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.


Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 34 FINAL
Atlanta 3
Detroit 20 FINAL
Green Bay 30
Oakland 14 FINAL
Denver 47
Arizona 17 FINAL
San Francisco 20
St. Louis 6 FINAL
Seattle 20
Cincinnati 16 4th Qtr 11:14
Pittsburgh 20
Arizona 1/3/15 3:35 PM
TBA 1/3/15 7:15 PM
Detroit 103 FINAL
Cleveland 80
Houston 106 FINAL
San Antonio 110
Oklahoma City 107 FINAL
Dallas 112
New York 65 4th Qtr 6:17
Portland 86
Toronto 88 4th Qtr
Denver 87
Phoenix 57 3rd Qtr 10:13
LA Lakers 61
Toronto 4 FINAL
Florida 6
Vancouver 1 FINAL(OT)
Anaheim 2
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 46 FINAL
Arizona State 56
Longwood 64 FINAL
Ball State 69
Sacred Heart 76 FINAL
Brown 79
Colgate 64 FINAL
Columbia 69
MD-Eastern Shore 78 FINAL
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 50 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Marist 64 FINAL
Elon 69
Lafayette 76
Cincinnati Christian 58 FINAL
Liberty 78
Morgan State 53 FINAL
Marquette 81
Campbell 56 FINAL
Samford 65
Bucknell 71 FINAL
Siena 73
Long Beach State 67 FINAL
Syracuse 85
Coppin State 80 FINAL
Evansville 85
Indiana State 70
Hofstra 88 FINAL
Long Island 62
Coast Guard 48 FINAL
Army 93
Thomas (GA) 48 FINAL
High Point 85
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Kansas State 56
Rutgers 59 FINAL
Monmouth 58
NC Wesleyan 54 FINAL
NC A&T 58
South Dakota St 63 FINAL
Northern Iowa 74
Central Penn College 69 FINAL
Radford 119
Bowling Green 79 FINAL
South Florida 70
Harris-Stowe 66 FINAL
SE Missouri St 94
Robert Morris-IL 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 104
Northland College 59 FINAL
North Dakota St 83
Milwaukee 60 FINAL
South Dakota 84
Northwestern St 92 FINAL
Arkansas 100
Saint Peters 59 FINAL
Cornell 52
St Katherine 62 FINAL
Fresno State 93
Haskell 42 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Richmond 63
Fla Gulf Coast 57 FINAL
Xavier 71
SD Christian 45 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Judson 46 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 80
Ill-Chicago 60 FINAL
Bradley 68
Loyola-Maryland 61 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Miss Valley St 53 FINAL
Houston 80
Lehigh 58 FINAL
Delaware State 56 FINAL
Temple 66
Belmont 56 FINAL
Butler 67
Howard 59 FINAL
Fordham 74
NW Christian 67 FINAL
Nevada 81
UC Davis 83 FINAL
Washington St 90
Abilene Christian 81 FINAL
Grand Canyon 83
Alabama 56
Stony Brook 62 FINAL
Washington 57
Buffalo 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
CS-Bakersfield 30 2nd Half
California 20
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
St Francis-PA 59 FINAL
Pittsburgh 97
Milwaukee 72 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 78
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Longwood 63
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Bucknell 68 FINAL
Binghamton 57
Northeastern 70 FINAL
Albany 67
George Mason 70 FINAL
Towson 72
Richmond 59 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Tulane 60 FINAL
Cincinnati 50
North Florida 51 FINAL
Florida 63
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
Tennessee St 75 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 87
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 78 FINAL
Boston U 57
Quinnipiac 69 FINAL
Saint Josephs 67
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Northwestern 61 FINAL
(20) Michigan State 57
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Indiana 51
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
Western Mich 55 FINAL
Stony Brook 59
Davidson 67 FINAL
Virginia 57
UNC Greensboro 61 FINAL
LSU 82
Denver 63 FINAL
North Texas 55
VA Commonwealth 63 FINAL
Coppin State 52
Huston-Tillotson 36 FINAL
Houston Baptist 86
Lamar 63 FINAL
Rice 97
Miss Valley St 40 FINAL
Alabama 71
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 49
Middle Tennessee 98 FINAL
Tenn Tech 76
Penn State 52 FINAL
(23) Iowa 77
Purdue 62 FINAL
Illinois 55
DePaul 99 FINAL
Illinois State 62
Sam Houston St 46 FINAL
Wichita State 70
South Dakota 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
(4) Notre Dame 82 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
SC State 60
Alcorn State 53 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 63
Dartmouth 76 FINAL
Niagara 70
Colgate 68 FINAL
Siena 80
Michigan 53 FINAL
Wisconsin 63
Fla Gulf Coast 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 64
Yale 51 FINAL
(25) Arizona State 69
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
(16) Stanford 90
Long Island 63 FINAL
Long Beach St 71
Jackson State 56 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Eureka 50 FINAL
Western Ill 91
Cornell 59 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 76
Temple 58 FINAL
Memphis 57


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