Breaking down the tape from the Vikings' win over the Seahawks
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Brad Childress said late Saturday he is considering playing the Minnesota Vikings' starters in Thursday's preseason finale against Denver.
But whether Brett Favre and company make an appearance against the Broncos or not, Saturday's 24-13 win over the Seattle Seahawks surely provided the most prolonged action they'll see before the Sept. 9 opener at New Orleans.
For a closer look at where things stand, here's the tale of the tape.
(Note: all offensive and defensive statistics and snap counts are for the two-plus quarters starters played, unless noted.)
Considering the unfamiliar parts around him, Favre held up fine in 47 snaps. Only one of his three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) was mostly his responsibility. His 61.5% completion rate would look better if he hadn't tried to force three balls to his pal WR Javon Walker. Favre's only bad miss turned into an interception for CB Marcus Trufant on a go for step-slow WR Greg Camarillo. In a regular-season game, there's no way Favre lets the offense bang its head into a nine-man wall four times in the shadow of the goal line. Like every quarterback, Favre is going to get hit, so he has to hang onto the football. He's been sacked three times in his abbreviated preseason -- one negated by a penalty -- and coughed it up every time. That's inexcusable.
Adrian Peterson made his 24-yard touchdown run, cutting through the line on a zone-right play and slipping a tackle at the 10. Take out that carry, and Peterson had 10 for 13 yards -- which said more about the offensive line than Peterson. Blitz pickup remains touch-and-go for Peterson, who took the first five third-down reps. He's strong enough to take on anyone who comes at his face, but DT Colin Cole ran right by him to force a throwaway and SS Lawyer Milloy made him miss on an outside blitz. Rookie Toby Gerhart got 18 snaps with the starters, showed he can move a pile and was surprisingly stout taking on DE Red Bryant at the edge. He needs to be more patient on screens. Albert Young only got five snaps with the first unit, showed no awareness by staying in bounds on the final play before halftime and seems to be losing ground. He's maybe the third-and-long back -- not a role that keeps many players employed. FB Naufahu Tahi (26 snaps) led well all night and showed surprising athleticism by hurdling a defender to stretch a checkdown pass for 15 yards.
Percy Harvin (14 snaps) took three hearty blows and only had one touch for positive yardage, but his mere presence was a victory after all the time he's missed. He owned FS Earl Thomas on Peterson's TD run. Bernard Berrian (41 snaps) looked borderline disinterested. He short-armed a pass on a stick route, fanned on Milloy to kill a bubble screen to Harvin, turned a simple option slant into a pick-six for Thomas and didn't even dive when he had a step on CB Josh Wilson and Favre's near-perfect pass grazed his fingertips. Berrian finished with one catch for 8 yards. The Vikings have to expect more from him. Camarillo (seven snaps) had only a vague idea of what he was doing and still led all receivers with four catches for 47 yards, three of them on third downs. His football savvy is obvious already. Greg Lewis (30) mostly served as a placeholder outside, sitting down in a zone to catch the only pass thrown his way for 20 yards. Walker (10) had two balls clank off his hands. His fourth-quarter touchdown catch might have bought him new life, but he still has a lot of rust to shake off. Taye Biddle (two) surprisingly worked ahead of Logan Payne, who might be out of luck as the poor man's Camarillo.
Visanthe Shiancoe (32 snaps) made a tough catch for the Vikings' first third-down conversion -- the starters were 5-for-9 -- and sat down for a 15-yarder to help set up a field goal. He always seems to know the adjustment Favre wants. He can finish better in the run game. Running plays were called on 16 of 22 snaps played by road grader Jimmy Kleinsasser (22). There wasn't much work to go around for Jeff Dugan and Garrett Mills (one each).
