Vikings didn't need to blitz

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 22, 2012 - 10:14 PM

Minnesota didn't need more than four pass rushers all day against Arizona.

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. Cardinals' quarterback John Skelton was sacked for a nine yard loss by the Vikings' Brian Robison in the fourth quarter.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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The Vikings had seven sacks in Sunday's 21-14 victory over Arizona, and did it without blitzing at all.

Defensive ends Brian Robison (three) and Jared Allen (two) led the sack dance, with defensive tackle Kevin Williams and cornerback Antoine Winfield getting one apiece.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said not having to blitz allowed the rest of the defense to concentrate on slowing receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr., who wound up with just four catches.

"In the past we probably would have mixed in a little more pressure than we did," Frazier said. "That was our goal, to go into this game and be able to generate a pass rush without having to bring five or six guys, and our D-line stepped up to the challenge. They dominated just like we hoped they would and really took a lot of pressure off our secondary."

The Vikings, who led the league in sacks last season, have 22 this year, two behind NFL-leading Green Bay.

Blair honored

Matt Blair, who was named to six consecutive Pro Bowls as a linebacker during his 12 seasons with the Vikings (1974-85) will go into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime Thursday night when the Vikings play host to Tampa Bay.

"It's very humbling to be put in with great players -- the Tarkentons, the Ellers, the Carters, the Marshalls, the Grants, those guys are just legendary,'' Blair said Monday.

Frazier said Blair gave the Vikings an inspirational speech before training camp started.

"He talked to players about visualizing success," Frazier said of Blair. "And he talked to them about not getting caught up in the past but just focusing on the moment. And that really was something that was a part of our approach with our team."

Blair's message was about players putting all their emphasis on preparation so that execution becomes nearly second nature.

"It takes your entire heart to make it happen," Blair said.

Blair is the 20th member of the Ring of Honor.

Smith walks line

Vikings safety Harrison Smith is learning how to play aggressively without going over the line and incurring the discipline he's dealt with this season.

"That's just how I've always tried to be on and off the field," Smith said. "Just learn from your mistakes, but at the end of the day, I'm not going to try to slow down my play or play softer. I'm just going to try and play within the rules and play at a high tempo."

Smith has been fined twice -- $21,000 for a preseason hit, then $15,750 for a horse-collar tackle last week -- and was ejected from another game for manhandling a referee. On Sunday, he turned his first career interception into his first touchdown.

"Sometimes when you get fined as often as he's gotten fined in these first seven games, it can tip your emotions and make you start playing a little tentatively," Frazier said. "That hasn't been the case with him. He's been aggressive. He's still in tune with everything we're trying to get done. He doesn't seem to be sidetracked by anything that happened. ... He's a bright guy, and very, very athletic. But his maturity, not letting stuff hang onto him that can be negative, it's impressive."

Tough turnaround

Frazier was asked if the short turn-around time between Sunday's victory and Thursday's game with Tampa Bay put players at further risk for injury.

"Touchy area, there," he said. "That's a bigger call than Coach Frazier standing here at the podium. We do what we're told to do. We got a game on Thursday night, we've got to get prepared to play that game."

The players had Monday off, will have a full practice Tuesday and then a walk-through Wednesday.

Tight end John Carlson (concussion) is not likely to play Thursday. Monday's injury report included cornerback Antoine Winfield (knee), offensive tackle Matt Kalil (back), running back Adrian Peterson (ankle) and Allen (groin) as players who would not have participated if the team had practiced.

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