NFC North: Jared Alen

Free Head Exam: Minnesota Vikings

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
2:45
PM ET
After the Minnesota Vikings' 28-24 loss Sunday at the Green Bay Packers, here are three issues that merit further examination:

  1. Coach Brad Childress offered some raw criticism for quarterback Brett Favre after he threw three interceptions and admitted he was one failed drive away from pulling him from the game. Childress is to speak to reporters Monday afternoon, but I can't imagine there is a scenario where he would leave open the possibility of benching Favre for next Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. I realize Favre is dealing with a re-injured ankle, but he has time to heal. It's true that Favre's 10 interceptions ties him for the NFL high, even after only five games. But the Vikings literally begged Favre to play one more season and are paying him $16 million to do it. If they're going to go down, it has to be with Favre behind center.
  2. Head Exam
    Kevin SeifertFollowing their loss against Green Bay, the Vikings take their turn in the examination room.

  3. I've never been one to harp on officiating calls during the course of a game, so we'll just say that two of the more questionable instances both went against the Vikings in scoring situations. They definitely have an argument on Andrew Quarless' touchdown reception in the second quarter; replays showed him losing control of the ball as he landed on his back. I also have to agree with Childress on what appeared to be a clean 17-yard touchdown reception by tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. Ultimately, however, complaining about officiating calls is a loser's lament. The Vikings had plenty of other opportunities to win that game, and the Packers could probably find instances where they felt an official's call went against them.
  4. As we noted earlier Monday, the Vikings took some interesting steps to protect a secondary that has lost starter Cedric Griffin for the season and had shaky rookie Chris Cook at nickelback. Cook eventually had to be benched and replaced by Frank Walker, and the Packers looked like they were trying to target Walker and second-year cornerback Asher Allen. Ultimately, they were forced to pull up their pass rush and hope that Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Ray Edwards could help shut down the short- and intermediate game by blocking the passing lanes. Eventually, they slowed down the Packers. Rodgers threw for 227 yards in the first half but managed only 52 the rest of the way.
And here is one issue I don't get:
I'll never understand why the Vikings don't make a distinction between their third-down offense and their 2-minute offense. I'm fine if tailback Adrian Peterson isn't on the field for every third down, but I can't see how it makes sense to take him off the field for any part of a game-ending drive to score what would be a winning touchdown. But Peterson was off the field for third- and fourth-down plays on the Vikings' final drive, giving way to rookie Toby Gerhart. Nothing against Gerhart, but when a division game is on the line, you can't outsmart yourself. You need your best players on the field at all times.

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

APPLETON, Wis. -- We're packing up here in Wisconsin while also working on an extended post set to publish later in the day. In the meantime, let's take a quick spin around the NFC North now that Green Bay's 24-19 victory over Minnesota has established a hierarchy in the division:

  • After watching Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers lead Green Bay to victory, Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal wrote: "Rodgers showed that the Packers still have the best quarterback in the NFC North." Faint praise, but it's accurate -- after Week 1, at least.
  • Rodgers resisted baiting techniques from the Vikings' secondary, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Vikings defensive end Jared Allen called his performance "one of the least productive games I've had in my life," according to the Star Tribune.
  • Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press appreciated Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson's honesty in explaining his mistakes Monday night. "Accountability is good," Powers wrote. "Not screwing up in the first place is better."
  • Chicago running back Matt Forte said Monday he "pretty much" met his goals by rushing for 123 yards in his debut Sunday night at Indianapolis, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Chicago players were entitled to crow about their victory, according to David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Lions center Dominic Raiola to Detroit reporters Monday: "I hope this loss humbled the locker room." Raiola believes the Lions might have gotten ahead of their hype.
  • The mother of former Lions defensive end Victor DeGrate told the Detroit News her son had nothing to do with the disappearance of running back Rudi Johnson's bags. Former Lions running back Tatum Bell has said he took the bags because he thought they were DeGrate's.

Vikings defensive line reunited

July, 30, 2008
7/30/08
2:22
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

The Minnesota Vikings finally have gotten all four starters on their celebrated defensive line back on the field.

Tuesday, nose tackle Pat Williams was cleared for team drills after previously taking limited work to protect his surgically-repaired elbow.

On Wednesday, the Vikings activated left end Ray Edwards (back) from the Physically Unable to Perform list. Edwards participated in individual drills Wednesday morning and is on track to start doing team work soon.

Edwards, Pat Williams, Kevin Williams and Jared Allen form what many consider the best defensive line in the NFL.

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