Personnel Analysis: Week #4 (Special Teams)

Here's a personnel analysis from the Vikings 23-16 loss to Green Bay in Week #4. See the position-by-position breakdown. This edition: Special Teams.

Ryan Longwell was very strong on all his placements, connecting on field goal attempts of 44, 35 and 48 yards.  His lone extra point was also flawless.  His kickoffs were also very strong – one 7 yards deep, two to the goal line and the other to the 3-yard-line.  His onside kick attempt late was unsuccessful.  This might have been Longwell’s best game so far this season.

Statistically, this was the weakest game Chris Kluwe has had so far this season.  But statistics don’t tell the whole story.  Four of his five punts were into a short field and went for 38, 36, 30 and 31 yards.  He placed 3 of them inside the 20.  His lone attempt kicking away from his own endzone was a 46-yarder.  For Kluwe, who’s been exceptional this year, this was an average performance as his hang time was off and he didn’t really boom the one chance he had to let it rip.

Adrian Peterson fielded kickoffs.  He had 3 legitimate tries and averaged 32.7 with a long of 51 yards.  There’s no question he could break on at any time.  Two others went for touchbacks.

Bobby Wade didn’t have much to work with on punt returns.  His one try was to preserve field position inside the 20 and resulted in a 1-yard loss.  Another punt was downed, another went out of bounds and the other was a touchback.

Punt coverage was so-so this week.  Chad Greenway and Mike Doss were down for tackles on punt coverage, but Charles Woodson averaged 8.8 on four returns, including a 15-yard runback.  The punt return team was also embarrassed by a first-down run by Jon Ryan as he bumbled and stumbled through poor tackling, particularly from Vinny Ciurciu.  Snapper Cullen Loeffler, who was perfect with his snaps, had a 5-yard false start penalty.

Kickoff coverage was a bit better as the Packers averaged 22.3 yards on 3 returns with Green Bay’s drives starting at their 22-, 24-, 20- and 24-yard lines.  Marcus McCauley, Dontarrious Thomas and Naufahu Tahi recorded tackles on kickoff coverage.

Summary:

A strong outing by Longwell and a big return by Peterson, otherwise an okay to above-average performance on special teams this week.


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