Notebook: Allen Breaks Out

Jared Allen registered his first two sacks as a Viking, even if it is only preseason. Plus, find out who else had the big plays on defense, offense and special teams, along with some notable final figures from the Vikings' 23-15 win.

Jared Allen's impact was felt Saturday. Just asked Troy Smith, who absorbed the brunt of that impact at least twice.

Allen, who signed a six-year, $74 million deal after being traded to the Vikings, nearly had a couple sacks in his first preseason game but was thwarted by a quick-strike passing game from the Seattle Seahawks last week.

"They were a hitting a lot of short passes on us. … We weren't doing exactly what we needed to do, so we'll get better at it," Allen said after that game. "A couple of times I was almost there. One was on a screen and there was one on an inside move when he stepped outside a little bit. It's preseason and that's what preseason is for. We'll get all these kinks worked out."

Apparently, the kinks were straightened out. Allen sacked Smith, the Ravens' starting quarterback on Saturday, twice and had him all but wrapped up a third time before Smith ducked out of Allen's grasp and scrambled for 17 yards.

Allen's first sack helped bring Baltimore's second drive to an end. On the Ravens' ensuing drive, Allen was noticed early for different reasons. He jumped offsides on a second-down play and two plays later got to Smith but let him out of his grasp. Smith escaped the would-be sack and scrambled for 17 yards and a first down. Two players after that, Allen rebounded and registered his second sack, a 12-yard loss for Smith and the Ravens. Allen's final stats showed three tackles, two sacks, two tackles-for-loss and two quarterback hurries.

SHARPER'S BIG HIT, BIG PLAY

Just as Allen returned to sack form in the second preseason game, safety Darren got back into his intercepting ways.

On the Ravens' final drive of the first half, Smith fired a pass intended for Mark Clayton. The ball deflected off Clayton and Sharper reached out to deflect it to himself at the Vikings' 47-line and returned the interception 31 yards. That set up a Minnesota field goal as the second quarter ended.

Sharper also had a big play toward the beginning of the second quarter. On third-and-13 following Allen's first sack and a false-start penalty, Smith launched a sideline pass for speedy receiver Yamon Figurs, but Sharper came in for a big hit as the ball arrived and the incompletion forced Baltimore's first punt of the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS WITHOUT FARWELL

Figurs is a big part of the Ravens' special-teams return game, and the Vikings were searching for answers there while trying to replace Heath Farwell, who was lost for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the first quarter of the preseason opener.

Without Farwell, undrafted rookie cornerback Brandon Sumrall led the special teams with two tackles, including one of highlight-film variety. While covering a punt from Chris Kluwe, Sumrall was being bumped and blocked down the field but maintained his line and vision on return man Todd Zbikowski. Sumrall timed his hit perfectly just after Zbikowski fielded the punt and sent him backwards for no gain.

Sumrall had ended the Ravens' previous possession when he made an athletic interception of a Kyle Boller pass that ended the quarterback's night. Sumrall, the cousin of Ravens safety Dawan Landry and Redskins safety LaRon Landry, is trying to make the Vikings as a rookie free agent.

HANDLING THE 3-4 BLITZ

Preseason is always a learning time in the NFL, but the Vikings were getting a look at an aggressive 3-4 defense that they don't see often in the NFC North. Ravens assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Rex Ryan has built a reputation for sending the blitz, but Vikings coach Brad Childress wasn't fearing it.

"I don't think there's really a downside to it. The more you can get exposed to, the better," Childress said last week. "You see big plays come from that exposure, whether it is with the ones or the twos. You see minus plays. They're a different kind of front. As I mentioned, it gives you just that experience for the future."

The Vikings' longest passing play came on a Baltimore blitz in the second quarter that left one-on-one coverage on the outside with receiver Martin Nance. Under quick and heavy pressure, 15-year veteran quarterback Gus Frerotte recognized the opportunity and lofted a deep pass for Nance, who hauled in a 32-yard reception down the right sideline.

Jackson also seemed to do well with the pressure, keeping his eyes focused downfield and occasionally scrambling for positive yardage when he couldn't find an open receiver. Jackson ran twice for 22 yards, including the play that took him out of the game with a knee injury, and the Vikings' first three quarterbacks in the game avoided throwing any interceptions or taking any sacks.

SECOND-TEAM PRESSURE

DE Otis Grigsby, who is getting more opportunities with Jayme Mitchell lost for the season with an injury and Brian Robison out for a few weeks after having a varicose vein removed, made the most of his chances on one drive. The second-year pro out of Kentucky sacked Ravens first-round pick Joe Flacco twice on one fourth-quarter drive.

