Vikings offense will get boost with Peterson's debut

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 22, 2013 - 12:20 AM
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While the Vikings offense has sputtered in preseason play, Greg Jennings, right, takes comfort in knowing running back Adrian Peterson (28) will play this week.

Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com,

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Yes, wide receiver Greg Jennings was worried.

He was coming off the field during last week’s preseason loss in Buffalo, a game in which the Vikings’ first-team offense was erratic and unproductive, scoring only three points on five drives.

“I was saying, ‘Oh, my gosh, what are we doing?’ ” Jennings said. “Like, we are struggling. And then I saw this guy on the sideline that had this 28 jersey on and he wasn’t dressed and I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot. We don’t have a big part of our offense out here, who draws a lot of attention.’ ”

That would be running back Adrian Peterson, who will make his preseason debut Sunday in San Francisco. Jennings’ point was that concern over struggles by the offense should be tempered by the fact that the team’s best offensive weapon has yet to play.

Still, there is a lot of improvement to be made, Jennings said.

“It jumped out as we watched the film,” Jennings said. “Just being fundamentally sound. They definitely played faster than us. They got to the point of attack quicker than we did — I mean as a whole. Individually, there were definitely things I feel like I could have done better as far as precision in my route running, different things to help the quarterback. But, as a unit, we just got outplayed.”

The Vikings starters will play into the third quarter Sunday in the third of four preseason games, against a top-quality opponent.

Jennings, who signed with the Vikings as a free agent in March after seven years with the Packers, welcomes the extra playing time.

“This is a new system, a new quarterback, a new team chemistry,” he said. “So I need the work. I’ve got to feel comfortable in the offense in a game setting.”

Kalil returns

Still, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is looking for better offensive execution this week. And that starts with offensive line play. Left tackle Matt Kalil returned to practice after coming out of the Buffalo game because of a sore knee. Frazier said Kalil would play Sunday, and that the entire offensive front needs to be better.

“Especially when we’re going to be on the road, like we are in the opening game of the season, from a communication standpoint,” Frazier said. “That was one area where I felt we could have done a lot better, communicating some of the things we saw, and making sure we execute some of the things we have to get done, whether it be snapping the football back to the quarterback or identifying who the [middle] linebacker is in certain fronts. It should be better this week.”

Time enough to learn

In addition to working on his receiving skills, former quarterback Joe Webb also is striving to enhance his chance at a roster spot by becoming effective on special teams.

“It’s been a whole different training camp, a whole different roller coaster,” Webb said. “But I’m embracing the grind.”

But time is an adversary. Webb has to show his potential in the short time left before the start of the regular season.

“I don’t know if he’s comfortable in anything yet,” special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said.

Priefer said Webb would get even more special teams work against San Francisco. He will be asked to hold up gunners on the punt return team. He also will be on the kickoff coverage team and on kickoff return, where Webb will play on the front line. Priefer described Webb’s special teams performance as a “work in progress.”

“At the end of the day, we have to get ready to play Detroit on opening day,” he said. “But we know [Webb], we know the type of man he is, his high character and high work ethic, we know he’s going to improve. We have to keep that in mind as we go down this stretch here.”

Etc.

• Frazier described rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes’ performance in Buffalo — Rhodes’ NFL debut — as up and down. “He did some good things there, but there were some other things that, when we looked at the tape, that he’ll have to get better at as we approach the regular season,” Frazier said.

• Four players missed practice Wednesday. They were fullback Jerome Felton, who will be sidelined through the end of the preseason after an appendectomy last week; wide receiver Jarius Wright, whom Frazier said needed one more day to recover from a concussion sustained in Buffalo; rookie defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who had a minor procedure to relieve pain in his left knee; and offensive lineman Tyler Holmes, who sat because of an ankle injury.

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Buffalo 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
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
Texas
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
Stanford
(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
Minnesota
(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
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(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
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
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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 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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