Little Things Making All The Difference

The Vikings have corrected the errors that were killing drives on offense and continue to mix it up and create pressure on defense. It has the team looking for bigger and better things in the near future.

The Vikings will enter their matchup against New England on Monday night at the Metrodome with a two-game winning streak and a 4-2 record after a surprising 31-13 victory Sunday at Seattle.

Coming off of its bye week, the Vikings' dormant offense showed some life in the victory, accounting for three touchdowns. This included a team-record 95-yard scoring dash by running back Chester Taylor in the third quarter.

The three touchdowns give the offense seven on the season. Five have come via the pass and two are the result of Taylor runs.

So what changed against a Seattle defense that was a very respectable seventh in the NFL before Sunday?

"We cut down on the number of penalties that have been haunting us for the first five games of the season," said left guard Steve Hutchinson, who took plenty of abuse from Seahawks fans in his return to Seattle. "Those have been killing drives. I think that overall we made some pretty good reads, we need to keep going."

Overall, the Vikings were called for five penalties for the second consecutive game. This is a major improvement, considering Minnesota was whistled for nine infractions in each of its first two games and then eight and 12 over the next two weeks.

The Vikings defense, meanwhile, continued to play very well and remains dominant against the run with mammoth tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams leading the way. Minnesota entered the Seattle game with the NFL's fifth-ranked defense and No. 4 run defense.

The Seahawks, playing without MVP running back Shaun Alexander, only gained 53 yards on the ground against defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin's unit.

At this rate, it's only a matter of time before Tomlin's name begins to come up as a head coaching candidate for 2007. Tomlin likely will get plenty of exposure on ESPN's telecast Monday night.

"We wouldn't want to see him go because we love the way he coaches, but everybody wants everybody to move up," said safety Dwight Smith, who had Tomlin as his defensive backs coach in Tampa Bay. "He wants us to make more money, we want him to make more money so we just wish the best for him."

Although it has been widely reported that Tomlin brought the Tampa-2 defense with him from the Buccaneers, it's become more and more evident this is not true. One prime example is the fact Tomlin likes to blitz frequently, while the Tampa-2 usually calls for pressure to come from the front four.

"This is a totally different defense," Smith said. "We fall back on two if we need it, but we've got too many playmakers to just sit back and play Cover-2. When you have the playmakers we have, you don't want to just sit back in two and take away the ability of guys like Darren Sharper or E.J. Henderson. So we play our game and then when you have to beat us like (Sunday in Seattle) when we were up, we fall on Cover-2 and make you have to beat us."

Asked about his philosophy, Tomlin said: "It's no different than maybe West Coast offensive guys. Everybody has their own perspective or their own spin on the West Coast offense. As you watch (coaches) go and leave and do things you start to understand their spin on it. In this system, this defense is no different — you'll see Lovie (Smith's) spin on it, Herm (Edwards') spin on it, Rod Marinelli's spin on it, my spin on it. Monte's spin on it. Fundamentally it's the same, in terms of its core beliefs it's the same but we all put our little spin on it."


  • WR Marcus Robinson, who caught his team-leading third touchdown pass on Sunday, was bothered by back spasms.

  • OL Ryan Cook, the second of the Vikings' three second-round picks in the NFL draft last spring, has yet to be active for a game this season. Cook is listed as the backup at right tackle and the third-string center.

  • DB Cedric Griffin picked off a pass by Seattle backup quarterback Seneca Wallace in the third quarter, giving him his first career interception.

  • RB Mewelde Moore became the seventh running back in Vikings history to throw a touchdown pass when he connected with tight end Jermaine Wiggins on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter against the Seahawks.

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