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ultravikingfan
08-26-2006, 06:57 AM
Good thing Vikings rely on passing, not running game

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/football/15366729.htm

TOM POWERS
The Vikings probably don't need all that much of a running game in their new Dink 'Em Dizzy offense. They just need a little bit of productivity to give defenses something to think about. That way, very large and sweaty linemen won't be able to spend all game trying to turn 37-year-old Brad Johnson into goulash.

But so far Chester Taylor hasn't been the answer. Well, unless the question is: What costs $14.1 million and is mediocre?

Perhaps as the offensive line becomes more efficient, Taylor will do the same. There isn't a lot of time left.

"I believe we're making progress," said Taylor, who rushed for 27 yards on 10 carries. "They were playing five down linemen. It's always hard to run against that. But by the time the season starts, we'll come full out."

It's worrisome but not as critical as it could be if the Vikings were running something other than the Dink 'Em Dizzy. Brad Childress' version of the West Coast offense seems perfect for Johnson, who can accurately whip those little passes in there all game long.

Johnson doesn't even need a clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver. Just give him three or four guys who can hold onto the ball in traffic. He has been solid so far.

It also should be mentioned that these exhibition games sometimes can be worse than meaningless. They often create false impressions. So maybe everyone cranks it up for the season opener at Washington, and we all forget that the running game ever looked wimpy.

We do know the coaching staff wasn't all that thrilled with Taylor for missing some of the optional workouts over the summer. In any event, he hasn't come flying out of the starting blocks.

Taylor had trouble getting his legs moving against Baltimore. Maybe it was because Ravens linebackers had their arms wrapped around his legs quite often. Toward the end of the first half, Taylor got poked in the eye and left.

That probably caused a few heart palpitations on the sideline. Earlier in the half, Ciatrick Fason banged his shoulder and had to leave. And I know this is going to come as a shock to many of you, but Mewelde Moore had health issues and didn't dress.

Moore, the slowest healer in the NFL, has a knee issue. So the Vikings are thin as well as unproductive in the backfield. Rookie Wendell Mathis, a long shot at best to make the team, ended up playing with the first-team offense. And the second-team offense. And the third-team offense. He finished with 41 yards on 10 carries and one blown pass protection that resulted in a quarterback sack.

"He's done some good things," Childress noted.

Again, the Vikings don't need a superstar back there. I've always figured a healthy Moore could do the job. But I've never really seen a healthy Moore, so I'm just guessing. Taylor, anointed the No. 1 back by virtue of his high-profile free agency signing, needs to do better than 10 carries for 27 yards.

Yet if Childress is worried, he isn't letting on. Instead, after his team's 30-7 victory, he gave us a pithy saying:

"It's not the quality of the rush, it's the quantity of the rush. It's not the quantity of the pass, it's the quality of the pass."

Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor takes warning.

See? I know one, too.

Anyway, it's always difficult to tell what's a mirage and what isn't during the exhibition season. Rookie quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, the people's choice, continues to impress against the opposition's second and/or third defensive unit. The linebacking corps, everyone's concern of choice over the summer, seems capable.

In fact, Minnesota's entire first-string defense looked terrific against the Ravens. If that's for real, you or I could become the featured running back and it wouldn't matter. The defense was that good.

Hey, middle linebacker Napoleon Harris received a penalty for taunting early in the game. That was the first time I've even noticed him in more than a year.

Tom Powers can be reached at tpowers@pioneerpress.com

ultravikingfan
08-26-2006, 07:04 AM
Jackson still in spotlight

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/football/15366738.htm

Rookie QB again outperforms McMahon
BY DON SEEHOLZER
Pioneer Press
Mike McMahon was the first quarterback off the bench for the Vikings on Friday night in probably his last, best chance to make up ground in the race for the No. 2 job.

But rookie Tarvaris Jackson once again stole the show.

Jackson completed just 2 of 4 passes for 80 yards in two series of work in the Vikings' 30-7 exhibition win over the Baltimore Ravens, but one went to rookie wide receiver Jason Carter for a 77-yard touchdown.

That was enough to give Jackson the edge on McMahon, who had a 30-yard completion to Carter but finished just 2 of 5 for 36 yards in the two thirdquarter series he played.

Coach Brad Childress dodged a postgame question about his backup quarterbacks, but the Metrodome crowd of 63,257 made its preference known, booing McMahon's entrance and first incompletion and erupting in cheers when Jackson entered with 42 seconds left in the third quarter.

"This was my first time really hearing it," Jackson said of the reception. "It makes you feel good."

