Scoring the Offense: Analyzing the Vikings’ Week 9 Loss to the Seahawks

POSITION GRADES

Offensive Line

Grade: B

  • Sacks allowed – 4 sacks, 19 yards

Four sacks allowed ties the season high for sacks allowed by the Vikings in one game. But I’m not going to throw the O-line under the bus for this one. On the first sack, Ponder didn’t recognize the blitz and held onto the ball too long. Adrian Peterson missed his block on a delayed blitz on the second sack. The third sack could be blamed on Brandon Fusco, he got bulldozed straight back off the line of scrimmage, but Ponder (unaware as ever) stepped right into Fusco’s man, so I’ll split the third sack evenly between Fusco and Ponder. The fourth sack, however, rests squarely on the giant shoulders of Phil Loadholt. He let two (two!) rushers by him on the outside without even trying to block them, leaving Peterson alone to try to take them both (he failed to even stop one). Loadholt literally lined up on that play looking right at the two guys that would crush Ponder in just a matter of seconds, only to help double team Fusco’s man on the inside. It was like the scene in The Longest Yard when the linemen just let all the rushers run right because they are mad at the quarterback, Adam Sandler – only this was just Loadholt, and Ponder didn’t break like 500 tackles without his helmet on and earn the respect of his team. Ah, Hollywood.

Anyway, the point is, the offensive line didn’t really give up four sacks, it was more like 1.5, and Ponder was under quite a bit of pressure all day, but this is the Seahawks defense (at home) we are talking about.

  • Rushing yards gained – 243 yards on 27 carries (9.0 yards/carry)

Nov 4, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) passes the ball during the 2nd half against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Minnesota 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

Now that I played the part of the offensive-line apologist, let me flip the script. These rushing numbers had little to do with the offensive line’s play and almost everything to do with the insane talent of Adrian Peterson. On some of Adrian’s longest runs (like this 16-yarder, this 28-yarder and, of course, the 74-yard run), he broke tackles or made cuts in the backfield in order to get past the line of scrimmage, from there, it was his speed and moves that got him the yardage. Other times he had small holes he barreled through and turned into positive yardage. On his second touchdown run, Peterson bulldozed through a small hole and into a mass of bodies and pushed the pile for three yards into the end zone. The offensive line did open up a few nice holes throughout the day, but for much of the game, the Seahawks D-line was pushing our linemen around.

 

Wide Receiver

Grade: F

  • Percy Harvin – 2 rec, 10 yards (6 targets), 4 carries, 24 yards, 1 fumble lost

Percy had one of the worst games of his career, and he wasn’t afraid to show his frustration on the sideline. With the Seahawks corners jamming him at the line of scrimmage, Harvin was having a tough time getting into his routes. Ponder was also misfiring on quite a few throws as well, but we’ll get to that. Harvin injured his ankle in the second half of the game and limped around, ineffective, the rest of the way. Now there’s talk he won’t play Sunday against the Lions. Gulp.

Sometimes Musgrave does things that just make you think, “Did he call that play because he’s an idiot or because he is trying to catch the defense off-guard?” For instance, on the last play of the first half, the Vikings were on the 50-yard line with nine seconds to go before halftime. They line up in trips right and run a little bubble screen in the hope of getting maybe 10-15 yards and going out of bounds in time for Blair Walsh to kick a field goal. The only problem? The receiver of the screen was Michael Jenkins. When was the last time you saw Jenkins break a tackle? Me neither.

Simpson led the team in receiving yards. What? That’s what we all wanted, right?

 

Tight End

Grade: F

Hey, here’s a recipe for disaster (read: basic Musgrave strategy): Our offensive line is struggling, so let’s leave our receiving tight end in to help block. That will definitely shore up our pass-protection problems!

But Bill, what will we do without a great pass-catching tight end running routes, as you should know, we don’t really have much for receiving options as it is? Not to worry! We just signed Allen Reisner off the practice squad!

I’ve got an idea. Since we don’t have any worthwhile wide receivers anyway, why don’t we run every play out of a two tight-end set, then Rhett Ellison can stay in to block and Rudolph might actually have a chance to go out on a few routes, I hear he used to catch passes!