Besides Allen's two sacks of Smith, the other Vikings to register a sack was rookie DT Letroy Guion, who nailed Boller with a hard hit that caused a fumble.

Vikings rookie quarterback John David Booty didn't fare much better than Flacco. Booty was sacked on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter.

NOTES

  • After not starting the preseason opener, Pat Williams was in the starting lineup at nose tackle for the Vikings in Baltimore.

  • Wide receiver Robert Ferguson got the start in place of Bernard Berrian, who reported his injury as a sore toe.

  • For those wondering about the status of left tackle Bryant McKinnie after Sirius NFL Radio reported on Thursday that he is "likely" to be suspended for the first four games of the season, McKinnie made the start on Saturday and played as extensively as most of the starters.

  • By halftime, the Vikings had already given up 110 of their 126 net rushing yards allowed. Rookie RB Ray Rice had 71 rushing yards at halftime and the Ravens averaged a whopping 7.9 yards per rushing attempt for the game. The Vikings were dropped for losses on five rushing plays while every Ravens run went for positive yards or at least no loss.

  • Minnesota did hold a 154 to 12 (yes, a dozen) advantage in net passing yards in the first half. For the game, the Vikings averaged 5.2 yards per pass play and the Ravens managed only 3.0 yards per pass play.

  • Vikings rookie kicker Steven Hauschka had two touchbacks on kickoffs.

  • Three of the Ravens' 15 first downs came via Vikings penalties.

  • The Vikings had several players not active for the game: K Ryan Longwell, S Madieu Williams, TE Garrett Mills, T Drew Radovich, DT Kenderick Allen, T Marcus Johnson, WR Bernard Berrian and DE Brian Robison.

  • The Ravens had far more players that didn't appear in the game: CB Samari Rolle, LB Tavares Gooden, DT Haloti Ngata, WR Patrick Carter, S Ed Reed, CB Chris McAlister, RB Willis McGahee, CB David Pittman, LB Dan Cody, LB Terrell Suggs, T Jared Gaither, T Adam Terry, TE Aaron Walker, TE Daniel Wilcox, TE Todd Heap, WR Demetrius Williams, NT Kelly Gregg and NT Kelly Talavou.


  • Viking Update Top Stories

    \r\n","mobileBody":"Jared Allen's impact was felt Saturday. Just asked Troy Smith, who absorbed the brunt of that impact at least twice.

    Allen, who signed a six-year, $74 million deal after being traded to the Vikings, nearly had a couple sacks in his first preseason game but was thwarted by a quick-strike passing game from the Seattle Seahawks last week.

    \"They were a hitting a lot of short passes on us. … We weren't doing exactly what we needed to do, so we'll get better at it,\" Allen said after that game. \"A couple of times I was almost there. One was on a screen and there was one on an inside move when he stepped outside a little bit. It's preseason and that's what preseason is for. We'll get all these kinks worked out.\"

    Apparently, the kinks were straightened out. Allen sacked Smith, the Ravens' starting quarterback on Saturday, twice and had him all but wrapped up a third time before Smith ducked out of Allen's grasp and scrambled for 17 yards.

    Allen's first sack helped bring Baltimore's second drive to an end. On the Ravens' ensuing drive, Allen was noticed early for different reasons. He jumped offsides on a second-down play and two plays later got to Smith but let him out of his grasp. Smith escaped the would-be sack and scrambled for 17 yards and a first down. Two players after that, Allen rebounded and registered his second sack, a 12-yard loss for Smith and the Ravens. Allen's final stats showed three tackles, two sacks, two tackles-for-loss and two quarterback hurries.

    SHARPER'S BIG HIT, BIG PLAY

    Just as Allen returned to sack form in the second preseason game, safety Darren got back into his intercepting ways.

    On the Ravens' final drive of the first half, Smith fired a pass intended for Mark Clayton. The ball deflected off Clayton and Sharper reached out to deflect it to himself at the Vikings' 47-line and returned the interception 31 yards. That set up a Minnesota field goal as the second quarter ended.

    Sharper also had a big play toward the beginning of the second quarter. On third-and-13 following Allen's first sack and a false-start penalty, Smith launched a sideline pass for speedy receiver Yamon Figurs, but Sharper came in for a big hit as the ball arrived and the incompletion forced Baltimore's first punt of the game.

    SPECIAL TEAMS WITHOUT FARWELL

    Figurs is a big part of the Ravens' special-teams return game, and the Vikings were searching for answers there while trying to replace Heath Farwell, who was lost for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the first quarter of the preseason opener.

