Oct 14, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs the ball through a Washington Redskins hole during the first quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Paul Frederiksen-US PRESSWIRE

Scoring the Offense: Analyzing the Vikings' Week 6 Loss to the Redskins

POSITION GRADES

Offensive Line

Grade: D

  • sacks allowed – 4 sacks, 25 yards

On one end, Phil Loadholt did a great job controlling Ryan Kerrigan and limiting him to just two QB pressures. On the other end, Matt Kalil had a forgettable day, struggling against Lorenzo Alexander, who finished the day with 1.5 sacks.

It was the worst game of the season in terms of team rushing yardage and sacks allowed. Any surprise we lost?

  • Rushing yards gained – 94 yards on 24 carries (3.9 yards/carry)

Looks like the Vikings are looking to make a change at RG in the future, easing Geoff Schwartz in slowly for Brandon Fusco. Fusco has been the worst starting lineman on the team, and Geoff Schwartz has been a more than capable player in the past, so this change is an intriguing one.

 

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Wide Receiver

Grade: A

  • Percy Harvin – 11 rec, 133 yards (14 targets), 2 carries, 1 yard, 1 fumble

I still contend he shouldn’t be returning kicks. He’s too valuable to put in that situation. He was hurt early on a kickoff return and limped around most of the day. He fought through it, though, and still had another stellar day for the Vikings.

Percy can do so much that there isn’t really a way to stop him. If you play him tight, he blows by you. If you play him loose, he gets the ball early and makes you miss on the tackle (he has more broken tackles and yards after the catch than anyone else this season). Not to mention he could probably be a top 10 running back in this league.

Hopefully this surprise inactive is just a fluke thing that is being overplayed by the press, but it doesn’t feel good right now. Frazier said, “I just didn’t feel comfortable with what I was seeing in practice (from Simpson) in a couple different areas.” Simpson said he was stunned by the decision. These two better work this out this week, we need Simpson on the field.

Apparently Michael Jenkins is the only Viking who doesn’t have Blair Walsh on his fantasy team.

Bill Musgrave’s two-wide-receiver-sets-ONLY gameplan kind of limited Aromashodu’s production. But then again, so does his talent level.

 

Tight End

Grade: B+

He had a few drops and a number of uncatchable balls thrown to him. But when he and Ponder did connect, Rudolph did well. He continues to be the primary red-zone target and for good reason, he continues to prove he will come down with the ball in the end zone. I feel like at least one out of every three red-zone plays should be a pass to Rudolph in the end zone, regardless of how many people are covering him.

Continues to do more than John Carlson.

He’s on pace for 9 catches and 25 yards this season.

 

Running Back

Grade: B

  • Adrian Peterson – 17 carries, 79 yards, 4.6 yds/carry, 7 rec, 50 yards (8 targets)

Adrian’s not finding the end zone like we’re used to, which may be the primary factor in the Vikings’ red-zone struggles. Peterson is still churning out a good yards/carry average though. He was limited in this game because the Vikings were so far behind near the end, but Adrian still had a respectable game and did a nice job in the passing game as well.

  • Toby Gerhart – 1 carry,1 yard, 1.0 yds/carry, 2 catches, 10 yards

He was on the field more than this line indicates. Toby is probably our least explosive offensive weapon, so when he only gets three touches, that’s just fine with me.

 

Quarterback

Grade: C

  • Christian Ponder – 35 for 52, 352 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, QB-Rating: 83.2 , 4 carries, 13 yards, 1 fumble

Ponder’s stat line is misleading. His 352 yards are the second most of his career (381 vs. Denver 12/4/11). But for the vast majority of the game, Ponder and the Vikings couldn’t find the end zone, settling for field goal after field goal. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Ponder was able to connect with Jenkins and Rudolph for touchdowns, but at that point, the game was more a desperate race to get back in it than a strategic plan of attack. Maybe at that point Bill Musgrave let Ponder go out and do his thing because we had nothing left to lose. Or maybe the Redskins went into “don’t lose” mode and let the Vikings back in.

With the Vikings playing a desperate game of catch-up, Ponder recorded career highs in attempts and completions, but his three turnovers (two in the fourth quarter) proved especially costly. Ponder now has five turnovers in the past two games after having just two turnovers in the first four games.

Ponder deserves some credit for getting the Vikings back into the game in the fourth quarter, but he also deserves quite a bit of blame after his three-turnover performance. Not many NFL teams can walk away from a three-turnover day with a win, and the Vikings are no different.

October 14, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) throws the ball during warms ups prior to the Vikings

PonderWatch

Ponder’s first and second down completion percentage goal75%

Weekly first and second down completion percentage:

  • Week 1 vs. Jacksonville: 17-20, 85%
  • Week 2 at Indianapolis: 17-22, 77%
  • Week 3 vs. San Francisco: 14-24, 58%
  • Week 4 at Detroit: 9-16, 56%
  • Week 5 vs. Tennessee: 21-28, 75%
  • Week 6 at Washington: 25-38, 66%

YTD first and second down completion percentage: 103-148, 70%

 

WEEK 6 OFFENSIVE MVP

Percy Harvin

I may just need to permanently install Percy Harvin as the Weekly OMVP with rotating honorable mentions of Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder.

 

OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME

Michael Jenkins’ 9-yard TD catch

Jenkins’ touchdown sparked a near comeback for the Vikings that ended with a 76-yard touchdown run by RG3 (or RJ3, according to the announcers). Either way, it was still a great effort play by Jenkins to get into the end zone.

 

ROOKIE WATCH

Matt Kalil

Struggled against Lorenzo Alexander (who?) on Sunday. I think that’s more due to the 3-4 defensive scheme of the ‘Skins than Alexander’s skill set (seven career sacks in six seasons).

Blair Walsh

Where would this touchdown-deficient team be without a reliable kicker? Looking back now, going with a rookie kicker over Ryan Longwell was a very risky proposition.

  • @ Was: 4/4 FGs, 7 touchbacks, 1 food poisoning
  • YTD FG Percentage: 16-17, 94%

Rhett Ellison

Two games in a row, Rhett Ellison has produced more than John Carlson.

 

YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME?!

I’m going to refer to the wisdom of Kevin Seifert in reference to the Vikings early drives that led to three field goals and zero touchdowns:

“In nine plays after establishing a first down in the red zone, the Vikings threw one pass into the end zone. It fell incomplete in the general vicinity of receiver Devin Aromashodu. The Vikings’ top three receivers in that situation — tight end Kyle Rudolph, receiver Percy Harvin and (Michael) Jenkins — did not see a pass thrown their way.”

And here’s Leslie Frazier’s response to the idea that coaching had anything to do with the poor red-zone production, per Tom Pelissero:

“Frazier reiterates #Vikings felt they had good red-zone plan. ‘They did a good job on defense of keeping us out of the end zone.’”

Sigh..

 

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