Notebook: Balanced, more explosive ‘O'

The Vikings offense found more balance and, mostly importantly, a win against the Carolina Panthers. Some of the success had to do with stretching the field early and getting success with that in the second half. See what the players and coach had to say about it, and find out which former Vikings great got married over the weekend and which ones were attending the game.

With newly crowned starter Gus Frerotte taking the snaps, the Vikings found balance in their offense and a notch in the win column.

Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor and Frerotte and combined for 32 rushes for 119 yards, and Frerotte threw the ball 28 times in the Vikings' 20-10 win over the previously unbeaten Carolina Panthers. Last against Indianapolis, the Vikings ran the ball 35 times and threw it only 24 times with Tarvaris Jackson as the quarterback.

"Everything comes out perfect in the win," receiver Bobby Wade said. "You run the ball, you pass the ball, but I thought the chances that we took down the field were really big to be able to capitalize on them."

Receiver Bernard Berrian had his most productive day as a Viking, tying Wade and Taylor for the team lead with three catches and having a game-high 79 yards receiving – nine more yards than the more heralded Steve Smith of the Panthers.

It took Frerotte some time to find a rhythm on offense, but he said part of that was trying to establish a downfield passing game, something that has been lacking for the Vikings recently.

"I was trying to push the ball downfield a little bit. We were calling some plays to get the ball down the field. You look at the interception, I tried to throw the ball a little bit back shoulder to Bernard. He probably wasn't expecting that there. There was a lane," Frerotte said. "We'll get back, we'll probably watch the film and say we should have thrown it to the running back on that one, take what they give you. But you get amped up, ready to play, excited to go out and then try to make some throws."

Childress and several players said Frerotte's veteran leadership showed in the huddle. Frerotte called it a professional huddle, but once the ball was snapped the Vikings found that the 15-year veteran of the league was willing to stand in the pocket and wait for receivers to get open.

"It's almost like he's on Valium. He's a flat-line kind of guy. You're not going to get a wave out of him. You saw that all the way, whether it was installing the openers last night or in the locker room before the game, or warming up," Childress said. "He had to calm me down a little bit. … There is just a great way about him, a great confidence about him. He enjoys it. You can tell he has a very good desire to compete." But 15 years in the league does come with its drawbacks. Frerotte's four rushes netted minus-2 yards, and he joked with reporters afterwards after a question about him "taking off" and running with the ball a couple of times.

"I think you need to choose your words a little better – I don't know if it was ‘taking off.' It was moving a little bit," he said. "I'm never going to outrun the defense or anything, but I'm going to move enough to help myself and help my team get the ball down the field."

That worked on two occasions at least, both on the same drive.

The Vikings got the ball to start the second half and three plays into the drive Frerotte sidestepped pressure and eventually found Berrian with a step on his defender. The quarterback lofted a perfect pass and the receiver made an over-the-shoulder grab down the left sideline. The result doubled the Vikings' previous long pass play of the season, this one going for 48 yards. Two plays later, Frerotte found tight end Visanthe Shiancoe for the second-longest pass play of the season, a 34-yard touchdown.

"My experience with that is that when you are kind of a statue, you stay in the pocket as long as you can because you probably can't go very far," Childress said. "Guys that can, with some flash, they do. They move. By nature, he's not going to run away from you or wiggle himself down the field, although he did a nice job a couple of times scrambling up. He knows where he's looking. He doesn't get distracted. He slides well. He moves easily and he sees well."

QUICK, THEN METHODICAL

The Vikings' opening drive of the second half, their only offensive touchdown drive of the day, took only five plays and 2:07 of game time and gave them a 17-10 lead.

Their third drive of the third quarter was another story. It resulted in a field goal and gave them a 20-10 lead, but it was far more methodical. It went 75 yards and took 19 plays and 11:34 of clock time and not only made it a two-score lead but also left the Panthers with only 9:41 to try to get those two scores, one of which had to be touchdown.

It also gave the Vikings defense a long break.

"We can rest. We might get cold on the sidelines, but we don't mind that at all," safety Darren Sharper said. "The fresher we are, we think we're going to go out there and play at a high level and they're going to be wore down a little bit. It was good for our offense to do that and we want to see more of that for the rest of the season."

With a limited amount of time for the Panthers to try to tie the game, the Vikings defense felt it had the advantage from that point on.

"Whenever you get up on a team with a score here or two touchdowns, it forces the other team's hand. That's how our defense is built – you can sit back in coverage, come up for a rush, put pressure on a quarterback," Sharper said.

They did just that, getting three sacks in the second half.

PETERSON PLAYS

Running back Adrian Peterson was a question mark all week with a sore hamstring. Peterson started and rushed for 77 yards on 17 carries, well shy of his 29 carries for 160 yards from the previous week.

Chester Taylor got his most work this season, rushing 11 times for 44 yards in an effort to take some of the workload off of Peterson, who said he didn't decide if he could play until pregame warm-ups.

MARSHALL MARRIAGE

Former Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall used to wear jersey number 70. Now at age 70 Marshall is a married man.

The Vikings' ironman defensive end from the 1960s and '70s was married to Sue Landwehr over the weekend at the home of one of Marshall's friends in Brainerd. Former Vikings teammates Bob Lurtsema, Autry Beamon, Tim Baylor and Rickey Young attended the ceremony. So did former coach Bud Grant and – who else? – Hall of Famer turned judge Alan Page officiated. As Viking Update's Lurtsema put it: Who would have thought 40 years ago that Marshall would be getting married at 70 years old and Page would be conducting the ceremony?

SAFETY DAY

Former Vikings safety Robert Griffith was the honorary captain for Sunday's game, joining the regular captains at midfield for the coin toss with his "24" jersey on.

