The inactives list for today’s game:
VIKINGS: Quarterback Bethel-Thompson, receiver Wright, safety Sendejo, safety Raymond, linebacker Mitchell, offensive lineman Asper, and defensive end Reed.
There is nothing here, really, that should take us by surprise. We knew last night that Mitchell’s new injury would be keeping him out today, which makes the return of Erin Henderson even more important. Wright continues to be inactive this season, joining Greg Childs as an unproductive receiver draft pick from this offseason (Childs went out for the season with a preseason injury).
TITANS: Quarterback Locker, running back Harper, linebacker Bailey, offensive lineman Otto, guard Lutui, receiver Hawkins, and defensive end Solomon.
The first thing you should notice is that star receiver Kenny Britt will indeed be active today, despite earlier reports to the contrary. Britt hasn’t practiced in a few weeks, but apparently is ready to go despite suffering a setback earlier this week.
In Sunday’s game against Chris Johnson and the Titans, Minnesota will get one linebacker back from injury while another will have to sit because of a new injury.
Mike Wobschall of Vikings.com reports that Erin Henderson is sure to return from a concussion that kept him on the sidelines the last two games, while Marvin Mitchell will be inactive after suffering a calf injury during Wednesday’s practice.
Backups Audie Cole and Tyrone McKenzie are both expected to be active to provide depth in Mitchell’s absence.
Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley is going to be staying on the field in nickel packages which isn’t too surprising considering how well he has been playing in Henderson’s absence. Frazier explains that Henderson could eventually work his way back into the nickel package, but it won’t be this week.
“Yeah we’re going to keep Jasper at the nickel mike for the time being,” Frazier said. “He’s done a good job there. Give Erin a chance to kind of get his legs back under him and then we’ll revisit it later on. Jasper has done a good job so we have a lot of confidence in what he’s accomplished so far.”
Okay, now go back to putting on your Colts jersey… we’ll see you in a few hours.
In theory, the Vikings could improve to 4-1 tomorrow, fall to 3-2, or even tie the Titans and end up with a record of 3-1-1.
Win, lose or tie… one thing is for sure, Vikings games are most enjoyed with other Vikings fans.
So join us, about 15 minutes before kickoff, for a live chat right here at Vikings Territory and discuss all the action!
When Percy Harvin, early in the offseason, expressed great displeasure with the Vikings organization and demanded a trade, Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier had conversations with their star receiver that quickly made him change his tune.
Harvin recently said that his issues were rooted with players not really knowing their role within the offense, but that things were clarified and that he now thinks offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is doing a great job. Presumably, the Vikings brass were able to convince Harvin that things would be different in 2012 and that he would know exactly what type of role he would be asked to play… a huge one.
On one hand, Spielman and Frazier could be applauded for giving Harvin the tune up he needed to have the season he is currently having. On the other hand, however, some could argue that Spielman and Frazier may have empowered Harvin and showed a little too much favoritism towards him.
Now, we have another case in which the Vikings uber-talented have approached the coaching staff with hopes of increasing productivity by, for lack of a better term, undermining the original wishes of the coaching staff.
Kevin Williams and Jared Allen, following a horrible week two loss to the Colts, say they approached the coaching staff about “simplifying” the line calls on defense and letting the defensive line just do their thing.
“You know how sometimes, like a formation (will) come up, and they’ll be like, we wanted to do so and so to this formation and this to that formation?” Williams told 1500 ESPN. “Just let us go and work through it and play off of each other. That’s the best thing we’ve got going for us up front.”
“We just stopped trying to make a call for everything,” he continued. “The defensive front has been successful the last few years. We didn’t do a lot of trick ‘em stuff. We just lined up and went after people, and that’s basically what we were trying to get ‘em to do. Just take the reins off and let us go. We can take care of the rush. We don’t need to design stuff for the rush. Just let the guys go. We’ve all pretty much had experience rushing the quarterback and playing this defense. Just basically, let us go and we can handle it. We don’t need plays or schemes to handle what we’re doing up front.”
Williams is right in saying that the Vikings front line has had success in recent times. Their 62 sacks since the start of the 2011 season are tied for the most of all NFL teams. Frazier doesn’t seem to take a very rigid stance on his schemes, unlike previous head coach Brad Childress who was notorious for trying to force square pegs into round holes, and essentially acknowledges that the defense was getting too tricky.
“It’s huge for our players, for the coaches, to be able to generate that type of pressure without having to put the secondary under adverse situations,” Frazier said. “It was big. It increases our confidence. You go into your next ballgame feeling a lot better about your rush when that happens, especially against a team that throws it as much as the team we played last Sunday and you go into the game knowing that and the fact that we didn’t have to resort to a lot of pressures — it’s a big deal, and hopefully, it’ll be something we can continue.”
So, while some might view Frazier’s willingness to have players take control of how things are done, in the cases of the defensive line and Percy Harvin… there is little arguing with the results so far.
One thing that didn’t go well when control was given to the players, however, was the choice of music during the stretching portion of Friday’s practice.
“Gangnam Style” and “Party Rock Anthem” apparently drew some groans and jeers.
“There were a group of guys [who picked that],” Frazier said. “I don’t know if you’ll get a repeat. There were a lot of guys voicing their displeasure. So I don’t know if that will be repeated.”
Last weekend, the Vikings had sole possession of first place in the NFC North for one day, and this weekend they will attempt to begin proving that they are the real deal and not just an early surprise. At 3-1, the Vikings are unexpectedly ahead of the Packers (2-2) and the Lions (1-3), while holding the same record as the Bears who head to Jacksonville this weekend.
The opponent this week are the Tennessee Titans (1-3) whose injury woes have brought on a state of disarray. Former Vikings Steve Hutchinson, Darius Reynaud, and Chris DeGeare return to the Metrodome hoping to crush our hopes and I want to take a look at what this game holds in store for us.
Just the other day, talking with Brett on Gmail chat as I often do to make plans for VT, I mentioned that I thought that after a quarter of the regular season went by that Percy Harvin should be in the conversation for league MVP.
I even went so far as to suggest he should be in second place, behind only Matt Ryan, because of the important role Harvin has played in the Vikings three wins, and the fact that he was the only offensive player worth a hoot in their one loss.
Thursday, Harvin was recognized not as the league’s best player, but was bestowed a pretty high honor. Harvin won the NFC’s special teams player of September.
Harvin is averaging 38.3 yards on nine kickoff returns and set the tone for an upset win against Detroit by returning the opening kickoff for 105 yards and a score. That return caused the Lions to kickoff short for the rest of the game, as they were scared to death he would do it twice… or more.
Interestingly enough, the AFC’s special teams player of the month is Titans return man Darius Reynaud, who is a former Viking.