Thursday, March 5, 2015
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The hit website Pro Football Focus has taken the internet by storm the last few years with their unique stat tracking and player analysis.

This rating system of theirs pegged John Sullivan as the second best center in the NFL this season and Phil Loadholt as the best run blocking right tackle in the NFL this season.  In a year that Vikings fans had trouble recognizing any positives on the football field, outside of Percy Harvin and Jared Allen, it is always interesting to see their evaluations of individual players.

The latest tidbit of interest involves Vikings outside linebacker Erin Henderson, who is due to become a free agent in March.

Henderson has been named to PFF’s second team 2011 All Pro team as a 4-3 outside linebacker.

In fact, Henderson is the only Viking other than Jared Allen to make either the first team or the second team (Allen was on the first team), which means PFF has Henderson rated ahead of Chad Greenway. 

“Henderson isn’t on the radar of many,” says the article.  “Especially as a two down linebacker, but his play was so good it’s hard not to imagine some clever team giving him more than the Vikings can and get him on the field for every snap.”

After leading the league in special teams tackles, former Vikings linebacker Heath Farwell was named to the first team as a special teamer.

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Another week, another loss.

This week is somewhat different than previous weeks, however, as it is difficult to even find a “bright spot” to point out.  Nobody’s individual performances were really much to get excited about.  Toby Gerhart, Everson Griffen, and Benny Sapp would be candidates I suppose, but this 42-20 loss to the Saints was absolutely dreadful.

Veterans like Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen continue to express frustration after this loss, Peterson desiring more carries and Allen disagreeing with the fact that he was pulled late in the game.

In a week that featured a number of upsets, with the Colts getting their first win and the Packers getting their first loss, the Vikings continued to play a version of this game that only vaguely resembles American Football.

Fans can take some solace in the fact that this loss can only strengthen the Vikings draft position, with the number one overall pick again in sight.

The Vikings, as an organization, will be keeping a close eye on Christian Ponder over these last two games and there is more and more reason with each passing week to believe that he is still auditioning to be this team’s long term starter.  Ponder himself seems to recognize this.

I don’t know where I am going with this post, I’ll be honest.  I’m just simply out of things to write about this horrible team.  So, I’ll end it on an interesting note.

The Vikings 2012 opponents are nearly set, with 14 of their 16 opponents already determined, and here they are:

HOME:  Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Arizona, Tennessee, and Jacksonville.

AWAY:  Green Bay Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle Indianapolis, and Houston.

The last two spots will be filled by the last place teams of the NFC South and NFC East divisions.

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I have seen plenty of comments around the internet following Sunday’s game that indicate the “close” nature of many 2011 Vikings losses has led a number of fans to believe this team is better than their 2-11 record indicates.

If they are better than that, they sure have a funny way of proving it.

There is no doubt that there were a number of positive things to take away from Sunday’s loss in Detroit.  Jared Allen notched three sacks and is having the best season of his career with 17.5 sacks through 13 games.  Joe Webb performed well as a replacement for the benched Christian Ponder, running with ease and seemingly showing improvement as a passer.  Percy Harvin had 109 yards from scrimmage, a touchdown, and a 47 yard kickoff return.  Toby Gerhart ran for 90 yards and showed competence as a receiving back, especially on his two yard score.  Heck, even Benny Sapp looked good at times.

Then we must look at the bad.  And, boy, was there ever some bad stuff to look at.

Christian Ponder was benched after throwing three picks and fumbling twice, and two of those turnovers were defensive scores for the Lions.  Cedric Griffin was benched after being torched for a touchdown by rookie Titus Young.  Lorenzo Booker fumbled the ball twice, despite only touching it three times.  Rookies Mistral Raymond and Stephen Burton exited with injuries.  Left tackle Charlie Johnson gave up a few big plays, while right tackle Phil Loadholt never seemed even capable of making a play of his own.  Four sacks were given up for 43 yards.  Asher Allen and any of our various safeties were constantly out of position.  Meanwhile, both of the Henderson brothers were nearly invisible.

Oh yeah, and in case you missed it, there was a very interesting non-call on the final play of the game.

“For me to come in and blame it on a facemask — we had way, way, way worse things go wrong in that game,” Percy Harvin said after the game.

I have to agree. 

Until the Vikings show they are capable of winning games on their own merits, nobody should be claiming they are losing them because of anyone other than themselves.

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Last year, the Vikings mourned their lost season during the closing weeks by pillaging the practice squads of other teams and adding players to their roster.

This year the end came even sooner and the funeral procession again is marked by a flurry of low level roster moves.

On Tuesday, the Vikings added safety Jarrad Page, safety Andrew Sendejo, wide receiver Stephen Burton, and long snapper Matt Katula to their 53 man roster.  Room was created on the roster by placing receiver Michael Jenkins, safety Tyrell Johnson, safety Husain Abdullah, and long snapper Cullen Loeffler on the injured reserve.

Katula’s signing, barring another injury, should ensure that Jared Allen is not again called upon to pull double duty as a long snapper this season.  Burton was cut by the Vikings last week but is being brought back to his limited role in this Vikings offense.

Perhaps the most intriguing of these moves is the signing of Page.  He has been a solid contributor in the past for both the Chiefs and Patriots.  Last year, he missed six weeks with injury and hasn’t been the same sense as evidenced by the Eagles recently cutting him.

Page was curiously cut by the Eagles after he was named as one of many NFL players at a night club where a man was shot and killed.  To date, there is nothing to suggest Page was in any way involved in the incident.

With the Vikings desperately needing some help in their secondary, both in the short and long term, it probably isn’t a bad idea to bring this guy in and see how he fits.

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