Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Chat OT: Adrian Peterson's big day should have been even bigger

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Chad Greenway, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin Updated: September 12, 2012 - 7:36 AM

If you missed my live Vikings chat on Tuesday afternoon, you can check in here and read the back and forth in full. In addition, each week I will attempt to go overtime, bringing good questions that I didn’t get around to answering on the chat here to the Access Vikings blog for discussion. Here goes.

Q: How close was Adrian Peterson to delivering a 100-yard rushing effort?

A: Again, we’ve detailed in full how remarkable Peterson’s rapid recovery has been. And if you missed Jim Souhan’s column from after the game Sunday, I suggest you read it here. Let’s not forget that Peterson was stopped for a 4-yard loss on his final carry in overtime. Up to that point, he had picked up 88 yards on 16 carries. And his biggest run of the day, the 20-yard burst on the third play of overtime, almost went the distance. Probably should have too. In the locker room Monday afternoon, receiver Percy Harvin noted that Peterson was one block away from breaking into daylight. So I went back and looked at that run again and it seems safe to assume that had Stephen Burton held his block just a second longer on Will Middleton that Peterson could have closed the game with a 62-yard touchdown run. Imagine how crazy that would have been with Peterson finishing his day with 16 carries, 130 yards and three touchdowns.

Q: Were you surprised Percy Harvin was back on all seven of Jacksonville’s kickoffs.

A: For clarification purposes, Harvin wasn’t back for all seven kickoffs. In fact, Marcus Sherels was deep on the final kickoff of regulation with 20 seconds to play. Presumably, that was to keep Harvin fresh to run routes in the final 14 seconds. And for what it’s worth, he was likely Christian Ponder’s first option on the first down play that ended up being that 26-yard completion to Devin Aromashodu. But back to the original premise of the question. Yes, I was very surprised at all the work Harvin got on special teams and it’s an indication that coach Leslie Frazier was receptive to the pleas from both Harvin and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer to get Harvin as much return work as possible. Priefer, during his very first press conference in training camp, promised that Harvin was the No. 1 kick returner and would be used accordingly.

"I think we're going to have a good plan with Percy this year," Priefer said then. "He is our number one kickoff returner. When we have the opportunity to use him, we're going to use him.”

But I had to put an asterisk on those comments based on how cautious the Vikings were with Harvin late last season. Yes, Harvin was battling a shoulder injury that he eventually had offseason surgery for. And so the Vikings didn’t want to put him at too much risk on kickoffs. But there was also an understanding of just how valuable Harvin is to the offense, which was particularly evident in the games that Peterson missed or didn’t finish in 2011 due to injury. There were six of those contests during which Harvin saw very little work as a return man. I figured that with Peterson’s status iffy heading into the season opener and with receiver Jerome Simpson suspended for three games, the Vikings would do their best to preserve Harvin for offensive duties, not wanting to risk much on the high impact collisions of kickoff return. But I was wrong. They turned Harvin loose. And it’s worth noting that his final return Sunday was a pretty impressive 30-yarder in which he drove forward for nine extra yards after absorbing the first big hit.

Q: That last Christian Ponder to Kyle Rudolph incompletion late in the fourth quarter, what happened?

A: This was asked about during the chat and I’ve since had a chance to go back and watch the play several times. Indeed, Rudolph showed an uncharacteristic case of alligator arms, prematurely flinching as Jacksonville’s Dawan Landry closed in. This was one of those key miscues for the Vikings that gets brushed under the rug because of the final result. But going forward, the Vikings absolutely need to capitalize on plays like that. Yes, Rudolph had a wonderful game with five catches for 67 yards. But that missed opportunity came on a third-and-13 play with 5:43 to play and the Vikings trying to add to a 17-15 lead. A catch and the Vikings get first-and-goal at the Jacksonville 9 and may have been able to add a game-sealing touchdown. Instead, they settled for a 42-yard Blair Walsh field goal and let the Jags hang around.

Q: What were the worst moments that the replacement refs had in the opener?

