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Top 5 Draft Picks In Vikings History (Pre-Super Bowl Era)

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 21, 2013 – 7:05 am

The 2013 NFL Draft is just 5 days away, and in honor of that we’re going to look at the 5 best draft picks in Vikings history. NFL.com ran a feature story earlier this month that looked at each NFL team’s top 5 picks in the pre-Super Bowl era (this takes Fran Tarkenton out of the picture, for example), and what’s written in this blog entry is what was included in the Vikings section of the NFL.com story.

Let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.

5. LB Scott Studwell (9th round, 250th overall in 1977)
A linebacker for 14 seasons, Studwell is the standard by which all other Vikings ‘backers are measured. He is the franchise career leader in combined tackles (1,981), defensive tackles (1,928), single-season tackles (230 – 1981) and single-game tackles (24 at Detroit 11/17/85). One of the most enduring figures in Vikings history, Studwell is in his fourth decade with the franchise and in 2013 enters his 22nd season working in the front office.

moss-wp

4. WR Randy Moss (1st round, 21st overall in 1998)
Moss put together one of the best debut seasons of all-time, hauling in a NFL rookie single-season record 17 touchdowns and averaging 19.0 yards per catch for a Vikings team that went 15-1 and scored a then-NFL record 556 points. An elite vertical threat throughout his 16-year career, Moss set the NFL single-season receiving record in 2007 with 23 scores and currently ranks second in NFL history behind only Jerry Rice with 156 touchdown receptions.

3. OT Ron Yary (1st round, 1st overall in 1968)
In 1968 Yary became the first offensive lineman to be drafted first overall in NFL history, and the Hall of Famer’s blend of size, speed and strength helped usher in a new era of offensive line play. He assumed a starting role midway through the 1969 season and was a fixture there for the rest of his career, missing only two games during his career due to injury. Yary was named an All-Pro in six consecutive seasons, played in seven Pro Bowls and started in four Super Bowls.

2. DT Alan Page (1st round, 15th overall in 1967)
A Hall of Famer (1988) and member of the vaunted Purple People Eaters, Page was a mainstay in a dominant Vikings defense that became legendary and led the franchise to four Super Bowls in the 1970s. Page was named to the Pro Bowl nine times in 12 seasons with the Vikings, and in 1971 he became the first defensive player to earn NFL MVP honors. Page played in 236 straight games and had a knack for the impact play, recording 148.5 sacks, 28 blocked kicks and 23 fumble recoveries.

1. RB Adrian Peterson (1st round, 7th overall in 2007)
Peterson hit the ground running as a rookie by leading the NFC in rushing yards (1,341), setting a new NFL single-game rushing record of 296 yards, and helping the Vikings set a new team rushing record (2,634) yards). He earned Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 and was named MVP of the Pro Bowl. In six seasons with the Vikings, Peterson has authored five of the franchise’s top six rushing seasons and in 2012 he became just the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards while going on to earn NFL MVP honors.

*Not included on this list but worth mentioning is quarterback Fran Tarkenton, a third-round selection in 1961 (pre Super Bowl era).


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Walsh Closing In On Vikings Rookie Scoring Mark

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 28, 2012 – 3:54 pm

Fan balloting for this year’s Pro Bowl is not reflecting it (yet), but Blair Walsh is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Among NFC kickers, Walsh ranks 3rd in FGs made (24), 2nd in FG% (92.3%) & 1st in 50+ FG% (5 for 5). Plus, he made a game-tying 55-yarder and game-winning 38-yarder to beat Jaguars in Week 1, and he already holds the Vikings touchback record with 41.

Whether Walsh will surpass San Francisco 49ers K David Akers in Pro Bowl balloting remains to be seen is largely out of Walsh’s control. What we might see very soon and what is in his control, though, is Walsh eclipsing the Vikings rookie scoring record. Randy Moss had one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history in 1998, and when all was said and done he set a new Vikings rookie scoring record with 106 points (17 TDs, 2 2-point conversions).

