network’s “Total Access.”
The AFC and NFC All-Star squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters that represent the American Football Conference and National Football Conference in the Pro Bowl. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on December 20-21.
The 2013 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 27, 2013 and televised live on NBC at 6:00 p.m. CT from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Blair Walsh, Chad Greenway, Jared Allen, John Sullivan, Kyle Rudolph, Matt Kalil, Percy Harvin
Posted in All | 188 Comments »
Earlier this week we listed the 7 Vikings-Lions storylines we’d be following this week, so with Friday upon us and kickoff just two days away, let’s check in on the #1 storyline: Harvin’s Ankle, Megatron’s Knee. Percy Harvin leads the NFL in receptions with 62 and Detroit’s Calvin Johnson is arguable the NFL’s best player at the position. But neither has practiced this week due to injuries, and it will have a profound impact on Sunday’s game.
Of the two receivers, Johnson stands the best chance to play. He’s dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of practice all of last week. The time away from practice didn’t seem to bother the All-Pro, as he came down with 7 receptions for 129 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Johnson has been held out of practice this week, too, but the smart money is on him playing. And if he’s playing, he’s dangerous.
There’s been another element added to this mix of late, though. According to a report from Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Johnson told reporters on Thursday that he’s dealing with nerve damage that is making it harder for him to grip the football. Johnson pointed to a pair of hits from the Lions Week 4 game against the Vikings that is causing the issue.
As for Harvin, he has not been ruled out but he did call himself a “longshot” to play. Harvin suffered an ankle injury last week in Seattle, but was able to finish the game. Harvin spoke with reporters earlier in the week while leaning on crutches, causing many to speculate that the NFL’s leading receiver will be unavailable for Sunday’s game.
I’m not in the business of speculating whether or not a guy will play despite an injury. The Vikings have a bye following this Sunday’s game, so keeping Harvin out of this week’s game would essentially give him nearly three full weeks between his injury and the next ball game. But Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said after practice on Thursday that if Harvin is healthy enough to play, he’ll play. Also keep in mind that Harvin is as tough a player as there is, so if there’s even the slightest bit of chance he can play, Harvin will be angling to get out there.
If he plays, that’s great news for the Vikings. If he doesn’t play, the Vikings will have about 11 touches to distribute to other players. Harvin has 100 touches through 9 games this season, which averages out to 11.1 touches per game. In this week’s Wobcast – where Cris Carter is featured as the guest – I pointed to three players who could see a few more touches if Harvin doesn’t play: WR Jarius Wright and TEs John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph.
Harvin also has a role on special teams as the Vikings kickoff returner, and Vikings Head Coach Mike Priefer said a number of guys could step into that role if Harvin is unable to play. Marcus Sherels, the Vikings starting punt returner, can do it, as can Wright, WR Stephen Burton and CBs A.J. Jefferson and Josh Robinson.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Jarius Wright, John Carlson, Josh Robinson, Kyle Rudolph, Leslie Frazier, Mike Priefer, Percy Harvin, Stephen Burton
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 375 Comments »
The Vikings began this season with wins in four out of their first five games. Since then, however, they’ve lost three of their last four and two in a row. It’s time to get back on the winning track, and to do so the Vikings will have to upend division rival Detroit for the second time this season.
It’s only Wednesday, so we have plenty of time to breakdown the matchups and analyze the trends. Here are seven Vikings-Lions storylines we’ll be chasing this week.
1. Harvin’s Ankle, Megatron’s Knee
Two of the NFL’s best WRs reside within this Vikings-Lions matchup, and they are both dealing with injuries. Vikings WR Percy Harvin leads the NFL in receptions with 62, but he injured his ankle in last week’s loss to Seattle. Harvin wouldn’t rule himself out for Sunday’s game, but he also called himself a “long shot” to play. Detroit’s Calvin Johnson is widely regarded as the best receiver in the NFL, and he looked every bit the part in last week’s win over Jacksonville. Johnson had 7 receptions for 129 yards on the day, making a profound impact on the game even though he didn’t get into the end zone. Johnson missed practice all of last week with a knee injury, and although he doesn’t seem to be in jeopardy of missing the game on Sunday, it’ll be interesting to see how the knee ailment impacts his practice time this week and then his performance on Sunday.
2. Can Ponder Shake His Slump?
A beautiful beginning to the season, highlighted by a solid outing against San Francisco in which he generated 3 TDs, has turned into a dreadful slump for Vikings 2nd-year QB Christian Ponder. The slumping Ponder has thrown for fewer than 100 yards twice in the last three games and he now has 8 INTs in nine games after going through the first four games of the season without throwing it to the opposing team. I believe Ponder will emerge from his slump in a big way, and it could happen on Sunday.
