Saturday, January 31, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "percy harvin"

percy harvin

Following a 28 yard run to Adrian Peterson, the Vikings called a toss to the left to Percy Harvin.

Harvin got stuffed for a loss, but what is worse is how Harvin went down writhing in pain and clutching his left ankle.  Earl Thomas laid his shoulder into Harvin’s ankle and it looked very bad, but Harvin was able to slowly walk off on his own power.

The Vikings chose to enter this game with only four wide receivers, so they now only have three.  Jerome Simpson, Michael Jenkins, and Devin Aromashodu will have to pick up the slack.

Once again, Toby Gerhart only has one carry so far in this game, which has to make one wonder.

After getting gifted a penalty and a first down, the Vikings sputtered on offense, setting Blair Wlash up for a 55 yard attempt.  Walsh nailed it, despite arguments from the Seahawks that the play clock ran out before the ball was snapped.

The Vikings got a few gifts from the refs here, and the Vikings are down by only seven points.

After the Vikings went for seven in the opening drive by riding the shoulders of Adrian Peterson, things got a whole lot less good for Minnesota.

After forcing Seattle to punt because of their own inability to catch a football, the Vikings failed passing attempt on first down eventually led to a third and long attempt.  Bill Musgrave opted to hand the ball to Percy Harvin who was stripped of the football while trying to stretch the play for a first down.  Seattle recovered and Golden Tate caught a touchdown in front of A.J. Jefferson at the end of the drive.

The Vikings were unable to do much, despite Peterson’s best efforts, on the following drive.  For some reason, Christian Ponder is still allowed to roll to his right, which suggests to me that perhaps nobody in Winter Park watches any game tape of themselves… ever.  Nothing good seems to happen when he roles to his right.

The Seahawks seem able to move the ball well against this Vikings defense, even with Sidney Rice throwing passes, and that needs to change if the Vikings want to come out of this with a road win.  Sidney Rice, with about three minutes left in the first quarter, caught a third down touchdown to put the Seahawks up by seven.

I have had a hectic week and while I fully intended to produce a full “Preview” segment like normal, but I ran out of time.  I still wanted to get something up in advance of this game, however, as it stands to be a turning point type of matchup for this 2012 Vikings team.

It could be a turn for the best, but it could also be a turn for the worst.

Here are five items I consider to be the most important this afternoon:

1.  Time To Go To Bat

Seattle’s starting rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has, thus far in his young career, overcome the pre-Draft knock on him that he is too short.  It is time for that to stop.  Wilson has been an impressive rookie in an already impressive class of quarterbacks, but the Vikings must game plan to shut him down despite the absence of cornerback Chris Cook.

One way they can do that is to use their big defensive linemen to get into the throwing lanes and get their hands in the air.  Brian Robison put on a clinic last week in terms of batting passes, and Jared Allen and Kevin Williams have both made highlight reels in the past by doing this, so we know this isn’t an original idea for the Vikings defense.

Wilson is short.  He may be succeeding anyways, but his passes are more susceptible to being batted down at the line of scrimmage… that is just physics.  The Vikings need to give their secondary some help by employing the long arms of Robison and company this afternoon.

2.  Tackle Well, Live Longer

The Vikings cannot completely stop Seahawk’s running back Marshawn Lynch, but they can endeavor to contain him.

The “Beast” will not be contained, however, if the Vikings continue to tackle (or, perhaps, not tackle) the way they have been the last three weeks.  They missed 17 tackles last week, which resulted in Doug Martin’s monster game on Thursday Night Football.

Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, and Erin Henderson have their work cut out for them this week as they face the running back who is closest to Adrian Peterson for the NFL rushing lead.

3.  Run, Run, Run… and then Run Some More

I’m going to skip the Ponder-doubting that has overwhelmed Vikings Nation in the past few weeks.

Instead, I want to remember a Kansas City team that a few years ago won a significant amount of football game by embracing their stellar running game to the fullest.  Remember when the Chiefs ran Jamal Charles and Thomas Jones on what seemed like every down, including fourth, to move the chains in a safe and time-consuming manner?  I want to see that type of dedication to the run game with the Vikings, who are very well built to do it.

The best way to win this game, and shut up that damned 12th man, is to shove Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart down their throats for seven minutes at a time.

