Posts tagged with: Jared Allen

Preseason Week 1 Game Recap

Game Recap

Well, we’re one week into the Preseason. The Vikings beat the Colts 13-3 Friday night. Like I mentioned before, winning and losing doesn’t mean much for the preseason, but we did see some important things.

Vikings vs Colts

SAGE ROSENFELS LOOKED GOOD
He went 10 for 13 for 91 yards. He looked sharp and he looked comfortable. I really like how they had him running plays. He was taking a 3 to 5 step drop and getting rid of the ball quickly. They also mixed in a lot of play action. If they keep up this kind of play calling in the regular season, it would take away some of the pressure on the running game, because opposing teams would have to have more guys back in coverage. I really liked what I saw.

OUR STARTING DEFENSE LOOKED GREAT
Of course the Colts were playing a very vanilla game plan, but in the first series, Jared Allen, Ray Edwards, and Fred Evans all had a sack. Peyton Manning was sacked 3 times. He got off 2 passes, and completed 1 of them for 6 yards.

Actually, the defense looked strong all night. Even the reserves were putting pressure on the quarterback. That was nice to see.

OUR SPECIAL TEAMS LOOKED MUCH MUCH BETTER
This one was very important. Our special teams was awful last year. Against the Colts they looked fast and sharp. That gives me tons of hope.

ALBERT YOUNG LOOKED GREAT
Like I said before, Albert Young is not going to be one of those guys that has break away speed and scores a 90 yard TD (although many would say the same about Chester Taylor, and he has a 95 yard TD in his stats), but he’s a good solid runner. Friday night he played great. He was patient and waited for the holes, and as soon as they open he bolted through. He averaged over 4 yards a carry. I think he’s going to make the team, and I think he’s going to contribute as much as a 3rd stringer can. I have to assume he would’ve ran even better if he would’ve had the first stringers blocking for him.

THE FIRST YEAR LINEMEN LOOKED GOOD
First year starting center John Sullivan and rookie right tackle Phil Loadholt played some extra time even after the other starters sat down. Sullivan looked like he’s going to do just fine this year. Loadholt made a couple rookie mistakes, causing Tarvaris Jackson to have to run for his life a time or two, and he had one really bad false start, but I chalk those up to first game jitters. When he was on this game, there’s no way anyone was going to get around him. He’s a LARGE man, and he moves very well.

Other notes….

Tarvaris Jackson did not look good. At all. However, to be fair to him, Sage had a better line and a MUCH better supporting cast around him. Tarvaris spent some time being chased by defenders, and he had receivers that weren’t as experienced. Sage looked much much better, but I’ll reserve my final judgement until next Friday when I see how Tarvaris plays with the starters, and how Sage fairs with the backups.

Percy Harvin didn’t play at all. He had dinged his shoulder up a bit on Wednesday, and the Vikings decided to err on the side of caution. I think that’s just fine.

Bernard Berrian left on a cart, but Coach Childress acted at half time like it wasn’t as serious as it looks. I still haven’t found out the extent of the injury. Hopefully he’ll be fine.

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Vikings corners think they’re among the best

Yahoo sports posted a story today about how the Vikings corners believe they are among the best tandems in the league.  Click HERE to read that story.  (It’s a short one)

Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin are the starting corners for the Vikes this year.  They have some confidence.  That is a good thing for defenders to have.

I have to say I share that confidence.

The Vikings passing defense had looked bad for years, but was it ever really the fault of players like Winfield?  I really don’t think so.  No corner in the league can cover a wide receiver for 8, 9, 10 seconds, and before this past year, that’s what the Vikings DBs were often asked to do.  The Vikings were consistently putting talented guys in their backfield, but even though their D-line was amazing against the run, it produced no pass rush at all.

Of course last year, the appearance of Jared Allen on the Vikings scene changed all that.  Allen not only had 14.5 sacks (and who knows how many hurries and knock downs), his mere presence on the line allowed guys like Kevin Williams, Ray Edwards, and Brian Robison to spend more time in the opposing team’s backfield.  The Vikings also seemed a little more willing to blitz this year as well, which also helped to pressure the other team’s QB.

The combination of the added pressure and the fact that the Vikes really do have talent in their defensive backfield meant that the Vikings skyrocketed up the stats list when it comes to pass defense.

And I really don’t see any reason it should be any different this year.


The Vikings shine as the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 30 – 21

Yesterday’s season-ending Pro Bowl is now in the books, and the NFC won 30 – 21.

The MVP of the game (and rightfully so) was Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals.  Fitzgerald capped off his amazing post season with 5 catches for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Fitz proved once again that it doesn’t matter who is covering him… if the QB puts the ball where he can get it, he’ll get it.