3. Vikings Looking For Pass Rush Re-Emergence
No team has more sacks than the Vikings (74) since the start of 2011, but the Vikings also have just 2 sacks over the past two games. In order to slow down this Lions passing attack, the Vikings must pressure Lions QB Matthew Stafford. In five career games against the Vikings, Stafford has been sacked 20 times, including three times in each of the last three games. Last year, Vikings DE Jared Allen registered 6.0 sacks by himself against the Lions. On the flip side, the Lions have improved their pass protection this season and have allowed just 15 sacks through eight games, 10th-best in the League.
4. More Special Teams Fireworks?
The Vikings defeated the Lions earlier this year by a score of 20-13 in a game that was dominated by special teams. The Vikings won the game, yet didn’t score an offensive TD. Both Vikings TDs were on returns, with Harvin registering a 105-yard kickoff return and Marcus Sherels darting through and around the Lions coverage group for a 77-yard punt return TD on his birthday. At that point, the Lions had surrendered both a kickoff return TD and a punt return TD in back-to-back games. Since then, though, the Lions have not allowed a return TD. Can the Vikings find a way to gouge the Lions coverage groups again?
5. Peterson Gunning For 4th Straight 100-Yard Game
Adrian Peterson has given the phrase “back and better than ever” a whole new meaning. Just over 10 months removed from a major knee injury, Peterson is leading the NFL in rushing with 957 yards and also leads the NFL in yards per carry (5.7) among players with 100+ carries. And Peterson isn’t slowing down. He rushed for a season-high 182 yards last week in Seattle, giving him his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game. Can he make it four straight?
6. Glancing At The Standings
While it’s still too early to attach the “must-win” tag to this game, there’s no disputing this game’s importance to both Detroit and Minnesota’s playoff hopes. The loser of this game will be looking up at the three other teams in the NFC North and will do so with a losing record in the NFC. Both teams are 3-3 in NFC play, an important metric for tie-breaking purposes when it comes to awarding playoff spots after the regular season. Regardless of who wins and loses this game, both the Vikings and Lions have enough division games remaining that they control their own destinies. Even still, the fact remains that Sunday’s game is a big one in terms of placement in the NFC North standings.
7. Salute To Service
The NFL will continue its long history of honoring veterans and active duty members of the military with its annual Salute to Service campaign. For every point scored during the NFL’s 32 designated Salute to Service games, the League will donate $100 to each of its three core military non-profit partners – Pat Tillman Foundation, USO and the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).
The Vikings will participate in the Salute to Service campaign during Sunday’s game by incorporating several pre-game, in-game and halftime elements in its game production. Here are just a few examples…
The Honorary Viking will be Betty Strohfus, one of just over 1,000 American women who flew military aircraft during World War II; the Honorary Captain will be Sergeant Brian Neill, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom who served in the Minnesota National Guard for a period of 23 years; a traditional riderless horse will cross through the end zone during a moment of silence and remain there through the National Anthem; during the National Anthem, the entire stadium will participate in a card stunt. The stunt will display a patriotic message and stars/stripes graphics. Fans should be in their seats 15 minutes prior to kickoff to ensure full-stadium participation;
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder, Jared Allen, Marcus Sherels, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 125 Comments »
The Vikings are well-represented on Pro Football Weekly’s 2012 Midseason All-Pro Team, with Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and K Blair Walsh all getting nods from the outlet’s editors. Peterson was a unanimous choice, Harvin was selected for two positions (wide receiver and kickoff returner), and Walsh is one just two rookies on the team.
Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 957 yards, Harvin leads the NFL in receptions with 62 and kickoff return average (35.9), and Walsh is tied for the lead in FGs of 50+ yards with 5 and leads the NFC in FG% at 95.0%.
QB Aaron Rodgers/Packers
RB Adrian Peterson/Vikings*
RB Marshawn Lynch/Seahawks
WR A.J. Green/Bengals*
WR Reggie Wayne/Colts
WR Percy Harvin/Vikings
TE Rob Gronkowski/Patriots
C Mike Pouncey/Dolphins
OG Mike Iupati/49ers*
OG Marshal Yanda/Ravens
OT Duane Brown/Texans
OT Anthony Davis/49ers
DE J.J. Watt/Texans*
DE Julius Peppers/Bears
DT Geno Atkins/Bengals*
DT Vince Wilfork/Patriots
OLB Lance Briggs/Bears
OLB Clay Matthews/Packers
ILB Daryl Washington/Cardinals*
ILB Sean Lee/Cowboys
CB Richard Sherman/Seahawks
CB Charles Tillman/Bears
S Earl Thomas/Seahawks
S Mark Barron/Buccaneers
PK Blair Walsh/Vikings
P Andy Lee/49ers
PR Leodis McKelvin/Bills
KR Percy Harvin/Vikings
HEAD COACH Mike Smith/Falcons
EXECUTIVE/GM John Elway/Broncos
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Blair Walsh, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 198 Comments »