Monday, August 31, 2015

Monthly Archives: December 2012

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The Vikings were expected to struggle greatly this week, as the Texans represent the AFC’s best, but they made it look easy as they cruised to victory.

A number of individual performances contributed to the win, but none really stand far out above the rest, so now you have the tough task of casting a single vote for this week’s VT game ball.

Here are your nominees:

CHRISTIAN PONDER:  16 of 30 for 174 yards and a touchdown.  Seven runs for 48 yards.

ADRIAN PETERSON:  25 runs for 86 yards.  One catch for 4 yards.

JARIUS WRIGHT:  Five catches for 53 yards.  One run for 8 yards.

BLAIR WALSH:  Three for three on field goals (56, 41, 39) and two extra points.

HARRISON SMITH:  Seven tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble.

ANTOINE WINFIELD:  Five tackles, one sack.

JASPER BRINKLEY:  Three tackles, one forced fumble.

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Adrian Peterson didn’t have a hundred yard game.  Christian Ponder, while making some nice plays early on, didn’t suddenly transform into Tom Brady.  Jarius Wright is obviously not at the same level as Percy Harvin.

Still, the Vikings dealt Houston a convincing 23-6 loss, and the defense can stand proud after this one.

Rookie Harrison Smith led the Vikings with seven tackles, while also adding a forced fumble and a sack.  Jasper Brinkley and company held Arian Foster to almost no gains whatsoever, and he also had a forced fumble.  Everson Griffen and A.J. Jefferson took advantage of those forced fumbles with each recovering one.  Antoine Winfield and Fred Evans each came up with timely sacks, and Matt Schaub never seemed quite able to develop the rhythm that has downed plenty of their 2012 opponents.

The special teams did their job, as well, led by Blair Walsh who broke an NFL record for 50-yard-or-longer field goals.  He scored from 56, 41, and then 39 yards out.

Coach Leslie Frazier should be proud of the way his team played on Sunday, despite the fact that his passing game still looks completely lost at times, as the Vikings have edged a huge step closer to being included in the postseason tournament.

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While it is no surprise that Brian Robison and his sprained shoulder will not be active against Houston today, and Everson Griffen will get his first career start, it is somewhat of a surprise who will be backing up Griffen.

D’Aundre Reed has been inactive the last few weeks and that is going to continue for another week.  Instead, George Johnson will be on the active roster, despite being activated from the practice squad just yesterday.

In addition to Robison and Reed, here are the rest of the Vikings inactives:  QB Bethel-Thompson, WR Burton, CB Burton, LB Cole, and OT Kropog.

The very healthy Texans have no surprises in their inactives with cornerback Alan Ball being the most notable of the bunch.

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The Vikings made a flurry of moves on Saturday, the night before they face off against the Texans in Houston, and each one indicates a little a nugget of importance.

CB Chris Cook Activated:  If the Vikings are going to make the playoffs then they need all of the stars to align just right over the next two weeks.  One of those stars in already in place as Chris Cook has been removed from the Injured Reserve and activated.  Assuming he plays, at least on a part time basis, he will line up against monster receiver Andre Johnson.  Ever since Cook was injured, the Vikings have clearly struggled a lot more against top flight receivers, so his presence against the Texans could be a major boost.

DE George Johnson Activated From Practice Squad:  Johnson probably won’t be active on Sunday, but the move to add depth at the end position tells us that injured Brian Robison is highly unlikely to play.  Everson Griffen will start in Robison’s place.

G Mark Asper Waived:  Ever since signing offensive tackle Troy Kropog the Vikings have had more offensive linemen on the roster than they would normally carry.  Apparently the Vikings think Kropog offers them more than Asper, who never saw action this season, and so they opted to jettison Asper.  Asper, however, could be a very good candidate to return in the very near future.

TE Allen Reisner Waived:  Reisner comes and Reisner goes.  This has happened enough times that I wouldn’t read anything into it other than he is clearly less valued than rookie Rhett Ellison.

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