The Vikings looked good throughout the game.  Offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson played nearly the entire game, Kevin Williams and Antoine Winfield both had 4 tackles, and Pat Williams and Jared Allen each had 3.  Allen had a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery (all in one play!).  Winfield had an interception.  Adrian Peterson rushed 8 times for 48 yards and a TD.

The Vikings really shined in short burst in the third quarter.  AFC QB Kerry Collins tried to go deep to Brandon Marshall of the Broncos, but the pass was picked off by Antoine Winfield.  Several plays (and a punt) later, the AFC has the ball back.  Jared Allen gets to Collins and strips the ball, forcing a fumble and being credited with a sack.  Allen scooped the ball up and returned it to the AFC 10 yard line.  On the very next play, Peterson took the hand off from Manning and ran 10 yards for the TD.

The big difference for Peterson this year was that he only got 8 carries.  Last year he got 19 carries during the game, and before the game started, it sounded like NFC coach Any Reid was going to continue that trend.  This year the NFC only rushed 19 times total, though.

The Pro Bowl is never the most exciting game to watch in my mind, but it does mark the official end of the football season.  It’s a little sad that we will have to wait 6 months to see the Vikings on the field again, but hopefully there will be plenty going on with roster moves to keep us all excited.


Vikings in this Sunday’s Pro Bowl

The Minnesota Vikings have 6 players in this Sunday’s Pro Bowl, so I thought we could take a look at them today. We’ll start with the offense

OFFENSIVE PRO BOWLERS

Adrian Peterson (Starter)
Of course this one is kind of a given. Peterson led the NFL with 1,760 rushing yards this year, and there probably isn’t any other running back in the league that is feared by defenses like he is. He was last year’s Pro Bowl MVP, putting up the second most rushing yards in the history of the Pro Bowl itself. Any Reid asked him how many carries he wants this year, and Adrian answered “You can give me the ball every time”.

Steve Hutchinson (Starter)
Hutch is one of the best linemen in the game, so this doesn’t come as a surprise. He was a solid part of the left side of the line for the Vikings all year.

DEFENSIVE PRO BOWLERS

Kevin Williams (Starter)
One half of the Williams Wall, Kevin has been a pro bowler before, but he certainly benefited from having newcomer Jared Allen on the line with him this year. His sack total went from 3 last year to 8.5 this year, proving that he’s still just as dangerous on passing downs as he is in stopping the run.

Antoine Winfield (Starter)
Winfield will be playing in his first Pro Bowl ever this year. I used to complain a lot about Winfield. I always thought he was a solid tackler, but I felt he got beat a lot on plays that he should’ve been able to break up. This year he changed my mind. He only had 2 interceptions on the year, but he consistently made big plays at key times, including a couple defensive touchdowns.
Pat Williams
Big Pat will be joining fellow linemen Kevin Williams and Jared Allen in this year’s Pro Bowl. Even though only Kevin Williams is starting, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some plays when the Minnesota Vikings make up 75% of the defensive line in the game. Pat is an amazing run stopper, and his value was proven when he missed a few games at the end of the season this year.
Jared Allen
Allen is another obvious choice for the Pro Bowl. He had 14.5 sacks this season, and he lead the league with 2 safeties on the season as well. My only gripe though is that he should be a starter. He had more sacks then starter Justin Tuck, and the same number of sacks and more tackles than starter Julius Peppers. I have a feeling that he’ll make the most of his playing time, though. I’m going to predict that he finishes the game with 2 sacks.


Random news and notes from training camp

Good morning Vikings fans!

Training Camp is in full swing, so I thought I’d take a look at some of the happenings that might be of some interest to you.

Article about the battle at the QB position

John David Booty
John David Booty Brooks Bollinger

For the Vikings, the only QB battle going on is for the 3rd string position between ineffective veteran Brooks Bollinger and 5th round draft pick John David Booty out of USC. I have to think that this isn’t much of a battle. As big of a fan as former Wisconsin offensive-coordinator Brad Childress is of former Wisconsin QB Brooks Bollinger, even he has to see that Brooks just isn’t that great of a quarterback for the NFL. Besides that, the Vikings traded up in the 5th round specifically to get Booty, and Childress likes to have QB projects to work on. I think Booty has the job in the bag, and I think Bollinger is in camp just to drive Booty a little bit.

McKinnie and Allen go head to head
Bryant McKinnie and newcomer Jared Allen are going head to head during practices at training camp. McKinnie says that he’s learning a lot by guarding Allen, who is likely one of the toughest people he’ll face all year, while Allen says that pushing around the almost 350 pound McKinnie all day is definitely helping him get ready for the upcoming season.

