More Preseason Thoughts

Overall, the Vikings first preseason game on Friday had a lot of things to get excited about.  The defense dominated and the offense thrived under Sage Rosenfels.

ROSENFELS

Rosenfels showed great composure, even when the pressure was on.  Robert Mathis beat Visanthe Shiancoe once and then he beat Phil Loadholt just a few moments later.  Rosenfels was able to hold back and not make the big mistake and at the same time not take the sack. 

On a 3rd down with eight yards to go, Rosenfels was pressured out of the pocket and tried to make a run for it.  He realized that he wasn’t going to get the first down and slid, protecting the football.  This play was set up very similar to the now infamous “Rosencopter” play but had completly different outcomes.  Rosenfels showed his ability to make the smart and conservative play instead of getting caught up in the moment and trying to do too much. 

Rosenfels looked like a leader out there, as well.  Perhaps a more youthful and talented version of Gus Frerotte.  It was interesting, however, that Rosenfels was making line of scrimmage changes at a couple of points.  This is something we’ve seldom seen quarterbacks do under the Childress regime.

4th DOWNS WORKED THIS TIME

The Vikings first drive was their only touchdown of the game, and it came after they successfully converted two 4th downs.  It’s great that they were able to convert, but it’s not a good sign that the first team couldn’t move the chains in three downs. 

Converting 3rd downs is something the team has said is a high priority to improve this season.  The first team ended up at only 1 of 3 on 3rd down conversions on Friday.  33% is not improving, so they still have some work to do.

When the regular season rolls around, Childress will be much less willing to go for it on 4th down, and that touchdown probably never would have been.

WHERE’S THE CREATIVITY?

When it comes to preseason, teams very seldom are willing to show their cards, and call very conservative and vanilla games.  So it was no surprise when the Vikings chose not to unveil the much anticipated WildCat offense in their preseason opener. 

I do, however, wonder why the Vikings opted not to try anything creative at all.  Maybe a reverse to Jaymar Johnson.  Maybe a faked punt.  At the very least they could’ve shown some play action!  This is a team that should be kings of play action, but they hardly did any of that on Friday.  Even something as simple as play action should be practiced in the preseason to prevent miscues and fumbles like we saw far too often last season.

GOOD DEPTH MEANS A GOOD TEAM

The Vikings have done a great job of building an almost “bullet proof” team by securing solid depth at nearly every position.  Think about it, even if the unspeakable were to happen and Adrian Peterson were lost for some reason, the team’s season would not be over because of the solid depth provided by Chester Taylor and Albert Young.  Taylor has was fantastic on Friday night, showing his power and versatility on numerous occasions. 

Running back isn’t the only place where the #2 guys shined.  Sidney Rice did some great run blocking, Heath Farwell and Eric Frampton were all over the field, Jamarca Sanford and Jayme Mitchell each saved a touchdown, and I don’t see how the Vikings could cut any of their linebackers.

This team has depth, and depth is perhaps the single best thing a team can have… other than good luck on the injury front.

THE INJURY FRONT

Garrett Mills, Brian Robison and Percy Harvin sat out on Friday.  While Robison’s and Harvin’s absences appear to be strictly precautionary, Mills injury could be more serious.

During the game Rosenfels, Berrian, Reynaud all experienced some injuries.  Berrian looks to have tweaked his right hamstring, and could miss significant time between now and the regular season opener.  Rosenfels and Reyanud are expected to be okay.

Overall, the Vikings should count themselves lucky so far when it comes to their overall health.  Often times, the best team is the healthiest team.

JOHNSON NEEDS TO STEP IT UP

First year players Phil Loadholt, Asher Allen, Jasper Brinkley, and Jamarca Sanford all played well on Friday.  Second year center John Sullivan was impressive in his first start.  Second year safety, Tyrell Johnson, was one of the least impressive players on the field in my opinion.

Expected to be the starting strong safety this season, Johnson struggled at numerous points on Friday.  Most noticeable was Joseph Addai juking Johnson out of his shoes and continuing for a big run half way through the first quarter.  The bad missed tackle is the type of thing that could be very embarassing to Johnson in the regular season. Its around the 1:15 mark:

He needs to step it up these next three weeks.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Enjoyed this post?
Subscribe to Vikings Gab via RSS Feed or E-mail and receive daily news updates from us!

Submit to Digg  Stumble This Story  Share on Twitter  Post on Facebook  Post on MySpace  Add to del.icio.us  Bark It Up  Submit to Reddit  Fave on Technorati

6 Responses to “More Preseason Thoughts”

  1. G.P. says:

    I agree with you that Tyrell Johnson’s performance was luke-warm at best. However, better for him to get his issues sorted in the Pre-season than during the season. True that missed tackle was almost laughable but he seemed rather uncomfortable on the field the entire night. I suspect that his inability to find his stride was in part due to performance jitters.