Seriously though, Jimmy Klein 2.0 can block. Now if they could just realize that Rudolph can’t, and, you know, maybe send him out on routes a bit more often..

 

Running Back

Grade: A+

Nov 4, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) rushes against the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

  • Adrian Peterson – 17 carries, 182 yards, 10.7 yds/carry, 2 TD, 3 rec, 11 yards (4 targets)

Paul Allen kept making comments throughout the game about Peterson’s single-game rushing record. “He wants to break the record against the Seahawks!” “He’s gonna break it today!” The funny thing is, I don’t even think he was going over the top with that. Peterson really only has one thing missing from the old Adrian, the speed. No way old Adrian would have been caught on that 74-yard run, and if you watch the video, you can see AP’s disappointment that he didn’t take that run into pay dirt. He’s still fast, he’s just not old-Adrian fast.

It’s safe to say we are witnessing one of the best post-injury comebacks of all time, and if Adrian keeps this kind of play up, he could have the best year of his career.

  • Toby Gerhart – 1 carry,14 yards, 14.0 yds/carry, 1 rec, 3 yards (2 targets)

Hey Yo, Adrian. Fourteen yards per carry. Psh, step it up, slacker.

 

Quarterback

Grade: F

  • Christian Ponder – 11 for 22, 63 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, QB-Rating: 37.3, 5 carries, 23 yards

That’s the second time in three weeks that Ponder has passed for less than 65 yards (Week 7, 58 yards). He seems to have lost every ounce of confidence once he had. He won’t step into his throws, he ducks to avoid pressure that isn’t there, he’s relatively unaware of pressure when it is there, he rarely reads a blitz correctly or accurately hits his hot read, he’s lost all accuracy on deep balls and seems only willing to throw a deep ball into double coverage, he’s surprisingly inaccurate on short routes and checkdowns (often making the receiver jump or stretch wildly for the ball), he burned our crops, poisoned our water supply and delivered a plague onto our houses!

Okay, those last three aren’t true. But be honest, knowing that, you feel way better about our QB situation now, right? You’re welcome.

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%
  • Week 7 vs. Arizona: 6-11, 55%
  • Week 8 vs. Tampa Bay: 14-23, 61%
  • Week 9 at Seattle: 9-17, 53%

YTD first and second down completion percentage: 132-199, 66%

 

WEEK 9 OFFENSIVE MVP

Nov 4, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) enters the field for warm ups prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

Adrian Peterson

He may actually be better than ever. Of course, it’s pretty irrelevant given the dire situation the passing game is in right now.

 

OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME

Adrian Peterson’s 74-yard run

We saw on this play that the speed isn’t quite back, but the moves and the strength are definitely there. At the time of this run, I thought it could set the tone for the game – get out front and don’t let up. Hit them hard with what we do best (not pass) and take the crowd out of it.

Well, that didn’t happen. But it was fun while it lasted right?

 

ROOKIE WATCH

Matt Kalil

Much better game from Kalil on Sunday. He had been struggling a bit the last few weeks, but he played great against the Seachickens. He rarely let his man get anywhere near Ponder and made a few great blocks in the running game to seal the left edge for AD.

Blair Walsh

He’s now 5-for-5 from over 50 yards this season, and he’s starting to get noticed.

at Sea: 2/2 FGs (36, 55 yards), 4 touchbacks

YTD FG Percentage: 19-20, 95%

 

YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME?!

Adrian Peterson is 13 yards away from his 2011 season total.

October 14, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) catches the ball and runs it in for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Vikings are averaging fewer than 200 passing yards per game, one of only four teams with such putrid numbers.

Think Rick Spielman did it right in free agency by passing on the expensive guy, Vincent Jackson, and going with the much more affordable and less talented, Jerome Simpson? The Vikings are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs (Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn) for fewest passing plays, just one, over 40 yards. Guess who is leading the NFL in that category? The Tampa Bay Vincent Jacksons with 10.

The Vikings are also last in the league in passing plays over 20 yards, with 16. Denver and Indianapolis are tied for the league lead, with 37.

 

 

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Topics: Minnesota Vikings

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