Hartman: Allen, Vikings simply take it week to week

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 7, 2012 - 11:44 PM

The defensive end said the lack of outside pressure has enabled the team to have great focus on game days.


Vikings defensive end Jared Allen rushed Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in the third quarter.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Jared Allen, who had another big day in rushing Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck while being double- and triple-teamed as the Vikings beat a terrible Tennessee team 30-7 on Sunday, afterward was trying to explain the big improvement in the defense over the past two years.

"If we get two more wins, we'll be better than 2010, right? We'll try to get Washington next week," Allen said.

"Guys are playing well. Like I said, from looking at the offseason to right now, I couldn't have told you we would be here. I thought one of the cool things was, it was really going to be a year that each game was truly going to mean something."

Allen said that once he arrived in Mankato for training camp, he had a better idea about what kind of team the Vikings had this season.

"You always say as a team that you want to win the division," he said. "But after I got to training camp, you could tell that guys were working. And young guys, credit to Coach [Leslie Frazier], he wasn't letting young guys be young. Does that make sense?

"There wasn't that excuse of, 'Oh we're young.' Then hats off to [Antoine Winfield] after the Colts game [which the Vikings lost 23-20], he recognized some things and he called it out the way it needed to be, talked about it. When a veteran like that stands up and kind of calls you to the carpet, to say that we need to pick it up, and then to have guys respond the way they have, it has been really good."

Regarding the media and fans' surprise at the Vikings' 4-1 record, Allen said: "Let them be surprised. There's no expectations for us except to go out and try to win one game at a time. As cliché as it is, it's almost better that way.

"We don't have the outside pressure, we don't have any of that. To be able to focus each week on your opponent and not focus on what's going on here or if we lose a game, home-field advantage might be out -- we're just trying to get enough wins to hopefully make the playoffs. We have a tough test on the road and we have to go perform."

Allen said that feeling of week-to-week expectations is what separates this squad from the great Vikings team of 2009, which went to the NFC Championship Game.

"In 2009, our front seven had been together for a while, I was the newcomer there. You had coach Frazier who was in his fourth or fifth year in the defense, so everything was really clicking. I guess [that year] you put in a game plan and you just expect guys will execute it. Now it's a thing where we have to work week in and week out, but the results are showing on the field."

Speaking about Percy Harvin, the Vikings receiver who scored two touchdowns Sunday, Allen said: "I think he's probably the best player, if not the best player in the NFL for what he does, minus the quarterback position -- I mean the dude, it's like watching 'Top Gun' out there, he's going to hit the brakes and watch them fly right by.

"You would think he's 260 pounds the way he runs the ball. It's just so much fun to watch him and Adrian [Peterson] play. I played with Dante Hall once and that's probably the closest comparison I can get to, only I think Percy is at a different level than that just as far as his ability and toughness to break tackles."

Yes, Allen is right, it's been a long time since a Vikings team surprised like this.

Improving every week

Christian Ponder wound up with a respectable 87.6 rating after throwing his first two interceptions on the year, but the second-year quarterback knows that compiling impressive statistics aren't the main objective.

"Obviously a win is a win against a team like the Titans," Ponder said. "We're trying to improve every week."

About the interceptions, Ponder said: "I threw two of them, so it's good to get that out of the way and now I don't have to worry about any streak. Interceptions can happen. The good thing is that they were bad throws and not poor decisions. I can get better at them and overcome them."

Ponder threw 10 passes at Harvin; he caught eight of them, for 108 yards and a touchdown.

"He's unbelievable, one of the best players in the league, and we're going to keep giving him the ball and he's going to keep making plays," Ponder said.

On the running game, Ponder said: "We ran the ball well. I think Adrian had a little under 90 yards [88] and the defense shut down Chris Johnson. This was a great team win. We're going to keep improving each week and take it one week at a time."

Praises rookie

Ponder also wanted to single out sixth-round draft choice Rhett Ellison, the tight end who made his first two NFL receptions Sunday, including one he broke off for a 29-yard gain, in addition to doing a great job on his blocking duties.

"He's a heck of a player, and he has really impressed us since he came in," said Ponder. "He's worked extremely hard. He played well at USC, and we're going to keep giving him the ball so he can make plays.

"He's a very good blocker. We usually use him in the run game, but he's athletic and can obviously make plays in the passing game as well."

Ponder also praised the offensive line, which once again kept the opposition from sacking him.

"They're playing extremely well right now. I think everyone can tell that they're a great group," he said. "They really jell together and I have all day back there to throw the ball. They're really helping me out, for sure."

Still Ponder didn't want to take credit for accomplishing anything to date, despite the Vikings 4-1 record.

"Our goal is to go to the Super Bowl, but it's the NFL," he said. "We have to take it one week at a time. We haven't accomplished anything yet. We're going to continue to try to string these wins together and take it week to week."

No alibis from Hutch

Someone you had to feel sorry for was former Vikings star Steve Hutchinson, who had to wind up on maybe the worst team in the NFL and face his old teammates when the Vikings defensive line is playing at a very high level.

"It was so tough out there," said the Titans guard, who exchanged greetings with former teammates before and after the game.

Hutchinson is a first-class football player and a first-class guy, but he is playing with an offensive line that simply could not compete against a dominant defensive line like the one the Vikings put out there Sunday. That much was apparent in the boxscore, with the Titans securing only five first downs through the first three quarters of the game.

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


NY Yankees - LP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 4
Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett 5 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 6
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Hughes 2
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 8 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 12
Boston - WP: C. Buchholz 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 0
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 6
Texas - LP: N. Cotts 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Veras 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: C. Villanueva 6 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: P. Neshek 9
Oakland - LP: S. Kazmir 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Milwaukee - LP: K. Lohse 5 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 15
Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu 7 FINAL
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 1
Washington - LP: T. Roark 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 5
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: C. Anderson 6
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 0 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 1
Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Red Bull New York 0 FINAL
D.C. 2
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
Chivas USA 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12:00 PM
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Phoenix 77 FINAL
Minnesota 82
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



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 Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
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




question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question