4.  Start Utilizing Rudolph… For Real

Second year tight end Kyle Rudolph is having a decent season, particularly in terms of touchdown catches.  However, I think there is still plenty of untapped potential here.

The Seahawks boast a number of young, high-quality cornerbacks and that could spell trouble for mediocre performers like Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins.

Getting the ball to Percy Harvin is always a must, but Rudolph needs to start being utilized more in the every down passing game.  He needs to be running seam routes and he needs to be a threat no matter where the Vikings are on the field.

Feed him the ball, Musgrave.

5.  Special Teams Must Be Special Today

Most of you probably think I’m going to talk about Percy Harvin’s returns or Blair Walsh’s big leg, and that is certainly part of it.

I think both of these teams, however, have very dangerous threats on special teams and the biggest point of emphasis needs to be the Vikings ability to play mistake-free football on the coverage unit.  Leon Washington has a habit of embarrassing opponents, and plllllease Football Gods… don’t let it be the Vikings.

PREDICTION:

I think another close one is in store for us here, and I worry about the outcome, but I still think this Vikings team will be 6-3 in a few hours.  As long as common sense is utilized by the Vikings coaching staff, and the players execute like we know they can, they can come out of this game with another win.

My prediction:  22-17, Vikings

That’s right ya’ll, a Wizard Of Oz reference in the title.  Oh, snap!  Hey Judy Garland was from Minnesota, so it fits, stop scoffing!

Anyways, as I am sure you all have seen by now (sorry, computer bugs struck this week) Jerome Simpson has made it clear that he was not happy about Leslie Frazier’s decision to keep him out of last Sunday’s game against the Redskins.

I expected to read quotes about Simpson wishing he could have helped lift his team to victory, how he could have helped stretch the field and open up the run game.

“You lose $60,000 you’d be mad, too,” is instead the Simpson quote making the rounds, referencing the fact that he lost his weekly roster bonus by not being active.

While Simpson said more than just that and said he and Frazier are now on the same page, Simpson’s quote bothered me more from a philosophical standpoint.  Simpson didn’t lose anything at all, in reality, and his words hint that maybe he hasn’t learned the lessons he claimed he has.

Simpson didn’t earn his weekly roster bonus because the head coach, who can deactivate him any week for any reason, chose to sit him.  That weekly roster bonus is a result of the way his contract was written.  The contract was written that way because Simpson was sitting on the free agent shelf long after the free agency period opened, largely due to concerns about how long his suspension would be.  His suspension was the result of Simpson’s trouble with the law after a large amount of drugs was delivered to his home.

Action.  Reaction.

Action.  Consequence.

Simpson’s quote is a far cry from the “I’m just grateful to have another opportunity” type of quotes we were getting after he signed with the Vikings, and that is really disappointing to me.

So, now that I have done the second-best thing I do – harp on players like a mother hen – let me do what I actually do best… provide irresponsibly wild speculation.

For a rebuilding year, the 4-2 Vikings are surprisingly close to first place in the NFC North and, by all appearances, are capable of beating any team on any given Sunday if the stars align properly.

One of those stars that could possibly be in line?  How does Dwayne Bowe sound?

The Chiefs star receiver reportedly wants out of Kansas City and there are even some rumors already that he could be part of a pre-deadline deal to Miami, a logical landing spot.  If, however, the Vikings win their next two games (which I fully expect them to) and they are ever-so-close to a playoff spot then they may also become a logical spot for the 28 year old receiver.

Bowe is a big, physical receiver that is capable of stretching the field… just not in the traditional speed-based sort of way.  He is durable, as he has played in all but five games over five and a half seasons, and always seems to contribute at a high level no matter how poorly his team, and quarterbacks, are playing.

Bowe has had maturity issues of his own in the not-so-distant past, but I just can’t imagine him being anything but the perfect complement to Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph.  It just seems logical.

What might not seem so logical, once known, is Kansas City’s asking price and Bowe’s contract desires.  That could be a major hiccup in any deal, with any team they try and deal with, but for now I just can’t help but think I am not way off base here… and in a week or two we might be hearing from major media outlets about Minnesota as a potential landing spot for Bowe.

After all, the last time we swung a blockbuster deal with the Chiefs for a troubled talent in his prime, it worked out pretty well.