Through 11 games, Walsh is already at 94 points (24 FGs, 22 PATs) and is on pace to finish his rookie season with 137 points. If Walsh maintains his pace, he’ll surpass Moss’ record by 31 points.

That makes you wonder, how long until Walsh’s rookie scoring mark is broken? It looks as if Walsh will be the Vikings kicker for a long time, so it’s unlikely that the team will be relying on another rookie kicker anytime soon (kickers have the best chance to break the scoring mark). As good of a rookie season as Adrian Peterson had (13 TDs), he finished with 78 points. And even if another Randy Moss-type rookie season unfolds, that will come up well short of Walsh’s record.

The Vikings 2012 draft class will go down as one of the best in team history, and Walsh is a big reason why.


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No Sophomore Slump For Harvin

Posted by cjsiewert on October 28, 2010 – 5:44 am

One of the greatest aspects of the NFL is to watch an up-and-coming star, fresh out of college, break through onto the professional scene with an outstanding rookie season.

In the past, the player to record the best season among rookies has rightfully earned Rookie of the Year honors. But so much has been made of what happens after that sensational rookie season – how will opposing teams approach playing the well-known Rookie of the Year during his 2nd season?

AP Offensive Rookies of the Year such as Denver’s Mike Anderson (2000) and Tampa Bay’s Cadillac Williams (2005) recorded standout rookie seasons but fell victims to the dreaded “sophomore slump.” Unlike Anderson and Williams, Vikings WR Percy Harvin – the 2009 ROY – shows no signs of experiencing a sophomore slump.

It was unclear at the beginning of the season as to whether or not Harvin would retain his valued characteristics as an elusive slot receiver and big-play kick returner because of reoccurring migraines during training camp, preseason and into the regular season. But as of Week 7 of the 2010 campaign, Harvin’s play is nothing short of spectacular.

More specifically, Harvin has re-launched himself onto the highlight reels since the Week 4 bye and the arrival of veteran WR Randy Moss prior to Week 5. When comparing his first 3 games (without Moss) to his last 3 (with Moss), Harvin has nearly doubled his average receiving yards per game from 35.3 to 61.0 – which seems to be at least partially a result of opposing defenses paying closer attention to Moss.

With Harvin reaping the benefits of a deep threat receiver as a teammate, one of Moss’ former teammates in New England, the team Harvin and the Vikings face this weekend, acknowledged the fact that the mere presence of Moss has a dramatic impact on coverage schemes.

“I think it keeps the defense honest and wanting to make sure he’s not going deep,” Patriots WR Wes Welker said. “You don’t know which play he’s going to all of a sudden take off on you. It definitely can put those safeties in check.”

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress echoed Welker’s sentiments during his Wednesday press conference.

“I do,” Childress explained when asked if he feels the attention Moss receives results in open looks for other receivers. “Obviously Percy’s had a few good games and good looks at the football. (Visanthe) Shiancoe’s obviously spiked up here last week. You can’t serve all those masters in there. If somebody’s getting doubled, it means somebody’s singled usually.”

Since the bye week and the arrival of Moss, Harvin has not only found rejuvenation in the receiving game, but also on special teams. Harvin’s kick return average over the past 3 games sits at 30.0 yards per return and includes long returns of 44 and 48 yards with a 95-yard TD in the win over Dallas.

“First of all I feel like he’s in good shape,” Childress said of Harvin. “He’s in football playing shape right now. He’s doing a variety of different things, which he’s good at. Whether he’s in the backfield or he’s playing in the slot or he’s playing outside. I think he’s got a decent feel for what he’s doing. He can go full speed. He’s not thinking about much. You see that at practice and practice is carried over to the games.”

The best word to describe Harvin’s impact on the team is versatility. Over the past 3 games, Harvin has averaged 210.6 all-purpose yards per game. And versatility will be a beneficial characteristic when the Vikings face a Patriots defense that ranks 28th overall.


