Behind Enemy Lines: Part III

Vikings expert offers opinions on Ferguson, Childress, Sharper, team's top rookies

Todd Korth: Has Robert Ferguson contributed to the offense in any way?
Tim Yotter:
With an inexperienced receiving corps, Ferguson has made some decent contributions, but that hasn't always shown up in the stats. He appears to be a guy that the quarterbacks want to find, but he has been a bit inconsistent yet to really become a steady every-game guy that has four or more catches each week.

Todd Korth: What are Vikings' fans thoughts on Brad Childress thus far?
Tim Yotter:
Pretty lukewarm so far. While I think they want to give him a chance, they are becoming increasingly frustrated with the offense's inability to progress despite Childress coming in here with the reputation of being an offensive coach. I think he has also been hurt by some of his personnel decisions, like not having a reliable veteran backup with the team during the offseason (they acquired Kelly Holcomb right before the season, so he's still getting comfortable) and not going after a veteran offensive lineman or two in free agency.

Todd Korth: Besides Peterson, what one rookie has made the biggest impact thus far for the Vikings?
Tim Yotter:
Peterson has been the major contributor obviously, but the guys from the next three rounds have also seen their share of action. Second-rounder Sidney Rice has been slowly developing. I think he has tremendous ball skills and just needs to become a little more comfortable with the offense and his route-running. Third-rounder Marcus McCauley had a great offseason and is being used as an outside cornerback in their nickel defense. With some NFL seasoning, he has future starter written all over him. Fourth-rounder Brian Robison is a pass-rush specialist who got out of the gates with a two-sack performance in the opener. He hasn't had a sack in the last two games, but he'll probably be pushing for double-digit sacks by the end of the season if his playing time stays where it is once Erasmus James returns from injury.

Todd Korth: If you were Brett Favre, who would you target in the Vikings' secondary?
Tim Yotter:
Cedric Griffin has been the popular target of quarterbacks so far this season and he knows it. He was in good position last week on a touchdown pass to Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe, but Bowe simply out-jumped and out-muscled Bowe for the ball. However, Griffin is a physical cornerback and it has been a disappointment with how many tackles he has missed when the Vikings bring the house on the blitz and leave him to make a play in space.

Todd Korth: How would you rate the play of ex-Packer Darren Sharper this season?
Tim Yotter:
I wondered in the preseason if he was going to hold up health-wise after he injured his shoulder in training camp, but he has been very solid once again. The guy just has a nose for the ball, and in this defense that really emphasizes getting turnovers, he's been one of their biggest playmakers in the back end. As always, he's been a great quote for the media, this week spending a lot of time needling Favre over the interception record, but it's always in good fun with him. On and off the field, I find him to be one of the more entertaining players the Vikings have.

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