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Monday’s are never quite as fun after a loss like the one the Vikings suffered yesterday. Your boss being a Packer fan and informing you that the football universe is now back in alignment after their hearty win over the Texans (and the Vikings loss) makes it all the more worse.

But it’s okay – today is a new day separate from the angst and irrationality of last night. I’m not quite ready to start sipping the purple kool-aid again but Adam has some notes from yesterday’s game that I promise are more level-headed than mine.

For whatever reason, he wasn’t able to post them himself. So, on his behalf, here are some of our favorite Vikings blogger’s opinions on last night’s travesty.

Mobile Quarterbacks

I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe Erin Henderson should have replaced Jasper Brinkley on nickel downs. Maybe Jared Allen needed to ease up on his pass rush and focus more on containment. Maybe Everson Griffen needed to take more snaps. Whatever the issue, this Vikings defense struggles with mobile quarterbacks, and that could prove to be an issue down the stretch. Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler are both on the schedule, twice each, between now and the end of the season.

I Hate Those Penalties

I have said it a few times that the week two performance against Indianapolis was one of the worst games the Vikings have played in recent memory. A huge part of that reasoning is the disdain I have for penalties and this most recent game against Washington had that same feel. Too many penalties, too undisciplined.

A Whole New Appreciation For Harvin

The Vikings performed better against Washington than they did against Indy earlier this season, and had some better individual performances, but once again Percy Harvin is the biggest silver lining following the “L.” I want to make a fresh point about Harvin, however. After watching Matt Stafford flip the football, Victor Cruz salsa dance, Jared Allen rope a cow when his team is losing, and RGIII act like he is auditioning for Glee, I love how professional and sensible Harvin is during his moments of dominance. After a big play, it seems to take him about a nanosecond before he is focused on making the next big play. Chris Kluwe called Harvin the hardest working player in football following Sunday’s loss, and I believe him, because he is all business for 60 straight minutes.

“Lack Of A Deep Threat” Is A Myth

I keep hearing that Jerome Simpson is the Vikings only deep threat. If that is truly the case, then the Vikings front office and coaching staff have pinned themselves into a corner that is inexcusable. If your only way to stretch the field is a street free agent beginning the year on suspension, then you have screwed up.

I don’t think that is the case, however, so it frustrates me to see Bill Musgrave act like the Sunday morning pre-game shows know what they are talking about in the way he calls plays. The Vikings begin the game by finding great success in the run game, Washington adjusts to stop the run, and then the Vikings fail to adjust their own plan and take advantage of them stacking the box. That is not a good blueprint to have on tape.

Luckily, however, the Vikings do have deep threats besides Simpson and soon they will have to realize it. I have seen Percy Harvin be successful downfield with Brett Favre throwing him the ball. I know John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph can be dangerous running streaks down the seam. Heck, even Devin Aromashodu has made plays deep every year since joining the Vikings. If Michael Jenkins can’t get there, then how about giving Stephen Burton a chance to show us what he can do? The options are there but Musgrave has to acknowledge them and Ponder has to take advantage of them.

No matter what, though, put receiver at the top of your offseason priority list for the Vikings in 2013.

Loadholt Extension

I have always thought that mid-season contract extension should be used as a way to reward excellent play and motivate others on the roster. Last week, news broke that the Vikings had begun negotiating with starting right tackle Phil Loadholt whose contract expires after this season. I didn’t get a chance to give my opinion on the matter, so I’ll take the opportunity now.

Does Phil Loadholt deserve a reward for his play this season? Is he easily enough replaced or upgraded via the Draft or free agency? Will cheaper options be available?

I like Loadholt okay. He is serviceable. I just don’t see him, as he gets older, somehow becoming more athletic and quicker on his feet, however. I’m just not convinced he is worth a larger, long-term investment at this point. If I had a vote (which I won’t and never will) I would say to leave it be until January and then see where things stand.

Injury Free And Rebound Opportunity

The Vikings fell to second place in the NFC North with their loss on Sunday, but they came out of it largely unscathed and have a chance to get their confidence back against a pair of lesser teams. Leslie Frazier indicated that the team suffered no major injuries on Sunday, so that is great news moving forward. The Vikings had back to the Metrodome to host the atrocious-looking Cardinals and then get to play the lackluster Bucs. It is possible, if not somewhat likely, that this Vikings team will soon be 6-2.

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