    Part of why I like Pre-season football is because teams are allowed to be Vanilla and save the New York Super Fudge Chunk for later. Teams are just out there trying to get their feet wet and get a feel for the game again. At a very basic level Pre-season foorball is about working on team mechanics, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and finding the most efficient and effective team dynamic. I have a feeling that as the Pre-season progresses we shall see a more complex and intricate style of play. For now I feel it was what a first game is supposed to be: safe, a bit bland in terms of execution, a preview of possibilities.

    Asher Allen played well as you said above. I particularly liked the fact that he seemed rather at ease on the field and was able to deliver some pretty good hits! I liked the fact he hammered Painter (If I do so recall although, I’m not one-hundred percent certain of the fellows name). As usual Double A had plenty of enthusiasm and tackled well.

    All in All it was one of many of what I hope will be a string of porductive and well played games. Bland as it may have been the Vikes still managed to win. SKOL Vikes!

  2. Adam Warwas says:

    G.P.,

    Glad to see you’re still hanging around 🙂

    Hopefully Johnson gets more comfy in the next few weeks, he’s got the skills it’s just a matter of waiting for it to “click” for him on the field.

    Preseason is vanilla as it should be, but the Vikings should practice the play-action. Last year there were too many botched plays and fumbles because the timing was off between center, QB, and running back. They need to practice it.

    Allen played well, but he also missed Donald Brown on at least two occassions. The tackles he did make were very promising however. Still think he’s got to prove some more before he displaces Benny Sapp.

    Thanks again for commenting and i hope you keep checking back to make sure I stay in line…

    take it easy, pal.

  3. G.P. says:

    Quarterbacks get glory, wide receivers fame, running backs get props and a ton of praise. Cornerbacks for all their efforts get little in return except for displaced comments and unnecessary spurn.
    The position is not flashy nor is it highly touted. Yet, when a team is need of an interception, or a tackle, or someone to stop an opposing team from running amuck all the sudden it’s up to the defense to get it together. Funny, but I’ve always viewed cornerbacks as intricate part of the grand scheme of things.
    No CB is ever one hundred percent perfect in his execution all the time. It’s a tough job and has a tremendous amount of physical demand and strain. True, Allen missed Donald Brown but I still, appreciate the way he played, even more so because it was his first showing. I’m sure it’s an immense amount of pressure. He’s trying to make a name for himself amongst players with bigger names and more experience, playing in a very aggressive and fast- paced league.
    He may not displace Sapp this year but either way I still say that Double A is skilled and worthy of fanfare. Allen handled himself well on the field Friday night and for that I applaud him. I could be overly critical and try and diminish his skill and effort. However, I’m not fickle and understand that football is easy to watch but hard to play.

    I can assure you I won’t be going anywhere this season… the next few. As always it was a pleasure verbally jousting with you. Until next time…Go Vikes!

  4. Adam Warwas says:

    Yeah, guys like Deion Sanders, Mel Blount, and Mike Haynes were always so darn under-appreciated. Or how about the greats of today like Nnamdi and Champ? Please, G.P., you know as well as anybody that football players have to earn the respect regardless of position. Anyone who tries to tell you that it’s easier to make it as a quarterback than a cornerback simply because of the “glory” factor is lying to you.

    Allen is subject to criticism just like any other player who signs up for the NFL… it comes with the territory. He missed some tackles, just pointing it out is all. Like I said, I thought he played well overall.

  5. G.P. says:

    Dude Warwas slow your roll…

    I was not trying to insinuate that Allen was above having to earn his stripes. I understand that football especially pro ball is a grown man’s game. I get the impression that perhaps you took my comments a bit personally. Please be aware that my opening statement was meant to be sarcastic and fun (hence the rhyme) obviously, I am well aware that players like Champ Bailey and Nnamdi are often acknowledged for their efforts. I was in no way trying to demean or undermine your thoughts or ideas about the pre-season game or Asher Allen’s performance. I was merely doing what any “huge” fan of a player would do defend their player. This isn’t new. If I do so recall, you were the one that dubbed me a “huge” fan of Double A and I counter your thoughts on him often. You say something bad and I say something good. This has been our stick since I began frequenting your blog. You’ve always been witty and provocative in return. This is in part why I keep coming back; I respect your opinion and understand that its part of your job as site editor to examine things with a critical eye. I’m not so bemused as to think that Asher Allen is beyond reproach…we are talking NFL and big boys after all. Just as it is your job to point out Asher Allen’s possible short comings, it is mine to defend him as a loyal and dedicated fan. No malice intended.

  6. Adam Warwas says:

    No, G.P., not taking it personal… just was trying to respond ina rush earlier because my lunch hour was almost up 🙂 Thus, tactful nuances went out the window. Sorry.

    I always appreciate the insight… just saying… the kids got room to improve (or at least needs to get past the NFL jitters). Also, cornerback is indeed a hard position to succeed at, but they will not get any “poor them” sentiments from me as long as offensive linemen still play the game.

    Keep the banter coming, Mr. Burdel, I’m always game.

Leave a Reply