It was another feel-good night for Jackson, who might have been angling for an endorsement deal with his answer to a question about the chemistry between him and Carter.

"Yeah, 7-11," Jackson said in a reference to their jersey numbers. "He's making a habit of those plays. I've just got to get him the football, and he can take care of the rest."

Carter also provided McMahon with his only highlight with that 30-yard catch on the veteran quarterback's first series.

That drive ended with McMahon taking a 9-yard sack, and he was 0 for 3 on the Vikings' next possession, missing high on a third-down pass to an open Carter that forced Minnesota to settle for a 38-yard Ryan Longwell field goal and a 13-0 lead.

"If we hit it, it would have been six," McMahon said of his third-down miss. "I was just slightly off. I kind of rushed it."

McMahon said he thought his performance was a step up from the previous week in Pittsburgh but that he still has a lot of room for improvement.

As for the crowd reaction, he said he didn't hear it.

"That's going to happen," he said. "Any time you have a performance like last week and you come out and throw an incompletion, it's to be expected. You just block it out."

Almost lost in all the attention on the No. 2 quarterback race was another efficient performance by starter Brad Johnson, who completed 9 of 15 passes for 95 yards in exactly one half of work.

If not for a couple of drops by receiver Travis Taylor, both on third down, Johnson's passing numbers would have been even better.

He also nearly had receiver Marcus Robinson for a 32-yard touchdown, but officials correctly ruled Robinson's right foot came down out of bounds

"We wanted to start off fast, and I thought we did that, came away with one field goal," Johnson said. "I felt like we dominated the first quarter. I thought we did some good things. I think we've gotten better. We've still got a long ways to go, but I feel like it was a good night for us."

Johnson has completed 23 of 32 passes (72 percent) for 198 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions this preseason.

Don Seeholzer can be reached at dseeholzer@pioneerpress.com.

digital420
08-26-2006, 10:21 AM
with the way B.j plays this quick route and run after ya catch offence is gonna open up running lanes for RB's. be it anybody.. and just watch.. most of the runs were to the right. i think B.chill is playin a disguise for teams.. and watch them do lots of left side sprints.

like most poeple and i repeat over and over.. lets wait till the regular season!!

DiGiTaL

Benet
08-26-2006, 11:16 AM
"ultravikingfan" wrote:


Jackson still in spotlight

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/football/15366738.htm

"Yeah, 7-11," Jackson said in a reference to their jersey numbers. "He's making a habit of those plays. I've just got to get him the football, and he can take care of the rest."



If Jason Carter is kept in the squad I can see that becoming a catch-phrase.

chug o nomics
08-26-2006, 01:10 PM
Jackson-Carter connection.
I'm digging the thought off Tarvaris escaping KGB and launching the ball over a burnt Al Harris for Carter.

Freya
08-26-2006, 03:11 PM
"It's not the quality of the rush, it's the quantity of the rush. It's not the quantity of the pass, it's the quality of the pass."

Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor takes warning.

See? I know one, too.

So do I.......

Those that can, do. Those that can't, write inane articles about those who do.

About the only thing in this article I agreed with, this early in the season, was his comment about Moore being the slowest healer in the NFL.

Articnv
08-26-2006, 03:16 PM
it me not seme liek the
runnign game is there but
we are
simple doign vanila
regualr season si were the game plan will coem put and the runnign
game should be tons better

Vikes_King
08-26-2006, 03:57 PM
lol, i love how much he was bashing moore..

and ya, i agree, who ever it is taylor or moore or whoever, our offense was moving the ball effectively and our defense was keeping them at bay, i think we'll be fine come regular season

Del Rio
08-26-2006, 03:58 PM
When did people start expecting us to have a good running game anyway? This is the WCO. It's not a surprise.

SJHILL
08-26-2006, 04:21 PM
I think that they can't get the running game going, because they are running to their right, whereas they will be running to their left more during the regular season(Hutch and McKinnie's side)

V-Unit
08-26-2006, 05:16 PM
"Del" wrote:


When did people start expecting us to have a good running game anyway? This is the WCO. It's not a surprise.


I dunno, maybe it was after we got Birk back, signed Chester Taylor, signed Tony Richardson, and signed Steve Hutchinson. I don't care what offense we're using, the run game has been mediocre thus far. That being I said I don't think we will have a problem when week 1 comes around.

Thank Heaven for 7-11!

oakmage
08-26-2006, 06:38 PM
"Del" wrote:


When did people start expecting us to have a good running game anyway? This is the WCO. It's not a surprise.


