1. The downside of dumping the Dome
Financially, the Vikings couldn’t be happier dumping the Metrodome, which routinely pulled them down among the NFL’s revenue-producing bottom feeders. But let’s also not forget that the dome’s noise and claustrophobic quarters did help them rank among one of the league’s best teams at home the past 32 seasons. Even during a 5-10-1 season, the Vikings still won four straight at home to finish 4-3 there. Since 1982, when the Dome opened, the Vikings have had only four losing seasons at home. The only team with fewer losing seasons at home during that time is Pittsburgh (one). The Vikings finished with 161 regular-season wins at the Metrodome, seventh most in the NFL since 1982. Denver (181), Pittsburgh (174), and Green Bay (171) are the top three. Overall, the Vikings finished 167-92, including 6-4 in the postseason, at the Metrodome. “You can always count on us to play our best football in the Metrodome,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “We hope that transfers outdoors next year. But, yeah, there is the question moving forward whether we can maintain this kind of home-field advantage. We hope we can.”
2. “All Day” can’t do it all by himself
The first running back selected in the 2007 NFL draft was Adrian Peterson (seventh overall). The last running back selected in the 2007 NFL draft was Ahmad Bradshaw (250th overall by the Giants). Guess which one is 8-1 in the postseason with two Super Bowl rings? Now guess which one’s team is 55-60-1, including 1-2 in the postseason, since it drafted him. Bradshaw, now with the Colts, had a solid career, but obviously is no Adrian Peterson. It’s just a reminder that a running back — even the greatest of his generation — can’t carry an NFL team by himself. Peterson, who missed his second game of the season because of injuries on Sunday, turns 29 on April 21. A great career is being wasted.
3. Sherels quietly sets punt return record
It’s fitting that Marcus Sherels was in someone else’s shadow when he set the team record for punt return average in a single season (15.2). While electric rookie Cordarrelle Patterson scored twice and capped his record-setting season for kickoff returns, Sherels quietly snaked his way up the left sideline on a 50-yard punt return to the 8-yard line to set up Patterson’s winning TD catch. “Just a `wall left’ call,” Sherels said. “The guys did a great job blocking it. They make my job easy.” Sherels had three returns for 77 yards, a 25.7-yard average that increased his season average from 13.6 to 15.2 on 22 returns. That broke the mark of 13.2 set by David Palmer in 1995 and was good for second place in the NFL behind Baltimore’s Tandon Doss (15.6).
4. Greenway ties Studwell’s streak
Playing with a fractured wrist for most of the season, Greenway still led the team in tackles for a sixth consecutive season. That ties former Vikings linebacker Scott Studwell’s team record (1980 to ’85). “It’s a credit to being available, to being active week in and week out,” said Greenway, whose five tackles gave him 163, 17 more than Erin Henderson. “I’ve played through injury. It takes a lot of work to get to that point. I’m proud of putting the uniform on 112 times in a row for this team.” Among Sunday’s active players, only Washington’s London Fletcher (256), who is retiring, and Detroit’s Stephen Tulloch (128) have played in more consecutive games. Greenway’s immediate concern, however, is getting his wrist taken care of. “We’re going to check it out and see what it looks like,” he said. “See what the hamburger meat looks like in there. It’s been a long year.”
5. Walsh gets no shot from 57
The Vikings passed on a 57-yard field goal attempt, choosing instead to punt while leading 7-0 in the second quarter. Perhaps a year ago, they would have let Blair Walsh attempt it. Walsh set the NFL record for most 50-yarders in a season when he went 10-for-10 as an All-Pro a year ago. But since then, Walsh has made just two of five attempts from 50 or longer. That includes three consecutive misses since the fifth game of the season. Walsh made his first two, from 52 and 54 yards, but then was wide left from 55 and 57 yards, and short from 53.