    Without Farwell, undrafted rookie cornerback Brandon Sumrall led the special teams with two tackles, including one of highlight-film variety. While covering a punt from Chris Kluwe, Sumrall was being bumped and blocked down the field but maintained his line and vision on return man Todd Zbikowski. Sumrall timed his hit perfectly just after Zbikowski fielded the punt and sent him backwards for no gain.

    Sumrall had ended the Ravens' previous possession when he made an athletic interception of a Kyle Boller pass that ended the quarterback's night. Sumrall, the cousin of Ravens safety Dawan Landry and Redskins safety LaRon Landry, is trying to make the Vikings as a rookie free agent.

    HANDLING THE 3-4 BLITZ

    Preseason is always a learning time in the NFL, but the Vikings were getting a look at an aggressive 3-4 defense that they don't see often in the NFC North. Ravens assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Rex Ryan has built a reputation for sending the blitz, but Vikings coach Brad Childress wasn't fearing it.

    \"I don't think there's really a downside to it. The more you can get exposed to, the better,\" Childress said last week. \"You see big plays come from that exposure, whether it is with the ones or the twos. You see minus plays. They're a different kind of front. As I mentioned, it gives you just that experience for the future.\"

    The Vikings' longest passing play came on a Baltimore blitz in the second quarter that left one-on-one coverage on the outside with receiver Martin Nance. Under quick and heavy pressure, 15-year veteran quarterback Gus Frerotte recognized the opportunity and lofted a deep pass for Nance, who hauled in a 32-yard reception down the right sideline.

    Jackson also seemed to do well with the pressure, keeping his eyes focused downfield and occasionally scrambling for positive yardage when he couldn't find an open receiver. Jackson ran twice for 22 yards, including the play that took him out of the game with a knee injury, and the Vikings' first three quarterbacks in the game avoided throwing any interceptions or taking any sacks.

    SECOND-TEAM PRESSURE

    DE Otis Grigsby, who is getting more opportunities with Jayme Mitchell lost for the season with an injury and Brian Robison out for a few weeks after having a varicose vein removed, made the most of his chances on one drive. The second-year pro out of Kentucky sacked Ravens first-round pick Joe Flacco twice on one fourth-quarter drive.

    Besides Allen's two sacks of Smith, the other Vikings to register a sack was rookie DT Letroy Guion, who nailed Boller with a hard hit that caused a fumble.

    Vikings rookie quarterback John David Booty didn't fare much better than Flacco. Booty was sacked on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter.

    NOTES

  • After not starting the preseason opener, Pat Williams was in the starting lineup at nose tackle for the Vikings in Baltimore.

  • Wide receiver Robert Ferguson got the start in place of Bernard Berrian, who reported his injury as a sore toe.

  • For those wondering about the status of left tackle Bryant McKinnie after Sirius NFL Radio reported on Thursday that he is \"likely\" to be suspended for the first four games of the season, McKinnie made the start on Saturday and played as extensively as most of the starters.

  • By halftime, the Vikings had already given up 110 of their 126 net rushing yards allowed. Rookie RB Ray Rice had 71 rushing yards at halftime and the Ravens averaged a whopping 7.9 yards per rushing attempt for the game. The Vikings were dropped for losses on five rushing plays while every Ravens run went for positive yards or at least no loss.

  • Minnesota did hold a 154 to 12 (yes, a dozen) advantage in net passing yards in the first half. For the game, the Vikings averaged 5.2 yards per pass play and the Ravens managed only 3.0 yards per pass play.

  • Vikings rookie kicker Steven Hauschka had two touchbacks on kickoffs.

  • Three of the Ravens' 15 first downs came via Vikings penalties.

  • The Vikings had several players not active for the game: K Ryan Longwell, S Madieu Williams, TE Garrett Mills, T Drew Radovich, DT Kenderick Allen, T Marcus Johnson, WR Bernard Berrian and DE Brian Robison.

  • The Ravens had far more players that didn't appear in the game: CB Samari Rolle, LB Tavares Gooden, DT Haloti Ngata, WR Patrick Carter, S Ed Reed, CB Chris McAlister, RB Willis McGahee, CB David Pittman, LB Dan Cody, LB Terrell Suggs, T Jared Gaither, T Adam Terry, TE Aaron Walker, TE Daniel Wilcox, TE Todd Heap, WR Demetrius Williams, NT Kelly Gregg and NT Kelly Talavou.

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