Blog Page 204

In five seasons with the Vikings, defensive end Ray Edwards recorded 29.5 sacks, including 16.5 in his last two seasons with the club.  Following the 2010 season, the Vikings opted to use their franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway and let Ray Edwards walk in free agency.

The Falcons gave Edwards a five year deal worth up to $27.5 million with an $11 million guarantee, and a number of Vikings fans balked at the idea of turning over the reins to Brian Robison on a full time basis when Edwards ended up getting such a reasonable contract.

As it turns out, however, the Vikings knew what they were doing and Edwards’ contract no longer looks reasonable.

Over the last two seasons Edwards has played in 25 games and only netted 3.5 sacks for the Falcons with 42 tackles and three defended passes.  Conversely, Robison has 13 sacks and eight batted passes with 71 tackles over the course of 26 games.

Robison’s current contract is a three year deal worth $14.1 million and included a $6.5 million signing bonus.

If the numbers and salaries aren’t enough evidence that the Vikings front office deserves credit for choosing Robison over Edwards, then the breaking news from Monday night will seal the deal.

The 8-1 Atlanta Falcons have waived the 27 year old Edwards.

Edwards, who has been hampered by knee problems of late, may get claimed via the waivers process and will certainly get a shot somewhere else even if he isn’t claimed.  It will be interesting to see where he ends up and how successful he ends up being.

For most of my life I have treated the Detroit Lions kind of like the stray three-legged kitten with no tail that roams the neighborhood.  For the longest time, I quietly cheered for the Lions out of pity, but that time appears to be up.

With Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson leading the charge, Detroit is no longer the laughing stock of the NFL, and have proven to be a dangerous team.  The term “dangerous” has double meaning to it as they can score from anywhere on the field, but they also have become synonymous with dirty hits.

Following their second loss of the season to the Vikings, the Lions were plenty concerned with the level of integrity that the Vikings showed (or perhaps didn’t show) on the field.

Lions cornerback Chris Houston took to the media to express his displeasure with a Vikings lineman on Adrian Peterson’s 61 yard touchdown run that will forever be added to his highlight reel.

“Lineman just fell on my ankle on purpose. I went to cut him, and as he went down, he put both knees on my ankle on purpose. It’s part of the game,” Houston said of the play. “I was on the ground, so I didn’t get to see who it was, but as he pulled, I cut him, he was flying over the top of me, and you could feel him land on my ankle on purpose.”

I’ve watched the highlight of Peterson’s run a number of times now, and I can tell that the lineman Houston is talking about is the pulling guard Brandon Fusco.  I don’t see anything other than an excellent block by Fusco who rolls immediately back onto his feet and doesn’t seem to do anything out of the ordinary.

I can’t say for certain that Fusco did nothing wrong, but anyone that can point to the tape and claim to see a dirty play is lying to you.

Fusco isn’t the only Viking that Detroit would like slap on the wrist, however, as a number of hits to wide receiver Calvin Johnson drew some interesting remarks from quarterback Matt Stafford.

“Obviously, you never like to see anybody get hit in the head,” Stafford said. “It’s a part of our game that they’re trying to get rid of. I think it’s a good thing. Calvin’s a tough guy. He stayed in there and made some great plays for us. Obviously, had a great game, but there’s not a whole lot of place for that in this league.”

I was critical yesterday of the penalty that Jasper Brinkley drew on a helmet-to-helmet hit to Megatron, but I certainly didn’t think it was anything with malicious intent, but rather showed a lack of body control.  Johnson took a few licks on Sunday, but that is bound to happen when you 12 passes for 207 yards.  If anything, Chad Greenway’s hit on Johnson in their previous matchup would be the one to point at as dirty, but nothing in this game seemed like something worthy of such scorn.

Even Johnson admitted that he didn’t think the Vikings were targeting his head on purpose.

To throw some fuel on the fire, an unnamed NFL G.M. has had some very harsh things to say about Detroit in the media this season, and some believed that person was none other than Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman.

Spielman, however, denied those rumors this weekend.

“No, no, no – absolutely,” Spielman said on the Lions official website. “If I have something to say, I’ll put my name on it.”

Spielman’s words may or may not be enough to convince some Lions fans, but I for one am kind of excited to see these two franchises building some animosity towards each other.

Future seasons are sure to be more fun because of it.

Christian Ponder had a rough patch prior to Sunday’s beat down of the Lions at the Metrodome, but he answered those critics that thought he was a lost cause that would doom the Vikings from here on out.

Ponder was feeling so smitten after his 221 yard performance that he took the time during his postgame comments to throw a jab or two back at Vikings fans that were having fun with his newly public love life.

Ponder completed 24 of 32 passes in the matchup and scored two touchdowns, one to Jarius Wright and one to Kyle Rudolph.  He was accurate on the majority of his deep balls, remained pretty calm in the pocket, and even successfully completed a pass while rolling to his right (a rarity this season).