A: Two stand out to me. First, the penalty that was called on Michael Jenkins on the Vikings’ final series of regulation was questionable. Jenkins was called for an illegal block below the waist against Landry when it seemed clear that he hit the Jacksonville defensive back near the midsection. Mark Craig details the disastrous ripple effect of that flag here. It’s also worth wondering just what the referees were thinking on the personal foul they called on Letroy Guion with 12:45 to play and the Vikings ahead 17-12. Sure, Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert may have already been sacked, tripped up by Erin Henderson. But initially it seemed hard to tell whether Henderson had grabbed Gabbert’s foot or whether the Jaguars quarterback had fallen on his own. Plus, there was no whistle. So when Guion fell on top of Gabbert, it drew a flag. And yet, even if you concede the flag itself, the refs improperly penalized the Vikings. Guion fell on Gabbert at the Jacksonville 33. The official ruling was a personal foul “after the play” for unnecessary roughness. Which should have put the Jaguars at their own 48. Instead, the 15 yards were marched off from the original line of scrimmage, moving the ball to the Minnesota 45 and costing the Vikings seven yards. Jacksonville wound up kicking a 47-yard field goal on that drive.

Q: Can you explain the coverage breakdown on Cecil Shorts’ touchdown with 20 seconds left?

A: Another question we tried to get to on the chat. But I’ve now gone back and looked at the play about a dozen times and still can’t figure out just what the Vikings’ hopes were there. It’s something I’d like to follow up on with Frazier and defensive coordinator Alan Williams this week. Jacksonville lined up for that play with four receivers. The Vikings had their nickel unit on the field with Chris Cook matched up with Shorts outside on the right side of the field and Josh Robinson with Laurent Robinson on the outside across the way. Chad Greenway was nearest Justin Blackmon, who was in the left slot. But Greenway clearly had zone responsibilities. Same goes for Antoine Winfield, who started the play nearest Mike Thomas but wound up with no receiver in his area. So what were the safety responsibilities? Mistral Raymond started the play at the Vikings 25 on the same side of the field as Shorts but never dropped any deeper, leaving Cook on an island. Which makes little sense for a team that has a five-point lead in the final half-minute. Why take the risk? Not to mention, it appeared Gabbert might have had Thomas open too. And if he had looked off Shorts, Blackmon may have been in the clear down the left hash as well. It was an unforgivable lapse by the defense that should be addressed somehow. I'm just not comfortable with how the Vikings chose to operate in that situation.


