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Is running first to set up the pass a myth? Is just might be, especially in the West Coast Offense. And, the Vikings rank among the top five teams who made the biggest strides this offseason.

Pass early, run later?


This analysis by Michael Lombardi for calls attention to the prototype West Coast Offense the Vikings would like to someday be running with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson at the helm.


The myth, Lombardi suggests, is that you have to run first to set up the pass.  "But the West Coast offense is really a philosophy, not a system of plays," Lombardi says.  "It's based on throwing the ball early in the game, building a lead, then running the ball to keep the lead.  Walsh wanted to take short passes and use the skill and quickness of the wideouts to run with the ball, instead of trying to design running plays that would gain the NFL average of 4.0 yards per attempt."


The philosophy outlined here is exactly what Vikings coach Brad Childress & Co. are trying to establish in Minnesota.  They just haven't had the quarterback yet to do it.


Supporting this scenario for winning games is a statistical look at the two best games All-World running back Adrian Peterson had last season, against Chicago and San Diego.


Like many great running backs, they tend to get even stronger as the game goes on.  Against the Bears, Peterson gashed them for 105 yards on just 8 carries in the first half.  But he finished even stronger with 224 yards on 20 carries and three scores to break the game open and give the Vikings what proved to be an insurmountable lead, even with the dangerous Devin Hester also on the field.


Against the Chargers, Peterson was held to a modest 43 yards on 13 carries (3.3 avg.) in the first half as the Vikings trailed 14-7 going into the locker room.  But he finished the game with 30 carries for a record-setting 296 yards (9.9 avg.) and three touchdowns as the Vikings walked away with a victory.


Five teams that have made Super improvements


This story lists the Vikings among five teams that have made significant improvements this offseason.


Noted is the more than $70 million owner Zygi Wilf put up for new talent.  Also, the addition of Jared Allen who will team with Kevin and Pat Williams, already the game's best duo at defensive tackle.


The quarterback position has been upgraded with addition of Gus Frerotte and rookie John David BootyEx-Bears Bernard Berrian gives head coach Brad Childress a bonafide deep threat opposite Sidney Rice.  Ex-Bengals safety Madieu Williams is a lot better player and more reliable than the departed Dwight Smith.


The Vikings have two big tests this season — home to Peyton Manning and the Colts and at Jacksonville in late November.  If they win one of those, watch out! 


Vikings PR man crosses over


Tom Fanning, a regular in the Vikings public relations department, has crossed the border to go back home and work for the division rival Green Bay Packers.


Fanning, an Appleton, Wis., native, joins Green Bay's PR department as a staff writer after 9 years with the Vikings.  Fanning's duties with the Packers will include writing, editing and proofreading for team publications, as well as for the team's Web site,  While with the Vikings, he served as a public relations assistant and Internet coordinator, as well as one season as an intern, and focused on writing for the media guide, yearbook, press releases and weekly game releases.


Prior to joining the Vikings, Fanning had a brief stint as a sports reporter with the Appleton Post-Crescent, as well as media relations director for the St. Paul Slam of the International Basketball Association.  A graduate of Appleton West High School, Fanning earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Minnesota in 1998.  While earning his degree, he served internships at KFAN Radio and KARE-TV.


While we hate to seem Tom crossing over to the Packers, we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.


Ex-Viking Carter dazzling in Panther workouts


Receiver Jason Carter has caught the eye of onlookers in mini-camp workouts with the Carolina Panthers of late.  He's been quick, elusive and made some nifty catches that have even the veterans cheering, according to various reports in the blog space.


Carter was undrafted out of Texas A&M in 2006, partly because of his lack of outstanding speed (4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash), but spent a full season mostly on the practice squad with the Vikings.


Quote to note


“Minnesota clearly did the right thing this offseason. Instead of listening to the cries of many that they needed to improve their pass defense, the Vikings signed defensive end Jared Allen. Allen will singlehandedly improve a porous unit that allowed 4,500 yards in the air last season. Defensive backs are nice to have, but a special pass rusher is what can make a defense shine.” – Michael Lombardi,


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