Vikings Notebook

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Doomsday101, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Lost in all the reaction to Adrian Peterson’s electric and record-breaking performance in Chicago last weekend was the fact that the Vikings finally completed a long pass play to Troy Williamson for a touchdown. Tarvaris Jackson’s 60-yard touchdown bomb to Williamson was the speedy receiver’s first touchdown since October of 2005.

    Considering the Vikings racked up 311 yards rushing on Sunday, one can’t help but infer that the long scoring play to Williamson in the first quarter may have stretched Chicago’s defense a bit.

    “That play did help stretching the field out,” Jackson confirmed. “Stretching the ball down the field will help a lot in order to keep that extra guy out of the box.”

    An extra defender in the box is something Minnesota should get used to after Peterson shredded the Bears defense for 224 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. Stopping the run is the default mission of every defense in the NFL, but now teams across the league will place an added emphasis on harnessing both Peterson and Chester Taylor.

    “It will be hard to get any team to play the pass against us because we have Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor”, Dwight Smith said. “Defenses would much rather have a team attack through the air to beat them than just turn around and hand the ball to those two guys.”

    But regardless of the obvious importance of stopping the run, the Vikings ability to complete long passes like the one on Sunday to Williamson will force opposing defenses to be a bit more honest. The key, however, is for Minnesota to hit those long passes on a consistent basis.

    “I think they need to see it every week,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said, “and I would go back to even here when Randy Moss was playing and Robert Smith was playing; they just didn’t feel like they could play with eight people in the box to stop the run. Do you want to let that guy run by you or do you want to tackle a run?”

    Receiver Bobby Wade, who had three receptions for 30 yards on Sunday, agreed with his coach and also expressed optimism about this week’s game plan.

    “I think in my experience you’re definitely going to have to come out and try to do that every game,” Wade explained. “If you do it once, defenses are still going to stay true to their system. It’s something that we’ve got to maintain and continue to do and there’s no doubt in my mind with this game plan that we’re going to have an opportunity to do that.”

    Moving on

    Last week the Cowboys hosted New England in a showdown at Texas Stadium between two 5-0 teams. The Patriots jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and eventually defeated Dallas by a score of 48-27. After Dallas took a 24-21 lead in the second quarter, Tom Brady and the Patriots responded by scoring 27 of the next 30 points.

    Asked how his team was responding from its first loss of the 2007 season, Cowboys Head Coach Wade Phillips sounded confident that his team was over it and is now focusing on their game with the Vikings this Sunday.

    “Yeah, we’re going to the next one,” Phillips said on Wednesday. “That’s what you have to do no matter what happens. That’s what we’ve tried to do when we won the first five and that’s what we’re going to try to do after losing one.”

    Quite the comparison

    Phillips, who is a native Texan and has 20 years of NFL experience as a defensive coordinator, had high praise for Peterson when speaking with Minnesota media in a conference call on Wednesday. Here’s what he had to say when asked to compare Peterson to other backs in league history.

    “I think people were saying (Gale) Sayers and (Eric) Dickerson, kind of a combination there,” he said. “That’s what he looks like to me. He’s got that shift of gears like Sayers had and of course he has that tremendous speed that Dickerson had; somewhere in there. I was there George Rogers’ rookie year and I was there Earl Campbell’s rookie year and those guys were amazing and had great years and this guy is right up there with them. Of course he is from Texas too.”

    Beware of Ware

    The Cowboys defense, which ranks seventh in the league against the run and has already tallied 15 sacks on the season, is a unit loaded with athletic, versatile players that thrive in Phillips 3-4 defensive scheme. Perhaps the most talented of the Cowboys defenders is the 6-4, 252-pound DeMarcus Ware. Because of his blend of size, speed and strength, Ware lines up all over the field and gives opposing teams headaches.

    “He can rush the passer, he can play against the run, he can drop into coverage, and he can cover,” Childress said. “He is a force. He can play with his hand on the ground and [we have] one week to get ready for a 3-4 front so we have a full plate.”

    One Viking who will certainly have a run-in or two with Ware on Sunday is tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.

    “You just have to key in on him,” Shiancoe says. “You know that he’s going to be coming and when he does that you’ve just got to come hard at him, too. It’s a ‘where’s Ware’ situation at every snap. You have to find out where he is because he’s usually the fourth rusher.”

    Although Phillips stopped short of saying Ware dropped back into coverage more last year than he is this year, the Cowboys head coach said he prefers to have Ware rush the quarterback.

    “We rush him most of the time,” Phillips said. “That’s what he does well. He’s not dropping into coverage a whole lot. I think that’s part of it is just we’re bringing him a lot. That’s what he does. I just believe in if a guy does something well then let him do it, and that’s what he does.”

    Best of both worlds

    Prior to becoming the Cowboys seventh head coach in franchise history, Phillips spent three seasons as the San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator. While he was there the Chargers drafted explosive defensive end/linebacker Shawne Merriman. That was the same draft the Cowboys selected Ware.

    “When we were in the draft and I was in San Diego, we knew we were going to get Merriman or Ware and we were excited about it,” Phillips recalled. “Dallas took Ware so we took Merriman; that was great. Then I went to Dallas and I turned around and I’ve got Ware. Either one was great with me; both of them are very talented young players that are going to be top players for a long time.”

    Email Mike Wobschall at
  2. cowboyz

    cowboyz Well-Known Member

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    that's the first time i've heard san diego was going to take ware.

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