I don't know Roger Craig has a pretty good career in the WCO.
If I remember right he is in the top 30 of rushers in the NFL, and he was the first person to have the 1000 yard rushing and 1000 yard receiving back in 1985.

FedjeViking
08-26-2006, 07:52 PM
I've been saying all along that the running game sucks. This is no surprise, we need a good RB.

revprodeji
08-26-2006, 08:32 PM
Fason looks good so far, he runs alil straight, but I wonder if he could be a starter with some seasoning. He did only play 1 real season of college.

NordicNed
08-26-2006, 08:36 PM
"FedjeViking" wrote:


I've been saying all along that the running game sucks. This is no surprise, we need a good RB.



Fedje,





Try to relax, we do have a good running back, just wait for the real games to start, we will all be smileling in the end....Trust Me.. ;D

singersp
08-26-2006, 10:05 PM
"revprodeji" wrote:


Fason looks good so far, he runs alil straight, but I wonder if he could be a starter with some seasoning. He did only play 1 real season of college.


Personally, I like what I see from Wendell Mathis so far. I'd like to see what he can do with the starters against a starting defense.

He's averaging 4.3 YPC compared to Taylors 2.8 YPC.

I expect & hope things will shape up & turn around once the regular season begins.

What I don't understand is how people can be satisfied with those low numbers out of Taylor, simply by saying we're a WCO, when last year they wanted Michael Bennett gone who averaged 3.8 YPC behind what I felt was a worse offensive line.

petrodemos
08-26-2006, 10:23 PM
its only pre-season, nothing to worry about till week 2 or 3 i think
running game always takes a while to get going, might only have 30-40 yards in the first half but after all the pounding through out the game, the defense is going to get tired and the running game takes off, they start to break off the 20-40 yard rushes, because the defense is getting hit in the mouth by the Minnesota Moving Company. though its alarming not to see the dominance in the running game so far, i dont think we have to worry about it just yet.

i think people were calling for bennets head because hes not an inside runner, he got injured, and his outside running was not as good as it had been.

taylor should be able to handle the inside carries and survive the first couple quarters untill he breaks one. well lets hope so anyways
;)

kramer9guy
08-26-2006, 10:48 PM
I also like what I've seen from Wendell Mathis. I hope he continues his above average play and makes the team. And he might, because the way it looks to me, Chester is going to start the season as the starting RB of course (barring any unforseen problems). And to be honest, I always liked Memo, but I think his injuries are getting to be too much for the coaching staff. Also, I've never seen what others see in Fason, he seems average at best to me (I hope he proves me wrong). So in the end, I think Mathis has a good chance to make the team (especially with his relationship with RB coach Eric Bienemy and all) as our third or fourth back and he could move his way up as the season progresses. We'll see...

olson_10
08-26-2006, 11:34 PM
its still pre-season, it doesnt count..the line still has to get familiar with one-another and develop some chemistry

Prophet
08-27-2006, 06:38 AM
I think I finally figured Powers out.
He's not a journalist.
He's a guy that posts on message boards and happened to get a job writing a few articles.
Now it all makes sense.

FedjeViking
08-27-2006, 09:45 AM
"VikingNed" wrote:


"FedjeViking" wrote:


I've been saying all along that the running game sucks. This is no surprise, we need a good RB.



Fedje,





Try to relax, we do have a good running back, just wait for the real games to start, we will all be smileling in the end....Trust Me.. ;D


Are you sure Ned? I usually see some kind of run that let's me know there is hope. I have seen none so far! There was only (1) 9 yd run last game that I can remember. There also was no consistency of the length/yardage of the runs.

Braddock
08-27-2006, 11:18 AM
"Articnv" wrote:


it me not seme liek the
runnign game is there but
we are
simple doign vanila
regualr season si were the game plan will coem put and the runnign
game should be tons better


Does that make any sense??

boognish
08-27-2006, 11:24 AM
"Braddock" wrote:


"Articnv" wrote:


it me not seme liek the
runnign game is there but

we are
simple doign vanila
regualr season si were the game plan will coem put and the runnign
game should be tons better


Does that make any sense??


LOL! I think it may be Swahili.Here's a translation guide for you.

http://research.yale.edu/cgi-bin/swahili/main.cgi?right_frame_src=http%3A//research.yale.edu/swahili/serve_pages/pronunciation.php

singersp
08-27-2006, 11:25 AM
"Braddock" wrote:


"Articnv" wrote:


it me not seme liek the
runnign game is there but

we are
simple doign vanila
regualr season si were the game plan will coem put and the runnign
game should be tons better


Does that make any sense??


