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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives

    [size=13pt]Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives[/size]

    By Eric Krupka on October 12, 2006 01:44 AM
    realfootball365.com


    After five games of the 2006 regular season, it's safe to say the Minnesota Vikings ' offense, for the most part, has experienced difficulty scoring points. However, in each of the five contests, the offense has managed to put points on the board on its opening drive, while sputtering throughout the second and third quarters of games.

    Which brings us to the two big questions: What are they doing right on the first drive? And why can't they continue to do these positive things throughout the game?

    Head coach Brad Childress has a knack for being able to break down film on an opposing defense and orchestrate the perfect game plan to attack it--at least for one series. The offensive guru and Vikings play caller scripts the team's first 15 offensive plays each week. And taking a look at the results so far, while his offense as a whole hasn't lived up to the expectations of most, on the opening series, nobody has stopped it.

    Week 1 @ Washington

    Plays Run Pass Yards Time End Result
    10 5 5 80 4:55 Taylor 4-yard TD run

    Yards: Rush Pass
    15 70

    Week 2 vs. Carolina

    Plays Run Pass Yards Time End Result
    11 7 3 63 6:32 Longwell 26-yard FG

    Yards: Rush Pass
    24 43

    Week 3 vs. Chicago

    Plays Run Pass Yards Time End Result
    8 3 4 68 4:11 Longwell 31-yard FG

    Yards: Rush Pass
    8 60

    Week 4 @ Buffalo

    Plays Run Pass Yards Time End Result
    12 5 6 61 6:20 Longwell 37-Yard FG

    Yards: Rush Pass
    18 48

    Week 5 vs. Detroit

    Plays Run Pass Yards Time End Result
    10 5 4 72 6:48 Longwell 26-yard FG

    Yards: Rush Pass
    45 37

    Looking at the drive charts, and watching the plays, it's obvious there is a lot of things the offense is doing correct. For one, there is tremendous balance with the play calling. The run-to-pass ratio is nearly one to one, with the Vikings running the ball 25 times compared to 22 pass plays.

    Secondly, running back Chester Taylor is averaging 4.48 yards per carry (21 carries for 94 yards), which is more than a half-yard (.68) greater than his 3.8 yards per carry on the season.

    Thirdly, and probably most importantly, is quarterback Brad Johnson. The 37-year-old has come under scrutiny of late for a fairly low 78.3 passer rating, but he's been nearly flawless on first drives. The veteran signal caller is completing 68% of his passes on opening drives (15-of-22) for 258 yards, no turnovers and an incredible 118.75 rating.

    The only thing really holding the offense back from putting up more than the 18 points it has in its opening series are penalties. The offense has been flagged five times in opening drives, three in the red zone, for 40 yards.

    In Week 2, right guard Artis Hicks was called for holding at the Panthers' 7-yard line, negating a 6-yard run by running back Chester Taylor that would have been second-and-goal from the 1 instead of first-and-goal from the 17. Although you can't assume a touchdown, it's hard to argue that the flag didn't cost the Vikings four points.

    In Week 4, wide receiver Travis Taylor drew a flag for ostensibly pushing off a Bills linebacker trying to cover him. The replay showed no such contact; but nonetheless, the 10-yard penalty at the Bills' 18 cost the Vikings a first-and-10 from the 13, and instead made it third-and-14 from the 28. One play later they settled for a field goal. Again, it's tough to say if the penalty actually took any points off the board, but the Bills' defense was reeling, and it's debatable that Johnson and company could have capped off the drive with a touchdown.

    Then just this past Sunday, a holding penalty by left tackle Bryant McKinnie at the 10-yard line moved the Vikings' offense back 10 yards. However, by committing the infraction, the Vikings' lineman might have saved his quarterback from taking a big hit.

    Now onto Part Two: Why can't the offense sustain the success from its first opportunities? The answer is hazy at best with different components. For starters, the unit has played against four solid defenses that have made in-game adjustments. Also, the wide receivers, namely Troy Williamson, have dropped passes that have stymied drives, and a few balls that were dropped could have been possible touchdowns.

