The Wildcat appears in Houston
September, 1, 2009
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
HOUSTON -- Brett Favre was pretty much the story Monday night at Reliant Stadium, so I won't force five more observations on you this morning. But one item did escape our coverage: Minnesota unveiled a version of the Wildcat for two plays.
On both occasions, receiver Percy Harvin took the direct snap. In the first quarter, he handed the ball to tailback Adrian Peterson, who took the ball around right end for five yards. In the third quarter, Harvin kept the ball for a two-yard gain around the left side. (It was the same play Favre infamously upended Houston defensive back Eugene Wilson.)
The two plays combined for seven yards. But more importantly, the Vikings teased just enough of the formation to give future opponents something else to prepare for. And in reality, this version of the Wildcat is going to be based on a very simple principle: Two superior open-field runners moving in opposite directions.
"I thought there were a lot of people paying attention to Percy," coach Brad Childress said. "You've got to decide which master you want to serve. The front side with the fake to Adrian? Or three [people] looking at Percy? It's just, which one?”
Indeed, anytime you can draw a defense's attention away from Peterson, you've got a chance to bust a pretty good play. I'm not sure how often the Vikings will use the Wildcat, but from a big-picture perspective, it makes sense to sprinkle it in early and often this season to see how defenses react. (Just so long as Favre stays upright.)