"boognish" wrote:


LOL! I think it may be Swahili.Here's a translation guide for you.

http://research.yale.edu/cgi-bin/swahili/main.cgi?right_frame_src=http%3A//research.yale.edu/swahili/serve_pages/pronunciation.php


It makes perfect sense to me. Leave Articnv's spelling & grammer alone. You know nothing about him & you should not critisize him.

Attacks on a persons spelling or grammer is against the "Golden Rule".

I believe you boys owe Arcticnv an apology.

Braddock
08-27-2006, 11:27 AM
It's still preseason. It seems like preseason is worse than the offseason here, b/c everyone gets hyped up over things 10x what they do during offseason... I will worry about things when we start losing real games...Much simpler that way.

boognish
08-27-2006, 11:29 AM
"singersp" wrote:


"Braddock" wrote:


"Articnv" wrote:


it me not seme liek the
runnign game is there but

we are
simple doign vanila
regualr season si were the game plan will coem put and the runnign
game should be tons better


Does that make any sense??


"boognish" wrote:


LOL! I think it may be Swahili.Here's a translation guide for you.

http://research.yale.edu/cgi-bin/swahili/main.cgi?right_frame_src=http%3A//research.yale.edu/swahili/serve_pages/pronunciation.php


It makes perfect sense to me. Leave Articnv's spelling & grammer alone. You know nothing about him & you should not critisize him.

I believe you boys owe Arcticnv an apology.


Sorry Dad, and Arc. I never criticise people for spelling and most gramatical mistakes, but c'mon this makes no sense..."si were the game plan will coem put and the runnign
game"

Ultrapurple
08-27-2006, 12:00 PM
I can only hope that this being preseason is the reason for the Vikes lack of production in the running game. At this point I cannot decide what is a bigger surprise, the utter lack of meaningful gains in the rushing department, or the new found tenacity on defense! I might be wrong but I don't think run production is something you can turn on and off like a light switch. Maybe the O-line needs more time to gel? I know the talent is there on paper,.........but isn't that an eerily familiar feeling to all Vikings fans everywhere! I don't want to make this sound like a typical KFAN total negative post,....but I am truely worried, if we can't run the ball effectively, the year is lost, and BJ will not survive if opposing D's know that all we got is dink and dunk and the occasional deep ball,.......someone please convince me that I am worried over nothing. Tell me that it takes time for the talent we have on that line to gel together and become an effective unit. Going into the preseason I was convinced we were going to be blowing open holes big enough to drive a truck through,..... I have yet to see anything resembling a dominent O-line,.......and dare I say it,....... not even as good as last years!! HELP ME!!! Mix up a fresh batch of Purple Kool-Aid!! Head back to Mankato,.....call Steve Loney,.......AGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
Honestly,,.......convince me I'm wrong!!!

Del Rio
08-28-2006, 02:20 PM
"boognish" wrote:


"singersp" wrote:


"Braddock" wrote:


"Articnv" wrote:


it me not seme liek the
runnign game is there but

we are
simple doign vanila
regualr season si were the game plan will coem put and the runnign
game should be tons better


Does that make any sense??


"boognish" wrote:


LOL! I think it may be Swahili.Here's a translation guide for you.

http://research.yale.edu/cgi-bin/swahili/main.cgi?right_frame_src=http%3A//research.yale.edu/swahili/serve_pages/pronunciation.php


It makes perfect sense to me. Leave Articnv's spelling & grammer alone. You know nothing about him & you should not critisize him.

I believe you boys owe Arcticnv an apology.


Sorry Dad, and Arc. I never criticise people for spelling and most gramatical mistakes, but c'mon this makes no sense..."si were the game plan will coem put and the runnign
game"


I'm not sure how long you have been around.
Articnv is dyslectic. So in other words cut him some slack.

whackthepack
08-28-2006, 02:41 PM
"Del" wrote:


"boognish" wrote:


"singersp" wrote:


"Braddock" wrote:


"Articnv" wrote:


it me not seme liek the
runnign game is there but

we are
simple doign vanila
regualr season si were the game plan will coem put and the runnign
game should be tons better


Does that make any sense??


"boognish" wrote:


LOL! I think it may be Swahili.Here's a translation guide for you.

http://research.yale.edu/cgi-bin/swahili/main.cgi?right_frame_src=http%3A//research.yale.edu/swahili/serve_pages/pronunciation.php


It makes perfect sense to me. Leave Articnv's spelling & grammer alone. You know nothing about him & you should not critisize him.

