Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Blog Page 207

Percy Harvin did not practice Friday and will likely miss this weekend’s home game against the Detroit Lions. Harvin, who sprained his ankle last weekend against the Seattle Seahawks, has been an integral part of the Vikings offense and it remains to be seen how the Vikings will fare without him.

In an effort to minimize the effect Harvin’s absence will have, the Vikings have activated rookie wide receiver Jarius Wright. Wright, taken in the fourth round of last year’s draft, has yet to see the field during the regular season. The dynamic receiver from Arkansas is deemed to have a skill set similar to Harvin but it is unlikely he will come close to filling his role this Sunday.

Adrian Peterson Returns To Practice

After missing Thursday’s practice with a stomach virus, Adrian Peterson returned to practice Friday and is expected to play Sunday. Peterson will likely be relied on heavily as the Vikings means of offensive production.

Last week, the Vikings mysteriously abandoned running the ball in the second half of the game against the Seahawks while Peterson was averaging an astonishing 10+ yards per carry.

Peterson will have his hands full this weekend against a Detroit Lions front that has been playing better than since they last met in Week 4 at Ford Field where the Vikings managed to escape with a 20-13 victory. In that game, Peterson just barely broke the century mark with 102 yards on the ground.

Interesting note:

Other Vikings Injuries

Letroy Guion returned to practice Friday (turf toe) but is doubtful against the Lions. Fred Evans will start in his absence.

Mistral Raymond is likely to be active this weekend but it is unknown what his contribution will be.

Vikings tight end John Carlson is expected to start Sunday after missing a couple games with a concussion.

Vikings Probable: “FB Jerome Felton (shoulder), LT Matt Kalil (knee), CB Antoine Winfield (knee), TE John Carlson (concussion), P Chris Kluwe (knee), RB Adrian Peterson (ankle/illness), S Mistral Raymond (ankle), S Jamarca Sanford (knee) and WR Jerome Simpson (calf).”

 

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The practice squad revolving door took another spin on Friday when the Minnesota Vikings swapped one defensive end for another.

The Vikings waived Ernest Owusu from the practice squad to make room for George Johnson.

Johnson, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, went undrafted out of Rutgers during the 2010 NFL Draft. During his three seasons in the league, the 6’4’’, 265-pound end has seen the field during nine games. In that time, he has amassed seven total tackles.

After seeing limited action early last season, Johnson spent the majority of the year on the Injured Reserve list following a knee injury. He played in five games for the Buccaneers in 2012 before being released on November 1.

More than anything, Johnson will provide depth along the line. The former Scarlet Knight does, however, offer some upside as a project who could eventually develop into a contributor.

Owusu is an undrafted rookie out of Cal who has spent the last couple months on and off of the Vikings’ practice squad. Signed by Minnesota shortly after the conclusion of the 2012 NFL Draft, he failed to survive final roster cuts back in August. He was later re-signed to the practice squad, and has been waived five times since then. With the addition of Johnson, it’s unlikely that the Vikings will re-sign him anytime soon.

Just another insignificant roster swap as the Vikings attempt to avoid a mid-season letdown.

Percy Harvin has been spotted on crutches this week, following an ugly hit to his ankle last week, but limped slowly through the locker room on Thursday without support.  Leslie Frazier says Harvin will play on Sunday if he can, but all signs point towards it being too big of a risk at this point in the season.

The only playmaker to account for more yards in this offense than Harvin is Adrian Peterson, and it has recently been argued that Harvin should be a candidate for the NFL’s MVP award.

If Harvin doesn’t play then the Vikings have to find a way to make up the 75 receiving yards, 10 rushing yards, and 64 return yards he has been gaining on average per game.  That is not an easy task and a number of players will have to step up and fill his shoes if the Vikings are going to avoid further regression this Sunday afternoon.

Jarius Wright, WR

Wright has proven to be a bit of a mystery this season as he has been on the 53 man roster all year but has yet to be active on game day, after the Vikings selected him in the fourth round of April’s Draft.  There have been a number of theories about why Wright has yet to be on the field, one of which is that he is simply regarded as a Harvin clone in the case of an injury.  Wright is a similar player, albeit not likely to be as dominant, as Harvin is and it is logical to expect that he will not only be active in Harvin’s absence, but that we will actually see him get some action.

Toby Gerhart, RB

I already find it ridiculous how little the Vikings are using Gerhart, even when Harvin was healthy, and I would hope that he will be called on to pick it up this week.

Gerhart had a rough outing in week three, but has otherwise been his normal self.  Strangely, however, his role seems to be gradually disappearing.  In the last four games he has only carried the ball four times, while Harvin has carried it nine times over the same period.

It only seems logical that Gerhart will get some of the carries that would normally go Harvin’s way, and he should arguably get even more than that if the Vikings truly want to embrace their offensive strengths and run the ball with more frequency.

Marcus Sherels, CB

It seems likely that, even if Harvin is active, Marcus Sherels will be the Vikings primary kick returner against the Lions.  The Lions got torched by both Harvin and Sherels in the return game earlier this year, but Leslie Frazier seems to think the Lions won’t be so easily fooled on special teams this time around.

Sherels has only returned two kicks this year, averaging 23.5 yards, and doesn’t seem to have the same explosiveness as Harvin does.  Still, he will need to be ready to take advantage if the Lions decide to revert to early-season form and provide a big chance for a game-changing return at the Metrodome.

Adam Warwas, Hack Blogger

Somebody has to blow up at the coaching staff, like Harvin did last week, if Bill Musgrave calls three horrible red zone plays in a row that are short of the goalline and result in a field goal.

I nominate me.

A hurting Percy Harvin.  A struggling young quarterback.  A leaky defense.  A criticized coaching staff.

The going is certainly getting tough for our Vikings as they approach the toughest part of their schedule, and that means there is plenty of news and even more opinions floating around the internet.  Here are our favorites:

In 2010, Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings ranked 23nd in offensive yards gained and 29th in points scored.  They ranked 10th in rushing offense and 26th in passing offense.

When the Vikings transitioned from Brad Childress to Leslie Frazier in the head coaching spot, Bill Musgrave was hired to head the Vikings offense and their top draft picks were spent on quarterback Christian Ponder and tight end Kyle Rudolph.

This offseason General Manager Rick Spielman devoted a good portion of his resources towards improving the roster on the offensive side of the ball.  Four of their top six picks were spent on offensive players, including a star left tackle and two receivers.  Receiver Jerome Simpson, tight end John Carlson, and offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz were among the only notable free agency moves the team made.

So what has the improvement been?

The Vikings offense of 2012, approaching the toughest part of their schedule, is currently:

17th in points scored (improved from 2010)

22nd in yards gained (improved)

5th in rushing (improved)

30th in passing (regressed)

So, with much being made about Christian Ponder’s lack of production, people are starting to wonder if Bill Musgrave is on the verge of being dismissed.  In a season and a half, Musgrave has had three quarterbacks start in his offense (McNabb, Webb, and Ponder) and none of seen any overwhelming success to speak of.

If Ponder and company, possibly without Percy Harvin, dial up another stinker on Sunday against the Lions then the echoes of boos will be ringing well into the Vikings bye week.  This leads us to today’s question of the week.

So, here is a chance to cast one more vote today:

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