Sep 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh (3) celebrates his a 55-yard field goal during the fourth quarter holds against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Jaguars 26-23 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Scoring the Offense: Analyzing the Vikings Week 1 Win Over the Jaguars

POSITION GRADES

Offensive Line

Grade: B+

  • 2 sacks allowed, 4 yards

The offensive line held up pretty well, albeit against a less-than-stellar Jaguars’ defensive line. Our tackles performed well. Kalil was solid, only getting beat on a few running plays. He didn’t give up any quarterback pressures. On the other side, Loadholt gave up two quarterback pressures, one contributing to Ponder’s fumble. There were a few missteps up the middle, however, as both Jaguars’ defensive tackles, Terrance Knighton and Tyson Alualu, sacked Ponder.

  • Rushing yards gained – 123

The majority of rushing attempts came up the middle. The Vikings ran up the gut 11 times for 60 yards (5.5 yards/carry) and both of Adrian’s touchdowns. Running on the left side of the line was completely futile, 4 rushes, -3 yards. Running on the right side of the line produced some good results, 4 rushes, 24 yards (6 yards/carry). The Vikings also ran to the outside left six times for 19 yards and to the outside right two times for 22 yards.

Notes

By all indications, Matt Kalil played quite well for his first game. Now let’s see how he does against some elite pass rushers. The Colts’ Dwight Freeney could be next, but he sprained his ankle in Week 1 and is listed as questionable for Sunday. Either way, Week 2 should present an interesting scenario, the first time Kalil will face the potentially much more confusing 3-4 defense.

 

Sep 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin (12) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Wide Receiver

Grade: B+

  • Percy Harvin – 6 rec, 84 yards (8 targets), 5 carries, 20 yards

Percy is electric, plain and simple. Every time he touches the ball, good things happen. The Vikings need to get the ball to him more, much more. And count me as one of the people against Harvin returning kicks. He’s the most dangerous weapon on the team, why put him in such a high risk, low reward position? I know he likes to return kicks, but just throw him the ball more and he will forget about the return game.

Aromashodu was almost a nonfactor, but he made one big catch in the fourth quarter and another in overtime. He’s a No. 3 wide receiver who will soon be a No. 4 wide receiver and a fifth or sixth option on any given play. He delivered when his number was called, and that’s all you can ask for.

Jenkins is never going to put up big numbers, he just doesn’t have the speed to separate, but he is reliable enough. He made a great catch on the sideline for 16 yards.

Notes

Christian Ponder threw the ball 27 times and Percy Harvin was only targeted eight of those times (a little under 30 percent). That’s not bad really, but considering the Vikings other options at wideout, I think it should be much higher than that.

 

Tight End

Grade: C

Rudolph played well. He caught the majority of balls thrown his way and was able to gain plenty of yards after the catch as well. He’s got a good feel for the receiving game. He did have one bad drop on a third-down play that would have been a first down. Rudolph will probably always struggle in the blocking department; he certainly did against the Jags.

Carlson was a nonfactor. Hopefully he will get more involved as his knee heals, but he is clearly not there yet.

Notes

Rudolph looked great on Sunday. Ponder clearly favors him (seven targets). Rudolph did good things with those seven targets, but again, Rudolph gets seven targets and Percy gets eight? I don’t think Rudolph is that good. Granted, I’m oversimplifying this, but maybe someone needs to dumb it down for Bill Musgrave…he reads The Viking Age, right?

 

Sep 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback Jerome Felton (42) and tackle Matt Kalil (75) celebrate with running back Adrian Peterson (28) after he scores a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE

Running Back

Grade: A

Adrian’s first game back since his ACL reconstruction was nothing short of fantastic. He might have been a little skittish at the beginning, not barreling into defenders with such reckless abandon, but the more snaps he saw, the more comfortable (and aggressive) he got. He made a classic devastating AD cut on his first touchdown run to blow by the only unblocked defender, Russell Allen. Peterson made a number of good, hard cuts on his surgically repaired left knee without any problems. That powerful leap into the end zone for his second touchdown was the icing on the cake. He’s back.

Toby is Toby, slow, reliable, consistent. He’s not going to do anything truly spectacular, but give him a lane, and he’ll give you 5-8 yards, nothing wrong with that.

Notes

How can you not give Adrian’s first game back an A? The man played better than anyone could have expected eight months removed from ACL surgery. He already has no problem making defenders miss and moving the pile on any given run. Things are only going to get better.

 

Quarterback

Grade: A-

  • Christian Ponder – 20 for 27, 270 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, QB-Rating: 105.5, 1 carry, 1 yard, 1 fumble lost

Ponder was quick to run early in the game. He didn’t look comfortable. It was almost like he was used to last year when he had NO time to throw the ball. But after he calmed down and realized he had time, our offense took off. It certainly helped that Bill Musgrave remembered who Percy Harvin was. Ponder didn’t throw any picks, but he came close twice and needs to be more mindful of his throws. At the same time, he can really make some terrific throws. With a collapsing pocket, he threw a perfect pass to Kyle Rudolph for 29 yards toward the end of the third quarter. That’s his potential, let’s see more of that.

PonderWatch

 

WEEK 1 OFFENSIVE MVP

Percy Harvin is the engine that drives the offense. Adrian Peterson had an incredible first game back. Christian Ponder only missed 7 passes and had a career-high QB-rating of over 100.

But Blair Walsh, a rookie kicker, made all four of his field-goal attempts, one 55-yarder to save the game as the clocked expired (Chris Cook, you better be sending him some fruit baskets, plural) and one game-winning 38-yarder to take the lead in overtime. As far as first games in the NFL go, they don’t get much better than that. Welcome to the NFL, Mr. Walsh.

Who is your Week 1 Offensive MVP?

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HIGHLIGHT PLAY

The only way a 55-yard game-tying field goal by a rookie kicker gets better? Watching it again with Paul Allen’s call.

 

ROOKIE WATCH

Matt Kalil

Was more than solid for his first NFL game. Was exceptional in pass blocking, a little worse in run blocking, but no glaring weaknesses to complain of. Extra bonus: He blocked a Jaguars’ PAT, and considering the Vikings won the game in overtime, that one point really made a difference, eh?

Blair Walsh

Can’t say enough about Blair Walsh and his awesomeness. He’s up for rookie of the week on NFL.com. Since he’s a kicker (and RGIII is kind of good, I guess), Walsh doesn’t have much of a chance, but it never hurts to vote!

Matt Asiata

Was only on the field for one snap, but made a two-yard catch. Hey, not every rookie’s debut can be headline-worthy, okay?

 

QUICK NOTES

It’s hard to be too concerned about anything after such an exciting Week 1 victory, and there are obviously no trends to be concerned with yet, either. But third-down efficiency in Week 1 was a glaring weakness. The Vikings completed just two of ten third-down conversions. Out of 12 drives, the Vikings had five punts, four field goals, two touchdowns and one turnover (fumble). That was okay against a poor Jaguars team, but that needs to improve if the Vikings want to have any chance to compete against the juggernauts of the NFC North.

 

 

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