Ferraro ‘not happy' with coverage unit

Vikings special teams coordinator Paul Ferraro explained what happened on Will Blackmon's 76-yard punt return for a touchdown on Monday night, a score that put the Vikings at a 17-6 disadvantage in the third quarter. Plus, get notes and quotes on Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Tarvaris Jackson and more.

It didn't take Paul Ferraro long to voice his displeasure with Will Blackmon's 76-yard punt return for a touchdown Monday night against the Vikings. In his weekly address to the media on Thursday, the Vikings' special teams coordinator was up front on the breakdowns during Blackmon's back-breaking return.

It was a narrative of at least three things that went wrong to spring Blackmon and give the Packers a 17-6 third-quarter lead in their eventual 24-19 win.

"It started with the punt itself; it didn't have good hang time," Ferraro said. "Our gunners didn't get a chance to get down the field and make a play because of the hang time. I think they could have done a better job overall, but the hang time hurt us in that situation. Our contain player struggled for contain, then he came up the sideline and we actually had two players in position to make the tackle and they ran into each other. David Herron was right there ready to make the tackle and Eric Frampton ran into him. They just didn't see each other; it wasn't anybody's fault. I think David would have made the play and I think Eric Frampton would have made the play. Problem is, they run into each other, they both go down and the rest is history.

"So I'm not happy about that at all. Certainly we need to get it corrected. We cannot be giving up big plays like that in a close game. We just can't do it."

Ferraro said there were about three guys that he would consider new to the role of covering punts, but he wasn't going to pin the mistakes on that.

"It just started with the kick and we just have to have better awareness as we get down the field," he said. "I felt like we had a good preseason with that, but that play was certainly unacceptable. We can't do that."

While much of the quick-reacting public that saw the Vikings-Packers game sees a Packers win and questions the readiness of the Vikings, quarterback Peyton Manning of the Colts – the Vikings' next opponent – thinks the Vikings might have won if not for that mistake.

"If they don't give up that punt return, they probably have a chance to beat Green Bay up there in Green Bay," Manning said. "They'll be disappointed being 0-1. We're disappointed and I think you'll see two somewhat angry teams on Sunday and it'll be a physical game."

No doubt Ferraro will be a bit angry and looking for a better performance from his charges.


The Colts have spent part of the week pumping in noise to prepare for a loud Metrodome. Safety Darren Sharper and defensive end Jared Allen have both made pleas to the Minnesota fans to make it loud and therefore hard for Manning to change the play called at the line of scrimmage.

Manning said he believes the Metrodome is one of the louder stadiums, even though he's only played a preseason game there.

"I've been to some games when my dad (Archie) played there years ago (for the Vikings). It has that history and we're prepared for that. Coach (Tony) Dungy has been there a lot. It sounds like it was real similar to the RCA Dome," Manning said. "I know they'll be fired up for their first game at home in Minnesota. They're excited about their team, as they should be. They have a really good football team. So, it'll be a tough place to play on Sunday."


Dungy had nothing but high praise for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, making a "sweet" comparison when talking about him and even had a flattering comparison for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

"(The Vikings) have a Pro Bowl running back that really looks like I remember Walter Payton coming into the league," Dungy said. "He's fast, strong, runs aggressively and really gives them an impact running the football. They have a quarterback who is, in my mind, a lot like Donovan McNabb when he came in. He's very athletic, makes things happen when the plays break down and a strong arm. They have a good, tough offense to defend because they can run with power and then they have all the West Coast passing game."

Peterson, however, received the most praise from Dungy.

"I really like the way he runs. He runs with an attitude. He has the skills and the quickness and speed and power. He runs like he wants to score on every play and he looks like he's upset if he doesn't score," he said. "It's kind of refreshing to watch. I haven't seen anybody, really since Walter (Payton), who ran like that, with that type of mentality. You couple that with the physical gifts he has, he looks like he enjoys the game."


Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was asked if he has any reservations about Jackson's knee when he takes off running the ball.

"No, not about his knee. Maybe his mind and what kind of decisions he's making, to decide to slide and get down and protect himself and protect us. His knee looked okay," Bevell said, saying Jackson should have slid on occasion Monday night against the Packers. "There were a couple (times). I think the one that Charles Woodson hit him on, you'd like to have him not take that hit. Talking to him, he said that in his mind he wanted to go down but he couldn't actually get the execution part of it going. It's something that we'll continually talk about with him."


Last season, the NFL set a record with seven quarterbacks who passed for more than 4,000 yards. The previous high was five in 1999, 2004 and 2006. Former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper was part of that 2004 stable, but Peyton Manning and Brett Favre dominated the list.

Manning was listed in five of the six top years for 4,000-yard passers. In addition to last season, Manning also entered the list of 4,000-yard passers in 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2006.

Former Vikings quarterback Warren Moon also made the list for his 4,000-yard season in 1995.

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