Former Vikings safety Joey Browner, who is hoping to win election to the Eagan city council with a write-in vote, was also at the game.



Viking Update Top Stories

","mobileBody":"With newly crowned starter Gus Frerotte taking the snaps, the Vikings found balance in their offense and a notch in the win column.

Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor and Frerotte and combined for 32 rushes for 119 yards, and Frerotte threw the ball 28 times in the Vikings' 20-10 win over the previously unbeaten Carolina Panthers. Last against Indianapolis, the Vikings ran the ball 35 times and threw it only 24 times with Tarvaris Jackson as the quarterback.

\"Everything comes out perfect in the win,\" receiver Bobby Wade said. \"You run the ball, you pass the ball, but I thought the chances that we took down the field were really big to be able to capitalize on them.\"

Receiver Bernard Berrian had his most productive day as a Viking, tying Wade and Taylor for the team lead with three catches and having a game-high 79 yards receiving – nine more yards than the more heralded Steve Smith of the Panthers.

It took Frerotte some time to find a rhythm on offense, but he said part of that was trying to establish a downfield passing game, something that has been lacking for the Vikings recently.

\"I was trying to push the ball downfield a little bit. We were calling some plays to get the ball down the field. You look at the interception, I tried to throw the ball a little bit back shoulder to Bernard. He probably wasn't expecting that there. There was a lane,\" Frerotte said. \"We'll get back, we'll probably watch the film and say we should have thrown it to the running back on that one, take what they give you. But you get amped up, ready to play, excited to go out and then try to make some throws.\"

Childress and several players said Frerotte's veteran leadership showed in the huddle. Frerotte called it a professional huddle, but once the ball was snapped the Vikings found that the 15-year veteran of the league was willing to stand in the pocket and wait for receivers to get open.

\"It's almost like he's on Valium. He's a flat-line kind of guy. You're not going to get a wave out of him. You saw that all the way, whether it was installing the openers last night or in the locker room before the game, or warming up,\" Childress said. \"He had to calm me down a little bit. … There is just a great way about him, a great confidence about him. He enjoys it. You can tell he has a very good desire to compete.\" But 15 years in the league does come with its drawbacks. Frerotte's four rushes netted minus-2 yards, and he joked with reporters afterwards after a question about him \"taking off\" and running with the ball a couple of times.

\"I think you need to choose your words a little better – I don't know if it was ‘taking off.' It was moving a little bit,\" he said. \"I'm never going to outrun the defense or anything, but I'm going to move enough to help myself and help my team get the ball down the field.\"

That worked on two occasions at least, both on the same drive.

The Vikings got the ball to start the second half and three plays into the drive Frerotte sidestepped pressure and eventually found Berrian with a step on his defender. The quarterback lofted a perfect pass and the receiver made an over-the-shoulder grab down the left sideline. The result doubled the Vikings' previous long pass play of the season, this one going for 48 yards. Two plays later, Frerotte found tight end Visanthe Shiancoe for the second-longest pass play of the season, a 34-yard touchdown.

\"My experience with that is that when you are kind of a statue, you stay in the pocket as long as you can because you probably can't go very far,\" Childress said. \"Guys that can, with some flash, they do. They move. By nature, he's not going to run away from you or wiggle himself down the field, although he did a nice job a couple of times scrambling up. He knows where he's looking. He doesn't get distracted. He slides well. He moves easily and he sees well.\"

QUICK, THEN METHODICAL

The Vikings' opening drive of the second half, their only offensive touchdown drive of the day, took only five plays and 2:07 of game time and gave them a 17-10 lead.

Their third drive of the third quarter was another story. It resulted in a field goal and gave them a 20-10 lead, but it was far more methodical. It went 75 yards and took 19 plays and 11:34 of clock time and not only made it a two-score lead but also left the Panthers with only 9:41 to try to get those two scores, one of which had to be touchdown.

It also gave the Vikings defense a long break.

\"We can rest. We might get cold on the sidelines, but we don't mind that at all,\" safety Darren Sharper said. \"The fresher we are, we think we're going to go out there and play at a high level and they're going to be wore down a little bit. It was good for our offense to do that and we want to see more of that for the rest of the season.\"

With a limited amount of time for the Panthers to try to tie the game, the Vikings defense felt it had the advantage from that point on.

\"Whenever you get up on a team with a score here or two touchdowns, it forces the other team's hand. That's how our defense is built – you can sit back in coverage, come up for a rush, put pressure on a quarterback,\" Sharper said.

They did just that, getting three sacks in the second half.

PETERSON PLAYS

Running back Adrian Peterson was a question mark all week with a sore hamstring. Peterson started and rushed for 77 yards on 17 carries, well shy of his 29 carries for 160 yards from the previous week.

Chester Taylor got his most work this season, rushing 11 times for 44 yards in an effort to take some of the workload off of Peterson, who said he didn't decide if he could play until pregame warm-ups.

MARSHALL MARRIAGE

Former Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall used to wear jersey number 70. Now at age 70 Marshall is a married man.

The Vikings' ironman defensive end from the 1960s and '70s was married to Sue Landwehr over the weekend at the home of one of Marshall's friends in Brainerd. Former Vikings teammates Bob Lurtsema, Autry Beamon, Tim Baylor and Rickey Young attended the ceremony. So did former coach Bud Grant and – who else? – Hall of Famer turned judge Alan Page officiated. As Viking Update's Lurtsema put it: Who would have thought 40 years ago that Marshall would be getting married at 70 years old and Page would be conducting the ceremony?

SAFETY DAY

Former Vikings safety Robert Griffith was the honorary captain for Sunday's game, joining the regular captains at midfield for the coin toss with his \"24\" jersey on.

Former Vikings safety Joey Browner, who is hoping to win election to the Eagan city council with a write-in vote, was also at the game.


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