Personnel Analysis: Week #11 (Offense)

The Vikings' decisive 41-17 upset of the New York Giants was led by the defense, who scored three touchdowns, but the offense started with a bang. Check out the player-by-player personnel analysis…

Overview:

One big play in the passing game, a patient, ball-control offense that did not turn the ball over held up their end of the bargain against the Giants.  Their modest 251 yards in total offense were nothing to brag about, but they won the time-of-possession battle 32:14-to-27:46 and did more than enough to augment the fine work of the opportunistic defense this week.

Quarterback:

Tarvaris Jackson had his strongest performance as a starter to date.  For the most part he made solid decisions, was accurate with his throws and did not turn the ball over (although he did fumble on one sack, but it was recovered by the Vikings and actually resulted in a third-down conversion).  Jackson completed 10-of-12 passes (83.3%) for 129 yards, 1 touchdown, no interceptions and a quarterback passer rating of 139.2.  One of his incompletions was a throwaway, the other he was hit while throwing the ball.  He also made some plays with his feet, rushing for 38 yards on 5 carries, including a long run of 19 yards.  Jackson wasn’t flawless and there remains plenty of room for improvement, but the past two weeks he has shown steady development that he can hopefully build upon the rest of the season.

Brooks Bollinger was No. 2 this week but did not play.  Kelly Holcomb was inactive as the No. 3 quarterback.

Running Back/Fullback:

Chester Taylor did not run wild this week, but he chewed up a lot of carries and really helped the offense burn the game clock.  Taylor finished with 31 carries for 77 yards (2.5 avg.) with a long run of just 13 yards, but scored on a nifty 8-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that put the Vikings up 21-7 at the time.

Tony Richardson played with a sprained knee and did a workmanlike job despite showing nothing on the official stat sheet.

The same could be said for Jeff Dugan, who saw action at both fullback and tight end.  Dugan did record one reception on a pass that did not gain any yardage.

Mewelde Moore saw spot duty as a third-down back.  He had 3 carries for 12 yards.

Naufahu Tahi contributed solely on special teams.

Adrian Peterson (sprained MCL) warmed up before the game and looked good to go but was held out and did not dress.  Peterson is expected back this coming week against Detroit.

Wide Receiver:

Sidney Rice started the game with a bang, hauling in a 60-yard touchdown catch for a touchdown on the second offensive play of the game to get the Vikings an early lead.  Rice is definitely emerging as the team’s big-play go-to receiver and continues to show a lot of upside potential.  He finished with 3 catches for 82 yards.

Bobby Wade made 2 clutch receptions for just 14 yards, but both catches represented critical third-down conversions.  Plus, he recovered the Jackson fumble to convert another.

Troy Williamson had just one catch for 8 yards on the only throw in his direction.  He also returned kickoffs but left the game early after getting dinged.

Robert Ferguson officially started the game as the Vikings opened with a three-wide set (Rice, Ferguson and Williamson), but he did not see a pass.

Rookie Aundrae Allison was inactive.

Tight End:

Visanthe Shiancoe had one catch for 13 yards and was technically the intended target on one of just two incompletions, but he earned most of his keep blocking, where he’s been much more effective and tenacious than most expected when he was brought in as an unrestricted free agent signee this past offseason.  On the downside, Shiancoe did have a false start penalty.

Jim Kleinsasser was not a factor at all in the passing game this week but did his usual workmanlike job as a blocker.  However, he was beaten around the corner by Osi Umenyiora on one of his sacks and he also had a false start penalty.

Garrett Mills was once again inactive.

Offensive Line:

A steady, but unspectacular, performance up front this week against the good front seven of the Giants as the offensive line of OLT Bryant McKinnie, OLG Steve Hutchinson, C Matt Birk, ORG Anthony Herrera and ORT Ryan Cook played every snap (55 offensive plays) together.

Umenyiora had 2 sacks in the game and forced the Jackson fumble on one of them.  But Jackson really held the ball too long on the play and the other was really an aborted pass attempt by Jackson that resulted in a modest loss.  In all, those two sacks only accounted for 2 yards in losses.

Ex-Viking Fred Robbins was the most disruptive defender against the interior of the Vikings offensive line with 8 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2 quarterback hurries.

The Giants had 4 sacks on the afternoon, but they resulted in just 5 yards lost.  The Vikings also allowed 7 official quarterback hurries, yet Jackson threw only two incompletions all day.

Of particular note was the job Cook did on Michael Strahan this week.  Strahan recorded just 2 tackles (one at the point of attack and one coming down the line; both vs. the run), zero sacks, zero quarterback pressures.

OT Marcus Johnson and OG Artis Hicks played only on special teams.  Rookie OT Chase Johnson kept his inactive streak alive at 11 games once again.

Summary:

One big play and a lot of ho hum offense, but controlling the clock, converting some third-downs and winning the time-of-possession battle were more than enough given the excitement created by the defense this week.


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