Special Teams Stars Emerge Among Injuries

Harold Morrow and Jim Nelson, usually relegated to special teams, got extended time on offense and defense, respectively, and showed some leadership skills that have been lacking in the offense lately.

During this 13-6 loss at the Metrodome, it was once again refreshing to watch a special teams player like Harold Morrow make a great offensive contribution. He is one of the top special teams players week in and week out and gives the kind of effort that all fans love to watch. And when starting fullback Jim Kleinsasser couldn't play because of an injury, Morrow showed he was ready to perform. Not only did Morrow have a big 14-yard pass reception to set the Vikings up on the 1-yard line for an easy touchdown — which they couldn't convert — but he threw some tremendous blocks while fulfilling his role as a lead blocker.

Also, special teams star Jim Nelson filled in when middle linebacker Kailee Wong slightly re-injured his knee that was bothering him from the previous week, and Nelson ended up leading the team with seven total tackles. It was great effort from both these team players — and actually great effort from the defense that gave up only 235 total yards and a meager 13 points. Players like this stand out week after week, and even sitting in the press box you can feel their excitement and energy for the game.

But the reverse can also be true — when you feel the team lacks the enthusiasm and urgency. A prime example came in the fourth quarter with the Vikings trailing by 10 points. The offense took possession on their own 36-yard line with 9:54 left in the game. The drive itself took 6:37 while also burning one of the Vikings' three timeouts. As the clock continued to run, the entire crowd was anticipating either starting the two-minute offense, getting the plays in quicker, getting to the line of scrimmage quicker, but all with one common thought — use as little time as possible to score since the Vikings were two scores removed from victory. It just seemed like the offensive unit had no leadership on this particular crucial drive.

Most who read my "Reaction to the Action" understand that I do enjoy dwelling on the positive when the attitude and effort is present. I'm not about to throw the blame on any one person this time either, but I do want to go on record as saying that if it is so obvious to 64,214 fans (minus the Bears fans in attendance), why is this problem not addressed by the top professionals on this team? If it isn't, the Vikings will be looking for efforts like those displayed by Morrow and Nelson from other players with heart who don't normally see action on offense or defense. VU

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