    The offense has gone flat in games for mainly the above two reasons, combined with a propensity to commit penalties. After the bye week, if the receivers start making the plays they should, and the penalty problem that has plagued the offense, especially inside the red zone, exits, it should become more productive, helping out a defense that has done more than its share in earning a 3-2 record at the break.

    Can the Vikings' offense go six-for-six in opening drive scores this season? It will be a tough task on the road against the Seattle Seahawks . Given an extra week to study the Seahawks' defensive tendencies, I'll put my money on Childress to get his offense rolling early again.

    -Eric Krupka is a senior writer for RealFootball365.com He responds to readers' email daily and can be reached at [email protected]

    Score on the opening drive with the Minnesota Vikings at RealFootball365.com

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  2. #2
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives

    No doubt it is a sore spot.

    We are like the second most penalized team in the NFL on offense. We have given up like 300+ yards in offensive penalties. It bogs everyone down a bit.

  3. #3
    CynicalVike is offline Starter
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    Re: Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives

    One thing I've noticed is that yes, we do good with our opening drives, but after that it seems we always give up a yard or two on all our 1st down plays in the following drives which is leaving us looking at 2nd and long way too many times.

    I don't know if the O line is missing assignments, or if after the opening drives the opposing team has been able to make effective adjustments to our blocking scheme and are able to beat us? ???

    Whatever it is, I'd like to see us make the needed adjustments sometime before the 4th quarter!
    :-[
    I used to be indecisive, now I m not so sure!

  4. #4
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    Re: Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives

    It is easy when it is scripted on that first drive.
    If it wasn't for penalties, we would have atleast 2 more TDs. :'(

    What would be funny is if they would try to run the exact script a second time, who would expect it?

    It could be a lack of familiarity of the OC, the offense, and adjustments.
    It isn't like the back of your hand yet.
    Hopefully time will help cure what ails our O.

  5. #5
    snowinapril's Avatar
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    Re: Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives

    Scripting is something all teams do, but maybe we aren't loose enough on the other drives or too dependant on structure.

  6. #6
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    Re: Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives

    "Del" wrote:
    No doubt it is a sore spot.

    We are like the second most penalized team in the NFL on offense. We have given up like 300+ yards in offensive penalties. It bogs everyone down a bit.
    Coach Chill needs to start kicking some butts on the offense...make them run wind sprints until they drop if they commit a penalty that stymies a drive...the only exception should be IF a holding penalty stops Brad from being creamed...even then, the offender should have to run several wind sprints for putting himself in that position in the first place!!!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  7. #7
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    Re: Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives

    We need some of these!

    Gellin' like a Fellon

    [img width=200 height=200]http://a1468.g.akamai.net/f/1468/580/1d/pics.drugstore.com/prodimg/14263/200.jpg[/img]

  8. #8
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    Re: Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives

    we all know there are a lot of problems to be fixed, thats become even more apparant watching the bills & detroit games, however, all we can really do is hope they get it together quickly

    Can the Vikings' offense go six-for-six in opening drive scores this season? It will be a tough task on the road against the Seattle Seahawks . Given an extra week to study the Seahawks' defensive tendencies, I'll put my money on Childress to get his offense rolling early again.
    give childress 6-7 days to organize a game plan and he executes it well, at least early, 2 weeks should definatly help =) even if its against seattle


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  9. #9
    sleepagent is offline Hall of Famer
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    Re: Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives

    I think ANYONE who commits a penalty on OFFENSE should have to stand on the bench and sing "I'm a Little Teapot" (along with the motions)!
    ;D

    "No Greater Friend . . . No Worse Enemy. U.S. MARINES"
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  10. #10
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Analyzing the Vikings' opening drives

    "sleepagent" wrote:
    I think ANYONE who commits a penalty on OFFENSE should have to stand on the bench and sing "I'm a Little Teapot" (along with the motions)!
    ;D
    Agreed! I say we make it team policy....or man law...whichever.


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