Hartman: Wilson impresses as an NFL QB, too

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 4, 2012 - 11:58 PM

After torching the Gophers last year for Wisconsin, Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes against the Vikings.

hide

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson (3) evaded the grasp of Vikings defensive end Jared Allen in the third quarter. Seattle beat Minnesota 30-20.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Russell Wilson had a big game at quarterback against a Minnesota football team for the second year in a row.

Playing for Wisconsin last Nov. 12, the transfer from North Carolina State completed 16 of 17 passes for 178 yards and four touchdowns in the Badgers' 42-13 victory over the Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium.

And Sunday as a rookie starting his ninth NFL game, Wilson completed 16 of 24 passes for 173 yards, three touchdowns and a fantastic 127.3 rating as the host Seattle Seahawks dominated the Vikings to the tune of 30-20.

If it wasn't for former Vikings coach Bud Grant, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll might have taken a pass on selecting Wilson, a third-round draft pick. Some members of the Seahawks staff were of the opinion that Wilson -- listed at 5-11 -- was too short to play in the NFL.

Carroll, who was on the Vikings staff as an assistant coach from 1985 to 1989 before being named defensive coordinator for the New York Jets, consults with Grant on a regular basis. One of the subjects Carroll called Grant about was whether or not the team should select Wilson based on his height.

Well, Grant pointed out that Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, who took the Vikings to three Super Bowls and holds most of the franchise's passing records, was only 5-11.

And Wilson, who can cause a lot of trouble running the ball, again showed he is a capable NFL passer Sunday. The Vikings had no defense for him and the Seahawks, as the home team piled up 385 yards of offense to the Vikings' 287.

One-man offense

It wasn't a good day for the Vikings offense outside of Adrian Peterson. The running back gained more than two-thirds of the Vikings' yards (182 rushing, 11 receiving). The rest of the team had 94 yards.

Peterson and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch are 1-2 in the NFL in rushing, with Peterson at 957 yards and Lynch at 881. Sunday, Peterson won the individual matchup, rushing 17 times for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Lynch was a workhorse, carrying 26 times for 124 yards and one score.

While the Vikings had no defense overall for the Seahawks passing game and the three touchdowns they scored, what killed them as much as anything was that the defense couldn't get off the field. Seattle had the ball 36 minutes to the Vikings' 24. In the fourth quarter, when the Vikings were still in the game, Seattle maintained possession for 12 minutes, 10 seconds.

It's pretty tough to make a comeback under those circumstances.

You can blame the quarterback, but Christian Ponder, who did get banged up early in this game, can't do anything if he and the offense can't get on the field.

And unfortunately for the Vikings, they also lost on a day when the Bears, Lions and Packers all won.

Opposite game for U

After looking at the film of the Gophers' 35-13 home loss to Michigan from Saturday, coach Jerry Kill concluded that what happened was the complete opposite of the previous week's victory over Purdue.

"We made all the plays a week ago. And against Michigan, they made the plays and we didn't. That's as simple as it gets," Kill said.

Kill said Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner -- who up until Saturday had been a wide receiver this season -- is a lot like the Gophers' MarQueis Gray in that he can play both wide receiver and quarterback and that he was able to make some plays with his feet.

"[Gardner] did a good job," Kill said. "I'm sure [Michigan starting QB] Denard [Robinson] would have been a difference for them. And [Gophers receiver A.J.] Barker would have been a difference." Both Robinson and Barker were sidelined by injuries for Saturday's game.

"We moved the ball. That defense is a very good defense. I think we only punted three times," Kill said. "We moved the ball, but they were great [defending] inside the red zone. They're stiff in there."

Then, referring to the failed fake field goal the Gophers tried, Kill said: "That's why you wanted to try anything you could do to get in there. They want you to kick field goals. We knew we had to get into the end zone to win the game. We just didn't get into the end zone. Like I said, they threw it up into double coverage and caught the ball. We did that a week ago, we couldn't do it this week."

Incidentally, ESPNU was here over the weekend and will feature the Little Brown Jug for its "Road Trip" show at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Offensive line young

Addressing the young roster the Gophers have, Kill said: "I think we're probably one of the younger teams in the country, to be honest with you. Our kids are playing hard. The good teams -- Nebraska, they found a way to make a play. Notre Dame, the guy misses a field goal for Pittsburgh.

"I think it's part of youth, it's part of paying your dues. You're going to have some up and down times. But as far as the effort the kids are giving, I can't complain about that. As we get older, we're going to get better. We'll get better this week. I know the kids will come back and work."

There is no doubt where the Gophers are hurting as far as youth goes is the offensive line, where four of the more experienced starters are missing, including brothers Ed and Tommy Olson, the left tackle and guard, respectively. The Gophers' patchwork offensive line had to go against a Michigan defensive line that started two seniors, a junior and a sophomore.

The Gophers had at center redshirt freshman Jon Christenson, their third starting center this year. They also started three redshirt sophomores -- Marek Lenkiewicz at left tackle, Zac Epping at left guard and Caleb Bak at right guard. Epping also has started at right guard and center this year. Only right tackle Josh Campion, another redshirt freshman, has started every game at the same position on the offensive line. Bak and Christenson are walk-ons.

However, one positive from all this is that Christenson has played so well that he might be the starter at center for years to come.

It will be difficult for the Gophers to beat such teams as Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State with the offensive line as inexperienced as it is.

But the Gophers should have a chance to beat Illinois, the worst team in the Big Ten, this weekend. And that would be big for the program, because the Gophers would qualify for a bowl and thus also get 15 extra days of practice for a squad that has only eight seniors playing.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Houston
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Colorado 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Carolina
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Montreal
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 11:30 AM
Rice
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Canisius
Temple 6:00 PM
Delaware
FIU 6:00 PM
Long Island
Lehigh 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Richmond
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
South Florida
Ga Southern 6:00 PM
Stetson
Yale 6:00 PM
Vermont
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Virginia
Wright State 6:00 PM
Western Carolina
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Morgan State 6:30 PM
Rider
Idaho State 6:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oakland City 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Eureka 7:00 PM
Bradley
Appalachian St 7:00 PM
Charlotte
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Duke
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Coastal Carolina 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Montana State 7:30 PM
South Dakota
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 10:00 AM
Cleveland State
High Point 10:00 AM
VA Commonwealth
Towson 10:30 AM
Wake Forest
Presbyterian 11:00 AM
Charlotte
Chicago State 11:00 AM
Bradley
Northwestern Coll 11:05 AM
Drake
Vanderbilt 12:00 PM
Marquette
Temple 4:00 PM
Howard
Southern Miss 4:00 PM
Ole Miss
UMBC 4:00 PM
Rider
Miami-Florida 5:00 PM
UCLA
St Mary-KS 5:00 PM
South Dakota
William & Mary 5:00 PM
Wofford
Troy 5:30 PM
Evansville
Loyola Marymount 6:00 PM
USC
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
Indiana-Southeast 6:00 PM
IUPUI
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Tenn Temple 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
West Virginia St 6:00 PM
Radford
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Ball State 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Trine 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Tenn Tech 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Samford 7:00 PM
Tulane
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Ark-Little Rock 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
CS-Northridge 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close