Week 8: Scouting the Vikings

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 25, 2011 - 9:44 PM
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Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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A snapshot look at the Vikings as they prepare for Sunday's game in Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers:

Players in the spotlight

Michael Jenkins (top) and Devin Aromashodu. Yep, the Vikings receiving corps is in disarray right now. Bernard Berrian's departure coupled with the ongoing struggles Percy Harvin is having with sore ribs might leave Jenkins and Aromashodu as the Vikings' top targets Sunday. Jenkins delivered in a big way Sunday against Green Bay with a 72-yard reception on the game's opening play and a 24-yard touchdown grab in the fourth quarter. Jenkins' 111 receiving yards were a career best. It also will be interesting to learn Wednesday what coach Leslie Frazier expects out of rookie Stephen Burton, promoted from the practice squad Tuesday to fill the roster opening created by Berrian's exit. Burton was elevated ahead of fellow rookie Emmanuel Arceneaux, a former standout in the Canadian Football League.

Most pressing question

Where are the biggest injury worries this week? If Anthony Herrera's knee injury is season-ending, Brandon Fusco will get the call at right guard. Fusco was drafted in the sixth round last April out of Slippery Rock and saw significant action after halftime Sunday when Herrera went down. The initial feedback from coaches has been positive.

"They seemed pretty proud of me," Fusco said. "I did a great job I thought. Held my own and did my job."

Defensively, cornerback Antoine Winfield has missed the past three games because of a neck injury and might be wise in weighing a risk-reward scenario of how quickly to dive back into action for a team going nowhere. Without both Winfield and Chris Cook, whose off-the-field saga grew far more troubling Tuesday with a felony domestic assault charge brought against him, the secondary lacks any semblance of quality depth.

Keep and eye on ...

Quarterback Christian Ponder sure seemed calm and confident in his first start. That came at home. Now, we'll see how he reacts to making his first road start. The Vikings coaching staff insists it hasn't had to abbreviate the playbook for Ponder, a point they delivered by allowing the rookie to throw long on his first pass versus the Packers. "This decision wasn't made to start grooming him for 2012," Frazier said after the game. "It was to win against Green Bay. So let's not pull back and say, 'Let's baby feed him until he gets better around Week 11 or 12.' You could see from that first offensive play that Bill [Musgrave] and the offensive staff listened. We kept our playbook open."

Scouting the Panthers

Never before has a 2-5 team carried such overwhelming optimism. But that's what rookie quarterback Cam Newton has provided, quickly becoming the mayor of Charlotte as he emerges as a potential NFL star. Newton has passed for 2,103 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 266 yards and seven scores. Plus, he's playing with a swagger rarely seen in a rookie quarterback. Just ask Jimmy Clausen. Still, the Panthers are three games behind New Orleans in the NFC South for reasons, the biggest being a porous defense. With linebackers Jon Beason (torn Achilles' tendon) and Thomas Davis (torn ACL) both out for the season, the Panthers have had little success stopping the run. They rank 29th in the NFL, allowing 133.4 rushing yards per game.

True or false

The Vikings are getting acceptable production from their starting defensive tackles? False.

Remi Ayodele was signed to a lucrative three-year deal in July. Through seven games, he has one tackle. Beside him, Kevin Williams is struggling through a down year of his own, made even worse late in the fourth quarter Sunday when his inability to stay in his gaps enabled the Packers to gain 55 rushing yards on the game's final possession. Said Frazier: "We had some people get a little bit overanxious, got out of their gap and [the Packers] ended up creasing some runs that they had tried earlier in the game and had no success with. We didn't handle that moment very well."

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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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