Wide receiver Troy Williamson appeared to be Brad Johnson's go-to target in the Vikings' season-opening win at Washington. Despite his early struggles, the Vikings kept calling his number and he came through when it counted.
If one thing became readily apparent in the Vikings' 19-16 victory over Washington on Monday night it was this: Troy Williamson
is going to be a major part of Minnesota's offensive scheme.
Despite dropping three Brad Johnson
passes, the veteran quarterback never seemed to lose confidence in the second-year receiver.
Johnson's faith paid off as Williamson made a key 13-yard reception on third-and-9 in the fourth quarter on the game-winning drive. A facemask penalty against Redskins free safety Sean Taylor
gave the Vikings 15 extra yards on the play - the ball wound up at the Washington 24-yard line — and shortly thereafter Ryan Longwell
connected on a 31-yard field goal.
"That was probably the biggest play, probably in his career so far," Johnson said. "He made a couple of big plays for us early in the first half. He had couple of drops in there but we're going to keep coming at him. He's an explosive player. I thought he made the catch of the day and the play of the day to put us in field-goal position on that particular play."
Williamson did not seem impressed by his performance on that play, saying, "That's a routine play, a play any receiver could have made. Any other guy that was in probably pretty much could have done the same thing. ... That's pretty much how I looked at it."
Williamson, who seemed moody and withdrawn at times last season, appears much more upbeat this season. He was very forthcoming when asked about one of his drops Monday on a long pass that almost certainly would have resulted in a first-half touchdown.
That play came shortly after Williamson helped set up the Vikings' first touchdown by catching a 46-yard pass on a go-route. That put the ball at the Washington 6-yard line.
"I took my eyes off the ball at the last second and it just went through," Williamson said of his first drop. "That's just something I need to work on. Be more patient and calm down just a little bit more. Make the routine plays."
Brad Childress was victorious in his first game as a head coach, going against Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs. "I am tremendously humble and was a little emotional after the game," Childress said. "I'm just happy for those guys most of all in the locker room. They put in a lot of hard work."
Childress wasn't happy that the Vikings were called for nine penalties for 60 yards in the victory. "(The players) knew they were stupid penalties by and large," Childress said. "I know there was a little bit of crowd noise (in Washington), but you can't flinch and jump. We worked on a silent snap count and those are the ones that end up killing us. The big thing is that we have to be a tough team to beat. The Vikings can't beat the Vikings, you have to just be lucky it doesn't come back and bite you."
Mewelde Moore was used as the Vikings' running back in third-down situations.
Cornerback Ronyell Whitaker saw plenty of time against Washington in the nickel package. Linebackers Napoleon Harris and E.J. Henderson stay on the field in the nickel but Ben Leber does not.
Punter Chris Kluwe, who also has taken over the holding job this season, was unable to handle the first snap of the regular season, dropping the ball on a Ryan Longwell extra-point attempt. Kluwe attempted to run into the end zone for a two-point conversion but was stopped. He was flawless the rest of the night on three field-goal attempts and one extra point.
Rookie quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was the backup to Brad Johnson for the season-opener. Brooks Bollinger, acquired in a late August trade from the New York Jets, was inactive as the third quarterback. It's unclear if Jackson will remain in the No. 2 role throughout the season or if Bollinger will assume that job once he's more familiar with the Vikings' offense.
Rookie defensive end Ray Edwards was used as a pass rusher in nickel situations.