Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings special teams make their mark

Posted by: under Vikings, Brad Childress, Vikings players, Brad Childress, Chris Kluwe, Heath Farwell, Percy Harvin, Vikings special teams Updated: October 19, 2010 - 10:53 AM

We wrote about the job Vikings punter Chris Kluwe did in a 24-21 victory against the Dallas Cowboys in this story today but the team got big contributions from all the special teams units.

Kluwe was able to flip field position several times by placing four of his five punts inside the 20, including one at the 4-yard line with the scored tied in the third quarter.

Percy Harvin obviously had the play of the game with his 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half. That tied the score at 14-14 and gave the Vikings some much-needed energy on the sideline.

The kickoff coverage unit also did a good job by holding the Cowboys to an average of 16.2 yards on five returns.

On that note, the Cowboys had an interesting game plan for Vikings Pro Bowl special teams player Heath Farwell on kickoffs. Usually the blockers on the receiving team retreat when the ball is kicked to set up the return before engaging the players running down the field.

Dallas used a different strategy with Farwell. As soon as the ball was kicked, two Dallas players ran directly at him. The first guy would hit Farwell and the second guy was waiting to help if he got free. Farwell joked that he "might have made it to the 40-yard line. Maybe."

"The only thing you can do is try and split the double team but it's hard because they were following you all up and down the field," Farwell said. "When you get off one, the other one is waiting for you."

Vikings coach Brad Childress said it's not uncommon for teams to target certain players but Farwell said he's never had a team run directly at him with a double team as soon as the ball is kicked.

"I've been doubled before, but I've never seen anything like that," Farwell said. "It was a new scheme. I guess they wanted to eliminate me. But the other guys were making some plays so I'll take that and a win any day."

Farwell got to know the Dallas coaching staff at the Pro Bowl last winter. One of their coaches told him during early warmups Sunday that the team had a special plan for him.

"I kind of figured it would be a double team of some sort," Farwell said. "But didn't expect that obviously. After a while you kind of had to laugh about it. That was their plan. But our guys played well. If it frees them up and they make plays, it's worth it."

 

 

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