One thing I love about the strong left side on the offensive line and the strong defensive line as a whole is that they’re going to work each other hard during practices. If our defensive line can learn to get past an o-line that has McKinnie, Hutchinson, and Birk during practice, then they’re going to be sitting pretty good during regular season games. On the other hand, when our O-line has to learn to block Jared Allen, Pat Williams, and Kevin Williams, most defensive lines that they face during the season are going to seem pretty easy to them.

The Vikings are searching for their kick returners
One of the things that the Vikes are trying to figure out during training camp is who will get to return kicks. The leading candidates for kickoff returns are Maurice Hicks, Albert Young, and Aundrae Allison. The article also mentions that Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor could also see some time returning kicks. The candidates for punt returners are Bobby Wade, Jaymar Johnson, Aundrae Allison, Bernard Berrian, and Charles Gordon.

As for the punt returners, I have to say that I’d like to see someone other than Bobby Wade do it. I didn’t think Wade was all that impressive last year, and it seemed like he called a fair catch on 95% of the punts, whether he needed to or not. I’d actually like to see what a guy like Berrian could do. I just don’t know enough about Johnson and Gordon.

On kick returns, my official guess is that Hicks will win it, although I would absolutely love for Albert Young to get that job. I’m very much a Hawkeyes fan, so I’ve been watching Young for the last couple of years. I have to say I’m biased for him, for sure, but I think he could contribute to the team. Unfortunately for him, it’s hard to get a position as a running back on a team that has Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, so I think him making the team is a long shot. Boy I’d love to see it, though.

Hopefully that scratched the Vikings-itch that I know we’re all dealing with this time of year and gave you a little bit of relief. It’s hard to come up with a whole lot of fresh news this time of year, but don’t worry, pre-season starts in just over a week!

Until next time

-The Jazzy One


Getting the blog up to speed

Okay, so a lot has happened over this offseason. Let’s see if we can do a quick review to get all caught up.

The Biggest News: Jared Allen

Jared AllenIn my opinion, the biggest news for Vikings fans during the off-season was the acquisition of defensive end Jared Allen from the Kansas City Chiefs. Last year our pass defense was terrible, but I really don’t think it was because of the defensive backs. Winfield was a solid defender, Cedric Griffin was coming into his own, and Darren Sharper is still one of the best there is. I think the biggest problem for the Vikings pass defense last year is that they put absolutely no pressure on opposing quarterbacks. QBs had forever and a day in the pocket against the Vikes, and no matter how good your DBs are, they can not cover recievers for 10+ seconds. On the other hand, Allen was over in Kansas City racking up boat loads of sacks. Despite playing in only 14 games, he had as many sacks as the top 3 guys on the Vikings COMBINED. He should add instant pass rushing to the Vikings defense. What I’m interested in seeing is how opposing O-lines handle Minnesota. When you’re facing a defensive line with Pat Williams, Kevin Williams, and Jared Allen (3 Pro-Bowlers), who do you decide not to double? I have a hunch that no only will Allen get his fair share of sacks this year, but Ray Edwards on the other end will benefit from the attention that Allen gets.

The Other Big News: Bernard Berrian

Bernard Berrian The Vikings did not have explosive receivers last year. Okay, let me rephrase that… The Vikings did not have explosive receivers that could catch last year. The free agency market was a little thin when it came to WRs (well, except for Randy Moss who everyone expected to stay put), but everyone seemed to agree that Bernard Berrian from the Chicago Bears was a potential game-breaker. He has great speed and has the ability to get down the field fast, which is exactly what the Vikings need. If Minnesota shows a threat of being able to go deep at any given time, the defenders will not be able to stack 8 or 9 in the box, which means that Adrian Peterson should be able to do amazing things once again. I really think he’ll compliment Sidney Rice in a great way, and I really expect those two to become quite the receiving duo.

The Other Acquisitions

The Vikings also signed some other quality free agents, notably Madieu Williams at safety and Thomas Tapeh at fullback.

Tapeh will have big shoes to fill as he takes over for the departing Tony Richardson, who is quite possibly one of the all time greats at the fullback position. As long as he can lead block for AD and Chester Taylor, though, I’ll be a happy man.

Williams adds some speed to the safety position as he takes over for Dwight Smith. To be honest I don’t know much about Williams, but I’ve read that he’s a very solid cover man, and I’m looking forward to watching him to see what he can do

The Vikings sign all of their draft picks as camp starts

And this should pretty much catch us up to the present. The Vikings signed all 5 of their draft picks: Letroy Guion, John David Booty, John Sullivan, Jaymar Johnson, and Tyrell Johnson.

Oh yeah, there’s also that Brett Favre stuff… maybe we’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Until Then

The Jazzy One