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Vikings Stats Of The Week

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 23, 2010 – 2:14 pm

On a Saturday full of college football, you might be thirst for some NFL football. While I can’t bring you actual NFL action, I can bring you some NFL statistics.

Here are a few notable Vikings statistics coming off of last week’s win over the Dallas Cowboys…

– The Vikings have allowed just 83 first downs on the year, the lowest in the NFL.
– WR/KR Percy Harvin’s 95-yard kickoff return for a TD against Dallas was the 6th-longest in Vikings history. It was Harvin’s 3rd career return for a TD; he is the only Viking in team history to return more than 1 kickoff return for a TD and he now has TD returns of 101, 95 and 88 yards.
– With his 2 INTs against Dallas, LB E.J. Henderson became only the 10th linebacker in team history to intercept 2 passes in a game.
– K Ryan Longwell became only the 4th kicker in team history to make 100 FGs as a Viking (100). Longwell’s FG percentage of 87.0 ranks as the highest of the four.
– WR Randy Moss had 5 receptions against the Cowboys, moving him into 9th place in NFL history for the most career receptions. Moss now has 944 career catches.
– With his 73 rushing yards against the Cowboys, RB Adrian Peterson became only the 4th Vikings player to reach 5,000 rushing yards (5,037). Peterson accomplished the feat in a team-record 51 career games, which is tied for 5th in NFL history for the fewest games needed to reach 5,000 yards.


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Childress Discusses Moss’ Impact On Vikings

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 18, 2010 – 12:20 pm

In this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag a reader asked what WR Randy Moss’ impact has been through 2 games with the Vikings. We pointed out several ways he’s impacted the team to this point but also threw in the disclaimer that it would be a question better-answered by head coach Brad Childress, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell or even QB Brett Favre.

Well, during his regular Monday morning press conference, Childress was asked that very same question. And here’s how he responded.

“I think they’re paying very close attention to him,” Childress said, “whether they’re playing with a soft umbrella coverage that they played yesterday or fading somebody to him. They’re knowing where he’s at and knowing how he can beat you; and not wanting that to happen. So generally that’s taken a couple people to stay with him.”

Childress also spoke on another way Moss has impacted the team, and that’s emotionally with his passion for the game and for winning.

“I think going back to the first time that I talked about Randy; he’s a passionate football player,” Childress explained. “I’m sure some would say that’s a plus, that’s a minus.  After I said what I had to say yesterday (at halftime), we always get a little break before we go out and he kind of hit it right between the eyes in terms of what we needed to do to play Vikings football (and) win the second half.

“It always, when you don’t know that somebody has that side, there’s a bunch of guys that haven’t played with him before, it’s kind of like an epiphany for them. He’s speaking from the heart and when you speak from the heart it’s always taken very well.”


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Childress Expects “Tooth And Nail” Battle On Sunday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 13, 2010 – 12:21 pm

The Vikings dismantled the Dallas Cowboys the last time they saw them, logging a 34-3 lambasting on their NFC foes in the Divisional round of the playoffs at Mall of America Field. That day both teams entered the game playing at their best, with the Vikings coming off a 1st-round bye and the Cowboys coming in off of 2-straight blowout victories over the Philadelphia Eagles.

This time, though, the Vikings and Cowboys come into the matchup not at their best. Both teams entered the 2010 season with high expectations and now both teams sit at 1-3 after 4 games, facing pressure to win and get back on the winning track.

As a result, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress is expecting a tightly-contested game on Sunday.

“It’s no secret where are records are right now,” Childress said on Wednesday before his team’s practice. “Neither one of us are happy with it. In my experience, typically in these kind of games the most desperate team wins. The most desperate team that’s clawing for a victory. I expect it to be contested tooth and nail.”

