Personnel Analysis: Week #2 (Offense)

Here's a personnel analysis from the Vikings 20-17 overtime loss at Detroit in Week #2. This edition: Offense.


You won’t win many games when you turn the ball over 5 times in one game and commit 12 penalties for 96 yards.  Their failure to not protect the ball better and their penchant for shooting themselves in the foot were critical factors in the offense’s failure to score more than 10 points.

However, you have to give the Lions defense at least some credit.  Their defensive tackle duo of Shaun Rogers and Cory Redding rival that of the Vikings, and their front-seven overall is much improved this season.  They can get after it and are now closer to having the Tampa-2 personnel needed to execute Rod Marinelli’s defense.


Easily the worst performance of the four-game career for Tarvaris Jackson so far, as he completed 17-of-33 passes for 166 yards with 4 terrible interceptions and a quarterback rating of just 26.4.  Jackson was pressured plenty but simply did not do a very good job of protecting the ball as he threw it up for grabs or into coverage on all four of his picks.  He did have one throw dropped but still seems to struggle with his accuracy when he tries to go downfield.  Late in the game he suffered a groin injury that knocked him out of the game.  The coaches can only hope that this game will become a valuable lesson for him.

Brooks Bollinger came off the bench when Jackson went out and was efficient in completing 3-of-4 throws for 26 yards, but his fumbled snap from center in overtime essentially handed the victory to the Lions.

Kelly Holcomb was the (inactive) No. 3 quarterback for the game and did not play.  He will likely be up next week and it might be time for him to formally move up a notch on the depth chart.  While in the long run coach Brad Childress wants to be as patient as he can with Jackson to develop him as the long-term starter, many more games like this one for Jackson will almost force the insertion of Holcomb into the lineup.

Running Back/Fullback:

Adrian Peterson got some opportunities but some would say not enough as he came out in some critical third-down situations.  However, he was slow to step up on the blitz pickup early on and it was clear that the Lions were trying to exploit his inexperience as a blocker in those situations.  He finished with 20 carries for 66 yards (3.3 avg.) with a long run of 11 yards, but he read his blocks poorly on at least two plays and seemed to run himself into the ground on a couple others, failing to take advantage of potential breakaways.  He probably looked his best after the catch on 4 receptions for 52 yards, including a 24-yarder in which he showed excellent balance, determination and power.  He’s simply too good to not keep feeding him the ball, but he did make plenty of rookie-type errors in this game.

Mewelde Moore was productive with his touches, rushing the ball 8 times for 50 yards, including a 17-yard jaunt.  He also caught 4-36, including a 20-yard gain.  Moore is very effective as a third-down back, but he does not have the home run speed of Peterson.  However, he is the more reliable of the two on pass blocking at this point.

Jeff Dugan also saw some action at fullback and made a key first-down catch for 11 yards.

Naufahu Tahi caught 1-7 and saw some action as a lead blocker with fullback Tony Richardson inactive with a bruised forearm.  Chester Taylor (hip) was also inactive.

Wide Receiver:

Bobby Wade caught 5-34 with a long of just 10 yards as the leading receiver in terms of catches on offense.  Wade also lost 9 yards on an ill-conceived end around in the red zone.  He was also the intended target on a badly underthrown interception and an incompletion from Bollinger late in the game.

Robert Ferguson caught 3-29 but also dropped a potential big play downfield on the one pass Jackson actually threw on target beyond 10-plus yards or so.  Ferguson had 5 other passes thrown his way, but two of those were intercepted, the other 3 also uncatchable.

Troy Williamson caught 2-23 but couldn’t hold onto another catchable, but off-target pass, with two other uncatchable throws his direction.  He left with a tender hammy as a precautionary measure in the second half.

Rookies Sidney Rice and Aundrae Allison did not get their hands on a pass.

Tight End:

Visanthe Shiancoe started and caught one pass for 10 yards.  Another attempt to get him the ball was batted down at the line.  Otherwise, he was mostly relegated to blocking for the run, where he did a reasonable job.

The one chance to Jim Kleinsasser skipped off his hand for the game’s first interception on a poor throw by Jackson.  Kleinsasser was steady in the running game.

Garrett Mills was inactive.

Offensive Line:

Overall, the Vikings offensive line did not win the battle at the line of scrimmage against the Lions’ talented front-four.  Detroit also gave the team’s pass protection problems with blitz packages as well as even the veterans struggled to adjust to movement at times.

The Vikings struggled to keep Redding blocked as he was in on 5 tackles, including 2 for minus-13 yards in losses.  He was also credited with one quarterback hurry.  Rogers didn’t show up much on the stat sheet with no official tackles, but he was a force throughout as he was in Jackson’s face at least 3 times on the pass rush.

OLT Bryant McKinnie did not have one of his better games as Kalimba Edwards beat him on pass protection at least 3 times.  He also had a 5-yard illegal motion penalty.

OLG Steve Hutchinson also picked up an uncharacteristic false start penalty.  He generally held his own but got all he could handle from Rogers and Redding at times.

Matt Birk was overpowered by Rogers a couple times at center and also had a critical 10-yard holding penalty that wiped out a 40-yard catch-and-run by Moore on a screen toss from Jackson.

ORG Artis Hicks also had his hands full inside and turned his ankle forcing him to leave for a series but otherwise did okay.

Meanwhile, ORT Ryan Cook regressed after showing steady improvement the past few weeks.  He had a 10-yard holding penalty and a 5-yard false start infraction.  He also struggled to contain Dewayne White at times as he finished with 4 tackles and registered 2 official quarterback hurries.

Anthony Herrera replaced Hicks at right guard for a series and did okay.  Marcus Johnson played only on special teams.  Chase Johnson was inactive.


Jackson has to play better if the Vikings are going to win.  Peterson was just a couple missteps from breaking another one or two.  He still has some finer points in his game to work out, as well.  The offensive line needs to play better, especially on pass protection.  The receiving corps did not impress this week, either.  However, most of the mistakes seen in this game are correctable.

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