RB Adrian Peterson – Held in check in his first game against the Rams last week, Peterson flashed brilliance with a nifty spin move on his first carry, making the defender miss near the line of scrimmage, then turned on the jets (no pun intended) to rip off a 43-yard run before delivering a punishing blow to the defender as he was forced out of bounds. Peterson finished that drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. He finished with 70 yards on 8 carries (8.8 avg.). In just that spot duty he demonstrated the gamebreaking capability he brings to the offense and showed glimpses of how he will make everyone around him better – quarterback, offensive linemen, passing game, etc.
WLB Chad Greenway –Greenway was all over the field. A couple of his plays were nullified by penalty, otherwise in just a quarter of football he was in on 8 tackles, including one for a loss of 4 yards, another for no gain and four more for 3 yards or less. His big play was a 16-yard interception return for the team’s second defensive score of the game and he was also credited with a pass defensed. Where he looked aggressive but a little out of control last week, he was aggressive but very much in control this week and looked like a real playmaker.
DE Brian Robison – It’s going to be hard to keep the rookie defensive end off the field. Robison was officially credited with 4 tackles, 1 sack (for -5 yards), 1 forced fumble and a fumble recovery (returned 3 yards) for the team’s third defensive touchdown of the game. Two of those tackles were against the run for no gain. The kid shows tremendous potential as a speed rusher off the edge, but he’s no one-trick pony. He can make plays and be a disruptive force against the run, as well. Robison added another tackle on punt coverage.
DE Ray Edwards – Showed flashes a week ago and did so again this week. Edwards had an offsides penalty early and his stat sheet looks pretty average with 2 tackles and a quarterback hurry. But that one quarterback hurry was directly responsible for the Greenway interception and subsequent touchdown. On one of those tackles he sniffed out a screen pass and brought down Jets’ running back Leon Washington for a 4-yard loss. It should also be noted that his impact in just a half of football did not come in mopup duty against the scrubs, either. He made his plays going against a top-flight left tackle in D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
PK Ryan Longwell – After missing a potential go-ahead field goal attempt last week, Longwell was dead solid perfect this week. He was 3-for-3 on field goals, including a 54-yarder to end the first half as the clock was winding down to zero. He added 4-for-4 on extra points. But it might have been his kickoffs that were as encouraging as anything as he put one to the 4-yard-line and another to the goal line with pretty good hang time.
S Darren Sharper – The wily veteran got the team jump-started with his 40-yard interception return for a touchdown that included a nifty return to put the first points on the board. He also had another pass breakup in less than a half of football. Sharper shows no signs whatsoever of slipping.
WR Sidney Rice – The tall, wiry rookie put up a modest two catches for just 14 yards on the stat sheet, but both his catches were not gimmes as he had to compete for the catch and any immediate yardage after the catch. He had another very nice 16-yard reception but was flagged for offensive pass interference (marginal call?) on the play. Rice has yet to break out, but he does show promise.
Jury still out:
QB Tarvaris Jackson – Did not get enough throws in to build on last week’s performance as the defense was on the field for all but 58 seconds in the first quarter. Finished with just 2-of-4 passing for 12 yards, but had another on-target pass to Bobby Wade on third-and-6 that was dropped and killed the team’s opening offensive drive. His only other incompletion was an intentional throwaway to avoid a sack or forcing the ball into coverage.
WR Aundrae Allison – Had 3 kickoff returns for 60 yards (a modest 20.0-yard average), but one was a 28-yarder. Shows flashes of kickoff return ability but has yet to get an opportunity as a wide receiver, despite looking very good early in training camp.
Didn’t look good:
CB Cedric Griffin – Had 4 tackles, a forced fumble and an additional tackle on special teams and locked down on coverage in the Red Zone, but looked off his game most of the night. Griffin missed badly on two tackle attempts, including a 35-yard catch-and-run by Jets receiver Justin McCareins for a touchdown in the second quarter. For the most part, Griffin allowed too much cushion in coverage and then failed to wrap up on a couple key plays. Meanwhile, rookie Marcus McCauley continued to play strong and could push Griffin if he doesn’t bounce back.
P-KO Alex Reyes – It’s obvious that the Vikings are using Reyes on kickoffs simply to save on Longwell’s leg, because he is terribly ineffective in that role. Any talk of him pushing Chris Kluwe for the punting job is also off the mark. Reyes did place one inside the 10, but was only able to pooch a 35-yard boot kicking away on his other attempt. His kickoffs were horrible, coming down at the 6-, 11- and 6-yard line, with the absolute minimum for hang time.
Here’s the official GameBook.