Here are a few other things to watch for during Sunday’s game…

– If the Vikings win, it will be the team’s 24th regular season win since 2008. The Vikings are 23-13 since 2008 and 18-8 over their last 26 games.
– WR Randy Moss needs just 2 catches to move into 9th place in NFL history for the most career receptions. Moss’s 939 catches trails Art Monks’ 940 for 9th place.
– RB Adrian Peterson can surpass 5,000 rushing yards (currently at 4,964) with just 36 rushing yards. If
he does, it will have taken Peterson just 51 career games to reach 5,000 yards.
– The Vikings defense has given up just 5 off ensive TDs through the first 3 games. Opponents are averaging just 13.3 offensive points per game against the Vikings, fewest in the NFL.
– G Steve Hutchinson will move into a 3rd-place tie for the most consecutive starts by a Vikings guard. Currently Hutchinson ranks 4th with 68 consecutive starts. He trails David Dixon’s 69 for 3rd place. If Hutchinson continues his streak, he will move into 2nd place before the end of the 2010 season.


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Optimistic Or Pessimistic?

Posted by cjsiewert on October 12, 2010 – 1:26 pm

The 29-20 loss to the NY Jets on Monday Night Football sent the Vikings into a 1-3 hole that is going to take a lot of work to climb out of. But the reality of it all is that the Purple have played just 4 games this season and only 1 in their division. This leaves 12 more regular season games – 5 in the division – to make a playoff push.

You could take 2 polar opposite viewpoints on the outlook for the Vikings from Monday night’s loss to the Jets.

One being that the Vikings offense has been slow-starting early in the game, which seemingly puts them in a hole they cannot escape – a negative aspect that may plague the Vikings for the rest of the season.

The other takes on a more optimistic view; the Vikings offense showed signs of greatness after the Brett Favre-Randy Moss connection for a TD, igniting a furious come-from-behind effort that fell just short – a positive sign of things to come from a star-studded offensive cast.

As Mike noted this morning, we here on the vikings.com Blog would like to point out the latter rather than the former because “that’s how we roll.” But don’t get us wrong, we are well aware of both sides of the outlook here.

First off, if the Vikings can put together a complete game of what they showed during the 2nd half of Monday night’s game, watch out. That was a stout pass defense the Vikings just faced in the Jets – anchored by CBs Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis – and Favre and Co. broke through in the 2nd half with 233 passing yards and 3 TDs. The 2nd half performance by the Vikings offense was an obvious improvement from the 1st half, but also a step forward in comparison to their previous 3 games

Second, a 1-3 start is not the end of the world and the Vikings have proven this in recent years. Just 2 seasons ago in 2008, the Purple started 1-3 but reversed their fortunes by winning 9 of their last 12 in route to winning the NFC North.

So how do you see the Vikings future panning out? Let us know by posting your thoughts in the comments section below this post.


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Did You Know? (Randy Moss Edition)

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 12, 2010 – 12:19 pm

WR Randy Moss made his debut with the 2010 Vikings on Monday night in the team’s 29-20 loss to the New York Jets. In his 1st game back with the Vikings, Moss wasted little time finding the endzone, scoring on a 34-yard strike in the 3rd quarter.

Here are a couple of facts regarding Moss TD…

– Moss now has 91 career Vikings TDs

– Monday night’s TD reception was his 51st in the last 53 games.


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Sunny Side Up

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 12, 2010 – 9:55 am

The Vikings 29-20 loss to the NY Jets last night on Monday Night Football is disappointing, don’t get me wrong. Offensive futility in the 1st half was a major bummer, a long kickoff return by Brad Smith following a Randy Moss TD in the 3rd quarter was a buzzkill and QB Brett Favre’s game-ending INT was a heart-breaker.

But there were also some positives to come out of the game, and here on the vikings.com Blog we’re going to take a look at them. That’s how we roll. There is plenty to be negative about and there are plenty of people who will – justly in some cases – point those negatives out. So let’s take a look at some positive aspects of the game and see if the Vikings can build on them as they prepare to face the Dallas Cowboys this week.

