Notebook: Hoodwinked and much more

The Vikings found a cornerback to target and went after him hard. See how badly they abused him and get notes and quotes on pressuring Kurt Warner, a potential quarterback controversy, the flying red flags, the M*A*S*H unit, a little dance instruction and more.

If Vikings fans thought that opposing teams were targeting cornerback Cedric Griffin earlier in the season, imagine how Arizona Cardinals fans feel the day after Roderick Hood was exposed by Tarvaris Jackson.

More precisely, Hood was exposed by Brad Childress, who knew of Hood's tendencies from their days together with the Philadelphia Eagles. Childress had plenty of opportunities to see Hood as the Eagles' nickel cornerback over a three-year period. Childress was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia from 2002-2005. In his final three years there, Childress' offense was practicing against Hood.

During the 2007 offseason, the Vikings had the opportunity the pursue Hood in free agency. Fred Smoot was returning to Washington and the Vikings could have considered a free-agent cornerback to replace him. Instead, the Vikings opted to promote Cedric Griffin to a full-time starter.

Hood signed a deal with the Cardinals, and Childress appeared to have his target for the Vikings' Week 15 victory, their ninth of the season.

It started early – on the first snap of the game, in fact. Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson dropped back to pass and launched a bomb down the right sideline for Bernard Berrian. Hood made a solid play on the ball and knocked it away for a pass defensed.

It wouldn't go as well for the cornerback the rest of the game, at least on defense.

Hood was cornerback Berrian beat on the team's second offensive series – the series following Berrian's 82-yard punt return for a touchdown. After the Vikings scratched and clawed for one first down, Jackson lofted a pass down the right sideline again. And again it was for Berrian with Hood in coverage. This time, Berrian had just enough separation and Jackson placed it perfectly for a 41-yard touchdown.

"(We) wanted to take a shot early in the game, wanted to get after Rod Hood a little bit," Childress said. "I've got a little history with him. We knew we could get up the field on some of those guys and we didn't want to be afraid and not be aggressive."

The Vikings offense wasn't done targeting Hood yet. On their next drive, they were facing third-and-4 from the 6-yard line. With Sidney Rice lined up wide right, Hood was the man in coverage. Despite decent coverage again, Jackson drilled a bullet to Rice on the slant and Minnesota had another touchdown at the expense of Hood.

When the Vikings needed an answer to the Cardinals' second-half attempts after closing the gap to 14 points, they went back to Hood's side of the field. This time, it was Bobby Wade, who got Hood to bite on a stop-and-go route. Jackson zipped the pass in between Hood and late-arriving safety Adrian Wilson, who took a bad angle and missed Wade. The receiver easily ran down the right side of the field for a 59-yard touchdown.

Hood ended up being the recipient of a blocked field goal, picking up the loose ball and sprinting 68 yards for a touchdown, but it didn't erase his downer day on defense.

Griffin would have a much better afternoon. He ended the day with four tackles, four passes defensed and an interception as part of a Vikings defense that held a potent passing attack in check most of the game despite an Arizona game plan that quickly abandoned the run. As it turned out, Griffin would have two more (and easier) opportunities for interceptions, but the lone interception of the game helped contribute to the Vikings getting 14 points off turnovers.


So, the question that will likely be asked throughout the week is this: Will Jackson be starting games for the Vikings even after Gus Frerotte's back is healthy enough to allow him to play?

Childress said he wasn't going to tread into the quarterback controversy waters, saying, "It's a nice luxury to have two guys and we said all along we're probably going to need a couple to get it done."

Jackson wasn't concerning himself with that either. He was too busy enjoying a win that he was unable to secure in his first two starts of the season.

"I kind of felt like I didn't have anything to lose. I got benched Week 2 and wasn't playing my game and you see where that got me," Jackson said. "I figured I'd just go out there and have fun, just go out there and let it all hang. You know what you're doing, you study enough all week … now let's just go out there and play."


All week long, the Vikings were asked about getting pressure on a quarterback who has become known for getting rid of the ball quickly. Once the game started, they answered those questions.

Early on, it was linebacker Chad Greenway playing games with Kurt Warner by threatening to blitz and backing into coverage to knock down passes instead of quarterbacks. By late in the first quarter, Greenway was following through with his threats and sacking Warner and defensive Jared Allen was knocking him down.

"We wanted to disrupt that quarterback and wide receiver group and get in his grill a little bit and offset those receivers in terms of their timing," Childress said. "I thought we did a good job with that and made them kind of one-dimensional with the way the score went."

By the time the Cardinals were desperate in the fourth quarter, Allen was cleaning up and finishing the job with sacks on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter. When it was done, the Vikings had registered four sacks and 11 knockdowns of the 37-year-old quarterback. Those were in addition to several throwaways Warner executed to avoid a sack.

"I don't know if there was a letdown," Warner said. "That team just beat us today, all across the board."


The win didn't come without its costs to the Vikings.

They entered the game with starting quarterback sidelined. Fox Sports reported that Frerotte suffered a fractured transverse process last week against the Lions, but Jackson had another strong day and might have a chance to stay in the starting lineup even when Frerotte is healthy.

Right tackle Artis Hicks was also deactivated, but it was a partially torn triceps, Fox reported during the game. Hicks had been on the injury report and was listed as doubtful with an elbow injury.

Allen started and played the entire game despite a knee injury. Fox confirmed that Allen has a sprained medial collateral ligament, but he still managed two sacks. His backup, Brian Robison, who had arthroscopic knee surgery less than two weeks ago, also limped off the field in the third quarter, but he also returned to the game.

In addition, left tackle Bryant McKinnie came out of the game for a spell with an undisclosed injury, but he returned to action.

The biggest blow of all may have come to the bigger half of the Williams Wall. Nose tackle Pat Williams left the game with a right shoulder injury and was taken to the locker room on a cart. He was scheduled to have a magnetic resonance test Monday.

The Vikings deactivated wide receiver/kick returner Darius Reynaud with a foot injury. Former No. 1 kick returner Maurice Hicks got his job back, at least temporarily, but all three kickoffs he fielded were downed in the end zone for touchbacks.


Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt tried to keep the game from getting out of hand early by using his challenge flag. Whisenhunt threw the first challenge at the end of the Cardinals' second drive when Griffin intercepted Warner. The ruling of an interception stood and Arizona lost its first timeout.

Another Minnesota takeaway to end Arizona's next drive brought Whisenhunt's red hankie out again. He challenged the fact that receiver Anquan Boldin had possession of the ball before cornerback Antoine Winfield stripped it loose. The coach lost that challenge, too. Less than 10 minutes into the game, the Cardinals had lost their ability to challenge any more calls the rest of the game and they were down two timeouts.

Childress was one-for-two on his challenges, losing a challenge on a Chester Taylor fumble but winning a challenge on a play that was originally ruled a fumble by Adrian Peterson.


Bernard Berrian broke into a touchdown celebration on his 41-yard score in the first quarter. Actor Will Smith, in town last week to promote his new movie, taught the jig to Berrian. After a roll of arms, the dance includes going under each leg with the ball before bringing it back up and dropping it over the shoulder.


As expected, Frerotte was inactive as the Vikings' third (emergency) quarterback. Also inactive was Hicks (Ryan Cook started in his place), TE Garrett Mills, LB Dontarrious Thomas, DT Jimmy Kennedy, DE Otis Grigsby, Reynaud and DT Letroy Guion.

For the Cardinals, Brian St. Pierre (third QB), CB Eric Green, FB Terrelle Smith, LB Pago Togafau, LB Clark Haggans, T Brandon Keith, DT Alan Branch and TE Jerame Tuman were inactive.

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