Notebook: Trick Plays A Treat For Vikings

The Vikings have used trick plays to score two of their passing touchdowns this season, but the players aren't surprised that Brad Childress has used this aggressive play-calling. See what several players had to say about that and getting a big win over Seattle.

The situation: Tied 10-10 with third-and-goal from the opposition's 15-yard line.

The call: Halfback pass on a rollout to the right.

The result: Touchdown Vikings and a 17-10 lead, one they never surrendered after that.

The reaction: "You've just got to try to do what you can to win, no matter if it's a trick play or whatever it is. We've played against some good teams, good defenses, so you've got to take advantage of their weaknesses," said wide receiver Travis Taylor.

The 15-yard touchdown pass from Mewelde Moore to Jermaine Wiggins on Sunday wasn't just drawn up on the sideline of Qwest Field, site of the Vikings' biggest win of the season, a 31-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings had run the play a few times in practice, Wiggins said.

"It was definitely one of those things where if the situation was right, we were going to call it," Wiggins said. "It wasn't like I was thinking about it. I had some plays down there and whichever ones they called, they'd give me the opportunity. Like I said, put the ball in the air and I'll make the play. So it wasn't really no big thing for me."

But it was Wiggins' first touchdown reception of the season, and one of the Vikings' rare touchdown passes while inside the red zone this season.

So does the use of a trick play indicate a sign of weakness, not being able to score efficiently using traditional plays?
"I don't think that has nothing to do with it. I think we just saw on film that those safeties are more like linebackers," Taylor said. "Michael Boulware played linebacker in college. He wants to hit, he doesn't want to cover anybody and we took advantage of it."

The Vikings also used a fake field goal in which kicker Ryan Longwell completed a pass to tight end Richard Owens to score a game-tying, fourth-quarter touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2.

More than anything, the use of trick plays to produce two of the Vikings' six passing touchdowns this season is a surprise to some, considering head coach Brad Childress' seemingly conservative personality. But don't count Wiggins among those surprised at Childress' aggressive play-calling in certain instances.

"No, I don't think so, because coming from where he's coming from with his background, they've obviously done a lot of different things as far as trickery-type plays and plays that are not ordinary and exotic," Wiggins said. "It's not something that I haven't seen him do or couldn't see him thinking of doing."

While the Vikings took advantage of the aggressiveness of Seattle's safeties with their halfback pass for a touchdown in the third quarter, they used that same philosophy earlier in the second quarter as well. It wasn't a trick play then, but wide receiver Marcus Robinson used a move to entice a Seattle safety into thinking it was going to be a post route, then Robinson dug straight down the seam between the cornerback and safety for a 40-yard touchdown.

"Those (Seattle safeties) are aggressive and you want to take advantage of it," Taylor said. "You're not going to sit back and say, ‘We're not doing this, we're not doing that so we've got to call a trick play. We're just taking advantage of what those guys are doing."


Several Vikings were asked Monday if they felt their win against the defending NFC champions was a statement game.

"I think every game is a statement game," Taylor said. "This game is no bigger than the other ones. It's no bigger than the Patriots game this week. We've got to go in each and every week and try and come out on top."

Said linebacker Ben Leber: "I hope (it's a statement). Our focus was just to get a win, and whatever the ripple effect after that happens (to be), we'll take it. We just wanted to come out after the bye week and start fast, the second part of our season, and it happened to be in Seattle and we did that."

Childress said he felt the players were in their "right mind" when they boarded the plane for Seattle on Saturday, and Wiggins said the team is playing well on the road against formidable opponents.

"Every time you go on the road, it's going to be a crucial game and you have to come away with victories and that's what we've been able to do two out of the three times," Wiggins said. "So that's the biggest thing. We just want to win, and every Sunday you step on the field you want to put your best foot forward so you can have the opportunity to win because in this league, winning is tough."

R&R Helped

The Vikings enjoyed extended time off during the bye week, having Wednesday through Sunday to themselves and their families. A number of players said it was the most generous downtime they had experienced since entering the league.

"It helped us a lot. We got refreshed, got away from football, relaxed ourselves and came back with a fresh mind and more energy. It went onto the field on Sunday," said Taylor, who said getting five or six days off in the middle of a grueling season isn't enough time to get players to miss the game.

"It was huge. Coach Childress really threw us a bone, gave us a bunch of days off that I've never seen before, and I think the guys used it to the best of their abilities, as far as getting their minds right and getting physically right," Leber said. "I think it showed in the week of practice we had. Very enthusiastic, guys running around. I think it was great for us."

The players will get a little extra time off – at least practice time – this week as well with a Monday night game against New England providing an additional day versus the traditional schedule in preparation for a Sunday game.

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