Every time the Lions looked to be getting back into the game, the Vikings offense was able to answer, which was especially impressive down the stretch.  The only other game in which the Lions were outscored was the previous week, after jumping ahead of the Jaguars by 24 points and going into prevent mode.

Ponder deserves credit for bouncing back in the face of adversity in a big divisional game that needed to be won, and I think it is safe to say that we can now all agree:  The Vikings Can Win Game With Christian Ponder.

I honestly believe that, with Ponder at the helm, the Vikings can win any game on any given Sunday.  He has proven to be capable of taking care of the football and doing just enough to keep his team in the ball game multiple times this season.

What I am still not convinced of, however, is that Ponder has the ability to carry this team on his back and will them to victory when the chips are stacked against them.  This is an immeasurable trait that just simply exists in the NFL’s great quarterbacks of past and present, and I have yet to see that attribute surface in Ponder’s play.

The warning signs were not completely absent on Sunday.  Despite an all star performance from Adrian Peterson the Vikings still only managed a 25% touchdown rate in the red zone and 26% on third down.

Ponder’s offense didn’t turn over the ball, however, and controlled the play clock for nearly 10 minutes more than the Lions.

A game manager capable of winning.

For now, we will take that.

A number of excellent individual performances came about during Sunday’s upset over the Lions.  Who will you award the VT game ball to?

Christian Ponder:  24 of 32 for 221 yards and two touchdowns, plus 7 runs for 15 yards.

Adrian Peterson:  27 rushes for 171 yards and a touchdown, plus 3 catches for 5 yards.

Kyle Rudolph:  7 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Jarius Wright:  3 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown, plus 1 rush for 3 yards.

Blair Walsh:  Broke Vikings franchise record for touchbacks in a season, and made 4 of 4 field goal attempts.

Antoine Winfield:  9 tackles and a recovered fumble.

Chad Greenway:  5 tackles and an interception.

The Fourth quarter started off with a bang.  On a third and six, Christian Ponder threw a nice pass to Kyle Rudolph who got some blocking from Michael Jenkins on a walk-in touchdown.  Then, with a 12 points lead, Leslie Frazier called for a two point conversion which was successful when Adrian Peterson pounded it up the gut.

A stupid late hate from Mistral Raymond gave the Lions a fresh set of downs after the defense seemed to be on top of the Lions offensive plans.  Then, Mikel Leshoure gashed the defense across midfield which was followed by a decent catch from Calvin Johnson.

On the very next play, Johnson made another leaping catch inside the five and then another stupid penalty struck as Jasper Brinkley delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on Johnson.  That play was followed up by an all-too-easy catch on by Titus Young on a slant in front of A.J. Jefferson.

A pair of positive runs from Peterson was then followed by a tough non-call on a pass to Kyle Rudolph and the Vikings were set to punt, which Stephen Logan returned for 27 yards, and may have gone for a touchdown if not for a Chris Kluwe touchdown.

Chad Greenway led the defense, aided by an important holding call, in holding the Lions offense to a three and out and they were denied the chance to even kick a field goal.

The Vikings drive started out great with a pitch to Adrian Peterson that went for long yardage, but then a delay of game penalty set them back.  The very next play, however, Peterson took the ball to the right side and went 61 yards, high stepping for the score.  This is Peterson’s fourth 100+ yard rushing game in a row.

The Lions, of course, started out by gunning towards Calvin Johnson.  Jamarca Sanford, however, punched the ball out of Johnson’s clutch and Antoine Winfield recovered it.

Then came even more yards from Peterson, on a cutback to the left, that went for a big gain on first down, getting the Vikings into field goal range.  More Peterson, a Lions penalty, and then more Peterson set up an easy field goal for Blair Walsh who was able to extend the Vikings lead to 17 points.

The Vikings then went into a bend don’t break defense allowing Stafford to dink and dunk his way down the field, with Erin Henderson coming up with some nice plays on a few occasions. Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson, both rookies, had some good defensive plays on the series as well.

At the two minute warning, the Lions just entered into the red zone on a Calvin Johnson completion, but the Metrodome knew that even the Vikings couldn’t blow this one.  On the first play following the two minute warning, Calvin Johnson caught a short pass and was able to push for a touchdown that cut the Vikings lead to 10.

A pooch kick, successfully recovered by Marcus Sherels, pretty much signaled the end of the end for the Lions.  A couple of short runs from Peterson drained the Lions of their remaining timeouts and then a quarterback bootleg to the left ended in a personal foul, after Ponder made the rare choice to slide feet first, gave the Vikings a first down and the Lions a nail in their coffin.

Ponder was then able to kneel down and take the victory, which was much needed for the Vikings who now get to head into the bye week with a 6-4 record (2-0 against NFC North teams) and some positive things to build off of.

Get Social

2,067FansLike
4,012FollowersFollow