View Full Version : Vikings pin success on the lines

10-28-2006, 08:12 AM
Vikings pin success on the lines (http://enterprise.southofboston.com/articles/2006/10/27/news/sports/sports05.txt)

By Glen Farley, Enterprise staff writer

FOXBORO — Get the spelling correct.

They're Minny; not mini.

“Those guys are just all big around the board, especially 'Big Mac,' (6-foot-8, 335-pound tackle) Bryant McKinnie,” Minnesota tight end Jermaine Wiggins said in speaking of the offensive line the New England Patriots will face inside the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on Monday night. “I've seen some big guys, but I don't think I've ever seen them like him.”

With 317-pound Pat Williams and 311-pound Kevin Williams manning the tackle positions, Minnesota boasts a defensive line that's been far more dominant than its physically imposing offensive counterpart, however.

“They're good up front,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. “The best thing they do is they create a lot of negative plays. They've had almost … 20 percent negative plays in the running game. It's like taking a sack once every five plays.

“When you call a running play, you think you're going to gain yardage and against them you're basically losing yardage on one out of five. That's definitely a problem. It's hard to block the tackles, Williams and Williams, there. The ends (Darrion Scott and Kenechi Udeze) are good.”

Pound for pound, you won't find a defensive line that's better in defending the run in the NFL at the moment. Yielding just 70.8 yards per game, the Vikings are first in the league in rushing defense.

“They're tough to run against,” said Belichick. “Obviously, we have to find a way to make that go. We have to get more than two yards a carry, stay out of those long-yardage situations on second and third down. Being able to run is a big key to that.

“It's a big challenge for us. They're really good in the running game. Really good. Pat Williams, he's hard to block. You put two on him, then you can't get (linebacker Napoleon) Harris, you can't get (linebacker E.J.) Henderson, and you can't get (linebacker Ben) Leber. Those guys eat up a lot of blockers and then the linebackers run in there and blow you up. It's a problem.”

With a 1-2 punch of Laurence Maroney, the rookie from the University of Minnesota who's heading “home,” and 10-year veteran Corey Dillon, the Patriots are ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing offense, churning out 131.8 yards per game.

The Vikings?

While their ground game is tied for 10th overall, individually, workhorse Chester Taylor ranks second in the league in rushing with 590 yards, 57 behind the pacesetting Tiki Barber of the New York Giants.

“I think the way you judge an offensive line (is) by where's the running back in terms of league leaders in rushing,” Patriots inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. “Taylor's up there in terms of the top runners in the NFL.

“I think, for sure, he would give credit to the offensive line, first and foremost, and I think they do deserve credit because they've got guys like Hutchinson and McKinnie and (center Matt) Birk, who have been around a while. When you watch them on film, they really are great players.”

The Vikings' line is both heavy and invested in heavily.

Hutchinson was lured away from Seattle during the offseason by a seven-year, $49 million contract (that included a $16 million bonus) to tag team with McKinnie, producing 648 pounds on the left side. Birk gives the Vikings a 309-pound Harvard man in the middle. Artis Hicks and Marcus Johnson (both of whom suddenly appeared on the Vikings' injury report on Thursday, listed as questionable with neck and ankle injuries, respectively; Pat Williams, foot, and defensive end Kenechi Udeze, hip, were also added as questionable that day) add up to 656 pounds on the right side.

“Hey, they've got the best offensive guard in the league (Hutchinson). That's what everybody says,” Patriots defensive lineman Jarvis Green said. “Also, with McKinnie on the same side, I mean … that's a lot of weight over there. Six hundred pounds plus. So they've got some big guys on the left side. It's a dominating team.”

“When you look at their line, they definitely have a lot of talent,” said Richard Seymour, the Patriots' four-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman. “You can just look at the contracts those guys have over there. It's probably one of the best left sides in football. They do a good job. Both of them are All-Pro players.”

“They stay on blocks,” Bruschi said in speaking of the Vikings' line as a whole. “They don't just try to block you and look to see if the running back's squirted through the line. They really look to stay on blocks and do a good job on the second level, on linebackers and defensive backs. I think that's a tribute to their athletic ability.”

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10-28-2006, 08:51 AM
So do all of the Patsy players get bonuses for making quotes that brag about how good their opponents are?
Or does Belichick just pass around scripts for each player to follow?

To hear it from them, they might as well just not show up on Monday...sounds like they are already resigning themselves to get beat!

chug o nomics
10-28-2006, 12:20 PM
I've been looking forward to watching this game because it's really a make it or break it game for the Vikings.
This game should give us a better understanding of:

1. How good Chester Taylor is and if he can consistently play well against good defenses.

2. Whether the Vikings secondary can prove that they are elite or if they are just average.

3. How good our run defense is.
The Dillon/Maroney combo should finally prove whether we deserve that top run defense spot or not.

4. How good our offensive line is and if they have fully "gelled" or not.

We're close to the midway point.
Watch out for this game because it might be the defining moment of our season.
Either way, it should be a fun game to watch.