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Vikings special teams live up to the moniker

 
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tdub


Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 14858
Location: Buckhead, GA
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:09 pm    Post subject: Vikings special teams live up to the moniker Reply with quote

One thing I've enjoyed most about the team this year is the improved play in facets of the game that most Vikings fans aren't quite used too. The pass defense has been improved big time, compared to the past decade and a half save for maybe a season or two of competency tossed in between. The They're getting competent QB play from one under 25. The team isn't missing a ton of tackles (RG!!! run aside) and the team hasn't been heavily penalized which usually is an indicator of quality coaching.

The thing that stands out the most so far though is the play of the Vikings special teams. A combination of a calculated risk in forgoing trusty but fading Ryan Longwell for a rookie kicker, and stand out play from some special teams veterans has this unit playing a big role in the team's 4-2 start.

They have one of the best players in the league returning kicks for them. Percy Harvin is on the short list of MVP candidates that don't play QB. He's returned five in his career, and one this season. Because of him, the Vikings currently enjoy some of the best field position in the league, as they lead the league in return yardage. At 30.7, they are over a yard higher then the second best team.

In the punting game, they are in the top five in average return, and are one of seven teams to take a kick back to the house. Kluwe has been about average this year, down for him but still competent overall.

As for the kicking game, Blair Walsh has been one of Spielman's best picks in a draft that he really nailed in a offseason where that was an absolutely necessity. He's 16/17, 6/7 from 40+ including perfect from 50+. He leads the league in touchbacks, giving the defense advantageous field position. This is to the Vikings benefit as they give up the most per return, albeit in the smallest sample size.

Overall, Walsh and Harvin especially have been home runs in a facet of the game that has been largely steady, but never spectacular over the past several seasons. Kudos to the front office for drafting Walsh, and the coaching staff for realizing the need to beef up Harvin's role.
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PurpleMugen


Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 4019
Location: Rutgers University
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel the same way. Special teams has been the nightmare phase of the game for our team for a while; in fact, at times, I'm still tempted to rub my eyes when I see our unit doing well in that facet now. I think having a gamebreaking kick returner boosts the confidence of the entire team; it seems like they all feel a rush of unique energy when Harvin fields a kickoff and prepares his attempt to slice through the coverage.
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HighHopes


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I remember it was ever since that Saints game where Bush got like 3 TDs on Punt Returns or something like that.

Just about every facet of the STs seems to be pretty dang good on the Vikings. I even like Sherels at PR. Not the most threatening, but similar to Kluwe. You feel fairly safe (or atleast I do) with it.
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Zephiel


Joined: 11 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just want to see us successfully execute some kind of gameplan against Devin Hester.

I can't be the only Vikings fan who cringes when we line up to punt against the Bears.
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vikingsrule


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kickoff team has been elite with Walsh blasting Kicks in to the endzone.

Walsh has been great with FGs.

Return game has been great with Harvin and Sherels.

Coverage units have been stellar outside of the 49ers game.

My only concern is Chris Kluwe, who has had a few bad games.
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