Notebook: Two views to fourth down

The Vikings went for it early and late on fourth downs. Their failed early attempt ended up altering the strategy late in the game. The Vikings offensive linemen liked the early move and the Dolphins defenders took offense.

The Vikings were happy to see head coach Brad Childress have confidence in his offense to gain two yards on fourth down. The Dolphins were offended that Childress thought he could do it against their defense. And the fans were upset after it didn't work.

The Vikings drove the ball to Miami's 26-yard line on the opening drive of the game. They could have settled for about a 43-yard field goal and the first points of the game, but Childress felt he had momentum and called for a pass play. Brett Favre's throw was knocked down at the line of scrimmage by Randy Starks.

"They totally disrespected us," linebacker Karlos Dansby told the Palm Beach Post.

"We kind of took that as a smack in the face," safety Yeremiah Bell added.

Childress, of course, viewed it differently.

"I thought we had good momentum right there, and I was trying to play off that," he said. "It's like going for two points early in the game. Would the three points have been nice? Yeah, three points would have been nice, but there's a lot of other plays to be made going down the line. Just trying to be aggressive and send a message to our team. I thought we were moving the ball pretty well right there."

That decision – or lack of execution, depending on how you look at it – ended up costing the Vikings late in the game. Instead of being down by four points in the fourth quarter, they could have been down by one and elected to kick a field goal, but instead the Dolphins stopped Adrian Peterson on fourth-and-goal short of the goal line for no gain at the 1-yard line.

Brett Favre said opponents want to see anything but Peterson getting the ball four straight times near the goal line and Favre wasn't questioning the play-calling. Right guard Anthony Herrera said he liked the confidence Childress showed in his offensive line.

"We're happy about that, man. He has confidence in his linemen and his running backs, which he should," Herrera said. "He's works us hard. We worked hard in two-a-days for all this. He should and we've got to go out there and get it done for him."

Said left tackle Bryant McKinnie: "I think everybody believed we could get the first down, so we took a chance."

By their comments after the game, the Dolphins defenders clearly used the Vikings' initial fourth-down attempt as inspiration.

"They think they can just march the ball right down the field on us," Dolphins DE Kendall Langford told the Palm Beach Post. "But at the end of the day, we had the smile on our faces when we stopped them."

The Vikings finished 1-for-4 in their fourth-down attempts and never held the lead.


Vikings receiver Percy Harvin was active against the Dolphins after being listed as questionable with a hip injury, but cornerbacks Chris Cook, Cedric Griffin and Jimmy Kennedy were also listed as questionable, all with knee injuries, and those three were all inactive.

Cook and Griffin haven't played a regular-season game yet.

The Vikings had Asher Allen starting for the Lito Sheppard at cornerback.

Also inactive for the Vikings were QB Joe Webb (third QB), RB Albert Young, G Chris DeGeare, TE Mickey Shuler and DE Everson Griffen.

With Young inactive, rookie RB Toby Gerhart saw his first action. Gerhart finished with four rushes for 10 yards and added a 5-yard reception. Gerhart was inactive in Week 1 with a knee injury.


  • The battle of the Pro Bowl linemen essentially ended in a tie. Jared Allen had one sack working against Miami left tackle Jake Long.

    "That's what NFL football is about, two All-Pros going at each other and I didn't have any lack in confidence in Jake at all," said Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano.

  • The Vikings held a 364-226 advantage in total net yards.

  • Minnesota was only 1-for-5 in red zone efficiency. The Dolphins scored a touchdown on their only trip into the red zone.

  • The Vikings also had the advantage in field position. Their average drive started on the 33-yard line after a pair of fumble recoveries inside Dolphins territory helped tilt the stats in the Vikings' favor. Miami's average starting spot was the 19-yard line.

  • With the Monday night game still to play, the Vikings rank 18th on offense (11th rushing and 24th passing) and eighth on defense (11th against the run and ninth against the pass).

  • Former Vikings receiver Randy Moss had a touchdown catch in the Patriots' 28-14 loss at the New York Jets. Moss now has 150 career touchdowns and joins Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (208) and Emmitt Smith (175) and Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson (153) as the only players in NFL history with at least 150 touchdowns.

    Moss has 48 touchdown receptions in his first 50 games with the Patriots. Moss' total ranks as the most receiving touchdowns by a player in his first 50 games with a new team (rookies and veterans) in NFL history.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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