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Updated: September 28th, 2011 11:52pm
Notebook: Ranking among NFL's most-penalized 'a problem' for Vikings

Notebook: Ranking among NFL's most-penalized 'a problem' for Vikings

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Of all the trends in the Minnesota Vikings' string of three second-half collapses, one of the most consistent has been penalties.

They were flagged 10 times after halftime in Sunday's 26-23 loss to Detroit -- six were enforced for a net loss of 50 yards -- and already have 27 penalties for 222 yards this season. Only the Oakland Raiders (30 for 271 yards) have committed more.

"It's a problem," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said on Wednesday. "We've had some penalties that have been costly, particularly in the fourth quarter, ones that could have maybe changed the outcome of the game possibly. It's something we're well aware of and something we need to get better at."

Safety Eric Frampton was flagged for a horse-collar tackle on the first play of the fourth quarter of the Sept. 11 opener at San Diego. In the fourth quarter of that game alone, the Vikings committed five penalties, including an unnecessary roughness call on Cedric Griffin and three pre-snap violations by defensive linemen Letroy Guion and Fred Evans.

Ends Jared Allen (roughing the passer) and Everson Griffen (false start) were flagged in the fourth quarter on Sept. 18 against Tampa Bay.

Then, in the fourth quarter against Detroit, the Vikings were flagged five times -- including a holding call against receiver Michael Jenkins that wiped out a 14-yard Adrian Peterson run, a horse collar by linebacker Chad Greenway and an unnecessary roughness penalty on linebacker Kenny Onatolu that backed up their last shot in regulation.

One theory about the Vikings' second-half struggles as a whole is a problem with conditioning, which potentially could cause mental lapses, too. But Frazier dismissed the notion being in better shape would have kept Onatolu from hitting someone late or end Brian Robison from jumping offside on third-and-17 the week before.

"A lot of times it's being aggressive, and sometimes, you have to know when and when not to be aggressive," quarterback Donovan McNabb said. "If it's anticipating the snap count or if it's on a blocking scheme and you're getting your hands inside and all of a sudden a DB or linebacker pulls away and your hand's still stuck inside, the refs only going to see one thing."

The Vikings also were one of the league's most-penalized teams last season, when officials walked off 100 penalties for 769 yards against them. At their current rate, they would commit 144 penalties for 1,184 yards this season -- topping the team record of 137 penalties for 1,139 yards set in 2002.

By comparison, the Vikings' opponent on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs, have been penalized only 16 times for 138 yards this season.

"I don't know that there's any secret," Chiefs coach Todd Haley said. "You coach it, you talk about it, you try to ... teach good technique, but then the players -- they have to do it on the field."

Big game

Frazier once again shied away from applying the "must-win" label to Sunday's game at Kansas City.

"But it's one that we need to win," Frazier said. "We need to win this game for a lot of reasons and we have to go out and play well and do it for four quarters. It's very, very important for us to get a win."

Only three teams have rebounded from an 0-3 start to make the playoffs -- and none since the Buffalo Bills in 1998. The injury-depleted Chiefs, who won the AFC South Division last season, also enter the game without a win.

"We've got to keep fighting," linebacker Erin Henderson said. "We've got to keep plugging away. It's easy to get deterred. It's easy to give up and give in, but it's hard to keep pushing. But I think we've got some tough guys in here that are willing to go out there and go the extra mile in order for us to get to where we're trying to go, and I think you're going to see that when we get out there on the field on Sunday."

No love lost

Apparently, Allen still hasn't forgiven the person he blames for driving him out of Kansas City more than three years ago.

"His name was Carl Peterson. You can write that in caps," Allen said on a conference call with Kansas City reporters.

"Obviously, I had a problem with (owner) Clark Hunt, too, because he chose Carl over me, huh? When everything went down there, I didn't appreciate being lied to. I was told I'd get (a contract) extension and everything, and the way things played out, my biggest thing was, 'Listen, I don't lie to you guys. I show up and bust my tail for you. Don't lie to me.' ... It's tough to go and give your all for someone like that."

Allen had 15½ sacks in 2007 with the Chiefs, who traded him the following April for a first-round draft pick (No. 17 overall) and two third-rounders. He since has 44½ sacks, including 4½ sacks this season -- tied for second in the NFL -- entering Sunday's game against his old team.

'It doesn't make sense'

Longtime Vikings end Chris Doleman, who will be inducted into the team's ring of honor next month, said he wouldn't be crushed if he's not elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Doleman has been a finalist for the hall the past two years and was on the initial list of candidates for the 2012 class released this week.

"It's not going to define who I am," Doleman said. "My greatest achievements are having two healthy kids, being a follower of the Lord. Canton is something that we put a price on -- it's not the be-all end-all. If it happens, it happens, but I am not going to sit up here and hold my breath."

That said, it's clear Doleman believes he should be in the hall. He ranks fourth all-time with 150½ sacks in his 15-year career with the Vikings, San Francisco and Atlanta.

"It doesn't make sense, but I'm still waiting," Doleman said, then joked, "If they call me and I'm alive, maybe I accept it, maybe I won't. It might be, 'You should have called me 50 years earlier.'"

Quick hits

• Frazier indicated the Vikings will continue to experiment with Griffen, who played 10 snaps as a standup linebacker on Sunday. "It was good for us," Griffen said. "It was a good change-up. It was another way to get a good athlete on the field and something we definitely want to continue to explore."

• McNabb and TE Visanthe Shiancoe stayed after practice to get extra work together.

• The Vikings worked out DE Ugo Chinasa, a rookie from Oklahoma State, in addition to veteran OT Max Starks on Tuesday, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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