Atlanta 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Houston 6
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Miami 1
Baltimore 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Chicago Cubs 6 FINAL
San Francisco 8
Los Angeles 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
San Diego 4 FINAL
Seattle 9
Cleveland 9 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
Milwaukee 2 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Texas 4 FINAL
Kansas City 5
Colorado 3 FINAL
Arizona 4
Washington 5
Boston 8 FINAL
Minnesota 9
Toronto 0 FINAL
Baltimore 5
Oklahoma City 105 FINAL
Chicago 108
Dallas 75 FINAL
Portland 94
Calgary 4 FINAL(SO)
Boston 3
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Philadelphia 3
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Washington 1
Toronto 2 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Dallas 4 FINAL(SO)
Florida 3
NY Islanders 4 FINAL
Nashville 3
Vancouver 2 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 3
Montreal 3 FINAL(SO)
Los Angeles 4
Morgan State 76 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 89
Niagara 54 FINAL
Siena 71
Holy Cross 83 FINAL
Bucknell 90
Western Ky 88 FINAL
Charlotte 84
Navy 62 FINAL
Colgate 72
Temple 70 FINAL
East Carolina 56
Fla Atlantic 62
Boston Univ 64 FINAL
Lafayette 89
American Univ 68 FINAL
Lehigh 62
Wisconsin 76 FINAL
Minnesota 63
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Saint Peters 63
Arkansas 78 FINAL
South Carolina 74
Morehead State 76 FINAL
UT Martin 65
USC Upstate 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 62
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
North Florida 71
Southern Ill 55 FINAL
Missouri State 48
Texas State 64 FINAL
Appalachian St 67
SC State 62 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 72
Delaware State 104 FINAL
Coppin State 92
Middle Tennessee 54 FINAL
FIU 59
Texas-Arlington 64 FINAL
Ga Southern 76
Norfolk State 80 FINAL
Hampton 69
NC Central 69
Savannah State 57 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Southern Miss 61 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 72
Marshall 50 FINAL
Old Dominion 67
Rice 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 74
South Alabama 81 FINAL
Arkansas State 76
Alabama State 78 FINAL
Grambling St 46
Alabama A&M 54 FINAL
Jackson State 72
Sam Houston St 67 FINAL
Lamar 61
Georgia State 58 FINAL
ULM 50
Central Arkansas 70 FINAL
Nicholls 77
Portland State 51 FINAL
Northern Ariz 58
Southern U 77 FINAL
Prairie View 73
Alcorn State 73 FINAL
Texas Southern 94
Houston Baptist 72 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 85
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Louisiana 75
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
New Orleans 85
California 60 FINAL
Arizona 99
Memphis 54 FINAL
Connecticut 53
VA Commonwealth 55 FINAL
Davidson 82
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Sacramento St 65 FINAL
Southern Utah 69
Northwestern St 66 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 92
North Texas 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 83
Colorado 64 FINAL
Washington 47
Idaho 63 FINAL
Weber State 74
Abilene Christian 52 FINAL
Incarnate Word 64
Eastern Wash 85 FINAL
Idaho State 81
Marist 80 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Eastern Ill 64 FINAL
Belmont 97
Bradley 52 FINAL
Drake 50
Cal State Fullerton 62 FINAL
UC Irvine 68
CS-Northridge 58 FINAL
Long Beach State 69
UC Riverside 59 FINAL
UC Davis 61
Stanford 62 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Utah 67 FINAL
Washington St 59
Monmouth 68 FINAL
Canisius 56
Wake Forest 85 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 79
Saint Louis 65 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 58
Saint Peters 62 FINAL
Rider 54
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
Liberty 59
UNC Greensboro 44 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 78
Michigan State 69 FINAL
Michigan 49
Arkansas 72 FINAL
Ole Miss 61
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Niagara 57
Massachusetts 63 FINAL
Richmond 67
Virginia 52 FINAL
Miami-Florida 62
Jacksonville St 45 FINAL
Belmont 55
Morgan State 65 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 50
Campbell 65 FINAL
Winthrop 52
Furman 65 FINAL
Samford 54
Oregon 64 FINAL
Washington St 66
Indiana 52 FINAL
(23) Rutgers 63
Pepperdine 67 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 68
Auburn 47 FINAL
(18) Texas A&M 57
Morehead St 66 FINAL
Tennessee St 81
George Mason 43 FINAL
Saint Josephs 71
Western Carolina 53 FINAL
East Tenn St 73
Arizona 62 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 79
Texas State 55 FINAL
Appalachian St 61
TX-Arlington 66 FINAL
Georgia Southern 41
SC State 57 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 56
Delaware State 51 FINAL
Coppin State 80
Portland 58 FINAL
Santa Clara 66
Norfolk State 49 FINAL
Hampton 64
Florida Atlantic 56 FINAL
UAB 59
NC Central 46
Savannah State 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 51
Virginia Tech 51 FINAL
Pittsburgh 45
Central Arkansas 43 FINAL
Nicholls 53
Houston Baptist 48 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 73
Gardner-Webb 70 FINAL
Radford 56
Georgia 75 FINAL
Missouri 64
Old Dominion 67 FINAL
Marshall 55
Ark-Little Rock 68 FINAL
Louisiana 66
South Alabama 60 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
Georgia State 66 FINAL
ULM 61
Sam Houston St 73 FINAL
Lamar 92
SE Louisiana 75 FINAL
New Orleans 84
Northwestern St 45 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 56
Alabama A&M 58 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Alabama State 68 FINAL
Grambling 62
Southern U 78 FINAL
Prairie View 50
Alcorn State 55 FINAL
Texas Southern 73
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Wofford 54 FINAL
Mercer 75
Abilene Christian 72 FINAL
Incarnate Word 62
La Salle 60 FINAL
Rhode Island 65
Illinois 71 FINAL
Nebraska 86
TX-San Antonio 60 FINAL
Rice 49
Valparaiso 55 FINAL
Oakland 70
Missouri State 65 FINAL
Indiana State 56
Georgia Tech 64 FINAL
(15) North Carolina 84
Charlotte 72 FINAL
Western Ky 80
Texas-El Paso 69 FINAL
North Texas 61
Wichita State 77 FINAL
Evansville 63
Loyola-Chicago 64 FINAL
Northern Iowa 69
Bradley 70 FINAL
Drake 86
Presbyterian 62 FINAL
High Point 75
Vanderbilt 61 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 67
Colorado 75 FINAL
USC 63
San Francisco 74 FINAL
Pacific 64
Idaho State 58 FINAL
Eastern Washington 62
Weber State 42 FINAL
Idaho 71
Purdue 78 FINAL
Minnesota 82
Cal-Irvine 54 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 66
Long Beach St 60 FINAL
CS-Northridge 77
Hawaii 60 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 36
UC Davis 56 FINAL
UC-Riverside 61
Northern Ariz 79 FINAL
Portland State 62
Southern Utah 73 FINAL
Sacramento St 107
Utah 64 FINAL
Washington 75
St Marys-CA 64


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