I believe you boys owe Arcticnv an apology.


Sorry Dad, and Arc. I never criticise people for spelling and most gramatical mistakes, but c'mon this makes no sense..."si were the game plan will coem put and the runnign
game"


I'm not sure how long you have been around.
Articnv is dyslectic. So in other words cut him some slack.



I think Boognish is young and from his posts I have read I don't think he is big enough to apologize.

ultravikingfan
08-28-2006, 09:41 PM
Vikings' running game is stuck in a rut

http://www.startribune.com/510/story/641619.html

In case you haven't noticed, it hasn't been a stellar preseason for the Vikings' brand new running game. Only one tailback is averaging better than 2.9 yards per carry, and it isn't undisputed starter Chester Taylor or former fourth-round draft picks Mewelde Moore or Ciatrick Fason.
It's Wendell Mathis, an undrafted rookie from Fresno State. He's averaging 4.3 yards per carry, 26.2 yards per kickoff return and, better yet, his health has held up for three consecutive games.

"I've always been durable," Mathis said Friday, after injuries to Moore, Fason and kick returner Kevin Kasper enabled him to touch the ball a team-high 12 times in a 30-7 preseason victory over Baltimore.

If Moore could say the same thing of his brief career, the Vikings probably would be set at backup running back. But he has missed the past two preseason games because of a knee injury. He might play in Thursday's preseason finale at Dallas, but even if he does, his lack of dependability will no doubt make the Vikings at least consider keeping an extra running back.

"Mewelde makes it tough on a coaching staff," said former Vikings running backs coach Dean Dalton. "It's frustrating because when he has played, he's been great. But he's also been fragile."

'I catch the ball and run with it'

One man's injury -- or in this case injuries to three men -- has been a perfect opportunity for Mathis. He has latched onto it, even if it meant returning kickoffs for the first time in a game.

"Before this, I could have counted the number of kickoffs I've caught in my life on one hand," Mathis said. "But I'm a running back. I catch the ball and I run with it. It's like second nature."

Kasper, who is sidelined because of an ankle injury, leads the Vikings in kickoff return average at 35.5. He might play Thursday. Then again, he might not, in which case Mathis should get another look.

Fason was supposed to get a long look in the backfield on Friday. But he injured his left shoulder early in the game and didn't return. He returned to practice Sunday, but the injury might have been another red flag for the new coaching staff.

Mathis stepped in for Fason and had a game-high 41 yards rushing on 10 carries. It was his second consecutive game-high total, and it included a 5-yard run with the first team when Taylor missed a play because he was poked in the eye.

"I like his energy and enthusiasm," Dalton said of Mathis. "He's got the guts to run it up in there hard. And you can tell that system at Fresno State taught him how to pass protect."

Except for elite players, most rookie running backs sit simply because they can't protect franchise quarterbacks. Mathis picked up several blitzes Friday night, although coach Brad Childress did mention one miss that led to Mike McMahon being sacked.

Mathis rushed for 2,300 yards in two seasons after transferring to Fresno State from UCLA. He had 1,313 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.

Yet the draft came and went without Mathis being selected.

"That surprises me, but then again it doesn't," said Vikings third-year back Adimchinobe Echemandu, a seventh-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2004. "They say running backs and wide receivers come a dime by the dozen. Look at Denver. They pick up any back and fit him into the system. Backs are expendable, so you find a lot of good ones who aren't drafted."

Taylor was a sixth-round draft pick of Baltimore's in 2002. A career backup until this year, he has averaged at least 4.2 yards per carry every year since his rookie season. This preseason, however, he's averaging only 2.8 yards per carry while playing with the first team.

"I'm not concerned," Taylor said. "We still have two weeks to work out some things."

Still getting used to one another

The Vikings want to be a physical running team. But that's hard to do when the backfield is new and no one on the line had played alongside the guy next to him before training camp opened. Altogether, the new backfield and offensive line have played about four quarters together this preseason.

"I was telling Chester, 'I'm new, you're new, hey, we're all new,' " fullback Tony Richardson said. "Running the ball is not an easy thing to do in the National Football League. But we do have the guys who can do it once we work it all out. You'll see."


Mark Craig • mcraig@startribune.com

audioghost
08-28-2006, 10:27 PM
I'm not too worried....get our beastly O-Line on the field for an ENTIRE GAME with Chester and I'm sure we'll see production...

One preseason quarter never tells the whole story....don't panic yet!