Defensive effort: Over the course of the offseason and into the preseason, one aspect of the team I’ve consistently talked up to people is the defense. The defense has been an improving and excelling group under assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and for some reason I felt this group would be outstanding again in 2010. So far, that’s exactly what they’ve been. Through the first 3 games of the season, the Vikings defense allowed just 31 total points. Against the Jets on Monday night, the defense was consistently playing on a short field and they consistently held the Jets out of the endzone, ultimately forcing 5 FGs and forcing the Jets to go 0-4 in the red zone and 0-1 in goal-to-goal situations.

Randy Moss’ debut: Have you ever seen a story with as much excitement and hype as the return of Moss to Minnesota? I’m not sure I have; it might even top Favre signing here before the 2009 season. Regardless, Moss’ debut was actually pretty solid. He went up against a talented CB all game long in Antonio Cromartie. The Jets new their stud CB, Darrell Revis, was coming back from a hamstring injury, so they opted to use Cromartie on Moss – the Vikings best WR – instead of Revis. While Cromartie won several battles throughout the game, Moss was a factor, especially in the 2nd half. It was his 34-yard TD reception that sparked the Vikings 2nd half comeback. In total, Moss had 4 receptions for 81 yards and 1 TD; he was targeted 10 times. There will be better games for Moss, but all-in-all it was a solid debut for #84.

Percy Harvin’s highlight grabs: Harvin led all Vikings receivers with 5 receptions for 97 yards and 2 TDs and his pair of scores came on outstanding plays. The 1st TD came on a 3rd and 19 from the Jets 34 when Favre rifled a pass toward Harvin in the back of the endzone. Harvin leaped, extended both arms above his head, snagged the ball from the air and then dragged both feet in bounds before being shoved out of bounds. It was a remarkable play and a clutch catch. Harvin’s 2nd TD came on 1st and 11 from the Jets 11. Favre lofted a pass in front of Harvin and the speedy 2nd-year WR raced to the football, reached out and hauled it in just in time and his momentum carried him away from a defender. Harvin shifted that momentum forward and wound up in the endzone for what was a huge TD that made the score 22-19 in favor of the Jets (Ryan Lognwell’s PAT was good, making the score 22-20).


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Passing Offense Comes Alive, But Too Little Too Late

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 12, 2010 – 2:02 am

A spark in the Vikings passing offense came just in time to trigger a furious comeback in the 2nd half at the New Meadowlands Stadium, but the inadequacy of the passing offense in the 1st half was just too much for that spark to overcome, as the Vikings fell 29-20 to the NY Jets on Monday Night Football.

The Vikings passing offense ranked 8th just a season ago, but the explosive outbursts that helped the Vikings produce such a dangerous have been absent for much of the 2010 season and they were certainly absent in the 1st half of Monday night’s game. The Vikings concluded their first 5 drives with punt and saw the 6th drive end on a bobbled QB-center exchange.

QB Brett Favre and Co. were finally able to turn it around, and the turnaround came in time for the Vikings to make a game out of it. The Vikings defense played superbly all night, holding the Jets to 6 punts and 5 FGs in their first 11 possessions.

The Vikings scoring binge began when Favre found newly-acquired WR Randy Moss deep down the right sideline for a 37-yard TD, a play that seemingly ignited the Vikings offense; the play also marked the 500th career TD pass for Favre. Minnesota scored 2 more TDs on outstanding receptions by 2nd-year WR Percy Harvin, but it wasn’t enough and the Vikings comeback attempt came up just short.

On the Vikings last-ditch effort to tie the game with a FG or take the lead with a TD, Favre had his pass intended for TE Visanthe Shiancoe intercepted and returned for a TD, sealing the Jets 29-20 win and sending the Vikings home with a 1-3 record.

There is a lot to breakdown from this game and not a lot of time to do it because the Vikings have a short week coming up with Dallas coming to Mall of America Field on Sunday. We’ll dissect the loss Tuesday – with help from Brad Childress’ 3:00 p.m. CT press conference – and then we’ll quickly move on to preparing for the Dallas Cowboys.


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