Personnel Analysis: Special Teams (Week #13)

The Vikings tended to business on the road, jumping to an early lead that ended with a 27-7 victory against the San Francisco 49ers. Here's a player-by-player analysis of the special teams…

Placekicker Ryan Longwell continued his strong season as he converted two field goal attempts from 40-plus (48 and 46 yards).  He was also 3-for-3 on extra points.  His kickoffs were so-so in terms of hang time in the humid, 57-degree temperatures at Monster Park.  His distance was acceptable with kickoffs to the 3, 7, 1 and goal line, but his final attempt rolled out of bounds at the 13, giving the ‘Niners the ball at the 40-yard line.

Punter Chris Kluwe had 6 punts for a 41.8 gross average, 35.2 net, with a long of 53 yards.  He placed two punts inside the 20-yard line.  He connected for boots of 53, 50, 37 and 48 yards when able to kick away.  Kluwe and deep snapper Cullen Loeffler were error-free on holds and snaps.

Kickoff coverage was solid on three returns (24, 21, 15 yards), but broke down on two returns (both for 55 yards).  Vinny Ciurciu had one tackle inside the 20.  Charles Gordon (2 tackles), Jeff Dugan and Heath Farwell were also down on kickoff coverage.  But tackles by Darren Sharper and Longwell were not a good sign as Maurice Hicks averaged 34.0 on five kickoff returns.

Farwell (2 tackles), Chad Greenway (2 tackles), Dontarrious Thomas (no gain) and Dugan made stops on punt coverage as the Vikings allowed 8 yards per return.

Mewelde Moore did not get much in the way of opportunities on punt returns, with 2 fair catches, one return for 6 yards and one that went out of bounds.

Aundrae Allison took a touchback on one return and ran the other back for a modest 22 yards.

Coming Soon:  Defense.

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