Run blocking seemed a little cleaner once Anthony Herrera moved back to right guard and Jon Cooper took over at center. In 19 snaps at center, Herrera got walked back by Cole, was beaten backside by DT Brandon Mebane and whiffed on a cut of LB Lofa Tatupu during the failed goal-line series. Herrera looked far more comfortable back at guard, where his aggression could take over and his combo blocking with Cooper mostly was solid. Cooper (28 snaps) battered OLB Will Herring on a screen Peterson took for 31. But he stepped on Herrera to open a lane for Tatupu's strip-sack of Favre -- it was nullified by a penalty -- and also stepped on Favre before tackling DT Kevin Vickerson for a holding penalty. RG Chris DeGeare (19) pulled better on three power plays and appears to be reducing his mistakes, giving coaches plenty to think about while C John Sullivan keeps fighting his calf strain. LT Bryant McKinnie got caught on his heels when DE Chris Clemons beat him inside for an early strip-sack and let Mebane get off him to stop Peterson on fourth-and-goal. He's so talented, but the inconsistency can be maddening. LG Steve Hutchinson isn't finishing like he once did but was sound. RT Phil Loadholt gave up a quarterback hit and a pressure. He was OK in the running game.
NT Pat Williams (20 snaps) looked like himself in his preseason debut. He disrupted three consecutive run plays on Seattle's second series and came down the line to trip up RB Leon Washington and end the third. RE Jared Allen (25) didn't expose the Seahawks' depleted line as expected, but there were a lot of called boots, sprint-out passes and three-step drops to keep QB Matt Hasselbeck out of harm's way. Allen's best play was avoiding a cut block and cleaning up backside on a third-down run by Washington. UT Kevin Williams (24) wasn't at his most active. LE Ray Edwards timed the snap count to whip RT Sean Locklear for a sack and drew a flag for needlessly launching himself into Hasselbeck's facemask. He'll pay for that one. No one else hit the quarterback as the Vikings blitzed only twice in 14 dropbacks. DT Letroy Guion (five) and DE Brian Robison (one) look like the next two in, at least in passing situations.
MLB E.J. Henderson (25 snaps) took the full load in base and nickel but was practically invisible, getting in on one tackle. SLB Chad Greenway (25) pulled down Washington with a good ankle tackle and was all over the screen game. WLB Ben Leber (15) dived to break up a slant and almost had a safety after shooting a gap from the Seahawks' 3. Mechanical challenges aside, it's worth wondering if the Vikings will consider putting Leber with Greenway in the nickel at some point.
The Seahawks went after CB Antoine Winfield (25 snaps) all night, throwing his way 10 times and completing five for 72 yards. Those numbers are skewed by a 41-yard completion to WR Deion Branch on a stutter-go against combo coverage with FS Husain Abdullah, who jumped the seam route instead. Everything else was in front on Winfield, who had a team-high six tackles and didn't miss any. Rookie CB Chris Cook (25) was solid on the other side and only was targeted twice. His two tackles in space were exceptional. CB Asher Allen (10 snaps) took the nickel and didn't have a pass thrown his way. Winfield, Cook and Allen seem like the package for the opener. SS Tyrell Johnson (10) only got three series with the starters and wasn't really tested. He's superior against the pass to Jamarca Sanford, who didn't play at all with the No. 1 unit, but how badly does he want the job? Abdullah (15) got his shot, helped allow Branch's long catch and blew a tackle that tacked on 16 to WR Mike Williams' 42-yard catch-and-run up the seam. FS Madieu Williams (25) once again seemed to be in the right place a lot but just doesn't make a ton of plays. He was credited with one assisted tackle.
KOS Rhys Lloyd kicked away three times from the 30 and all three reached the end zone -- but still were returnable. His first was 1 yard deep at the numbers (hang time: 4.4 seconds), his second 2 yards deep inside the numbers (4.1) and his third 1 yard deep in the middle (4.0). In his only domed kickoff work this preseason, PK Ryan Longwell kicked away to the 2-yard line at the numbers (3.9) and to the 1 at the hashes (3.3) on Aug. 14 at St. Louis. Is that difference enough for the Vikings to use an extra spot on the 53- and 45-man rosters? The odds still seem to be in Lloyd's favor, although coaches surely want more depth. Longwell hit a 28-yard field goal, staying perfect in the preseason. P Chris Kluwe averaged 43 yards on three punts with no returns, though one was a poor kick that got a fortunate bounce. Darius Reynaud burst through a big hole for a 73-yard kickoff return, averaged 13 yards on two punt returns and looks like the man in both phases if the Vikings decide to be cautious with Harvin.