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    Articles about Viking win over Redskins

    [size=13pt]This year's Vikings not in the same boat [/size]

    Posted 9/12/2006 1:02 AM ET

    LANDOVER, Md. — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson finished his postgame press conference in the interview room and tried to get back into the Vikings' locker room.

    The guard at the door told Johnson he couldn't get in without a pass and was allowed back in only when a reporter told the guard Johnson was the team's QB.

    "How funny was that," Johnson said.

    Once in the locker room, Johnson slipped off his red short-sleeved shirt and put on a No. 14 Washington Redskins jersey, an actual game day jersey from his days as Washington's QB.

    "That's a bona fide throwback," a Vikings player yelled.

    "It's special to come here and win," Johnson said with a sly grin after the Vikings stopped the Redskins 19-16 Monday. "This is a tough place to play. It was electric, and it's a hostile environment. They have a great team. We were fortunate to come away with a win."

    The Vikings nickeled and dimed their way down the field (with a few big plays thrown in) enough times to give first-year Vikings coach Brad Childress his first NFL win.

    "I was anxious to watch our team compete for four quarters," Childress said. "They have had a tough training camp, but they are a battle-tested group, and I think they proved that in the fourth quarter."

    Gone are the days of ex-coach Mike Tice's laid-back ways. Gone are the scandalous bye week boat cruises. In is Childress, the task master.

    He came in and implemented his version of the West Coast offense, the offense he used to make the Eagles one of the best teams in the league.

    In Minnesota, it's still a work in progress. No one will confuse Johnson, whose best days are presumably behind him, with Donovan McNabb. And the Vikings' receivers and running backs are nondescript, exactly the same kind of catchers and runners Childress had in Philadelphia (save for Terrell Owens' days as an Eagle).

    "It's a very long year, and one game is not a season maker," Childress said. "There are plenty of things to work on. … The thing that was great about our group was the great resolve they showed."

    Against a strong Redskins defense, Johnson threw for 223 yards and one touchdown. He completed 16 passes to seven receivers, and running back Chester Taylor churned out 88 yards on 31 carries. Also, in the same manner that Childress used running backs as receivers in Philly, Taylor caught three passes for 43 yards.

    At first glance, those are not impressive numbers. But pinpoint when those yards were compiled. Minnesota converted 9-of-17 third-down attempts. Johnson credited the third-down success to a change in blocking schemes, giving him more time to throw.

    On the Vikings' first drive, they went 3-for-3 on third down, finishing the drive with a 4-yard Taylor touchdown run on third-and-goal.

    On the series that put the Vikings up 16-13 in the third quarter, Johnson completed two third-down passes, including a 20-yard TD pass to Marcus Robinson on third-and-5.

    And on the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter, Troy Williamson caught a 13-yard pass on third-and-9, and Taylor had runs of 10 and 9 yards, helping set up Ryan Longwell's 31-yard field goal.

    "Our offensive line just kept grinding it out," Taylor said. "We want the fourth quarter to be our time. Our new attitude is about us being physical."

    It was far from perfect for the Vikings. They dropped passes and penalties stalled drives. Yet, it was nothing they couldn't fight through.

    "If something goes wrong, we don't lose confidence in each other," Johnson said.

    The Vikings came away with an important road win against a team that made the playoffs in 2005 and is expected to compete for the NFC East title this year.

    With Monday's performance, the Vikings just might be a playoff team in the making.

    ***

    Jeff Zillgitt writes about sports for USA TODAY. You can e-mail him at [email protected]


    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Articles pertaining to the Redskins game

    [size=13pt]DRAMATIC DEBUT[/size]

    Brad Childress wins his first game as an NFL coach on a day when so much is different for the Vikings. Ryan Longwell kicks the winning field goal with a minute left, and Brad Johnson provides steady play. It wasn't pretty, as the Vikings overcame lots of penalties and a botched extra point, but they showed poise at the end.

    Kevin Seifert, Star Tribune
    Last update: September 12, 2006 – 4:54 AM


    LANDOVER, MD. - The stern coach allowed himself a brief moment of emotion, not quite overcome but clearly affected as he left FedEx Field. The edgy quarterback headed to the team bus with defiance surprising even for him, taunting one of his former teams by leaving the building with a Redskins jerseys on his back.
    Brad Childress teared up, Brad Johnson mouthed off and the Vikings took a fourth-quarter lead in a road game -- yes, at night, and yes, on grass -- and held on for a decidedly uncharacteristic 19-16 victory Monday night over Washington. What's next? Zygi Wilf plays Vegas?

    Ryan Longwell's 31-yard field goal with 1 minute remaining gave the Vikings their final lead of the night, but it was not over until John Hall was wide left on a 48-yard attempt with 17 seconds left. The victory gave Childress his first regular-season victory, granted Johnson a level of well-deserved redemption and presented a Vikings team with a poised and tough-minded identity.

    "This game can keep you humble," Childress said. "It got a little emotional for me after the game. You win a game like that, against a team like that and a Hall of Fame coach [Washington's Joe Gibbs], you don't always get that chance. You wouldn't usually permit yourself that. You try to be businesslike."

    Not even Childress could restrain himself after a game in which the Vikings reversed most of the habits that led to losses in eight of their past 12 night games on the road, dating to the 1999 season.

    They absorbed blows from the Redskins in both the second and third quarters, came back from a 13-6 deficit and did not commit a turnover.

    They did commit nine penalties, but it was a Washington mistake that fueled perhaps the night's biggest play. With the score tied 16-16, the Vikings faced a third-and-9 at their 48-yard line.

    Johnson, who completed 16 of 30 passes for 223 yards in his return to Washington, found receiver Troy Williamson about 6 yards downfield. Williamson caught the ball -- no small feat on a night in which he dropped three, including a potential 59-yard touchdown -- and slipped underneath cornerback Carlos Rogers' tackle attempt. Williamson dashed another 6 yards for the first down, and Washington safety Sean Taylor's 15-yard facemask penalty put the Vikings in Longwell's range at the 24-yard line.

    The Vikings calmly ran more than a minute off the clock, forcing the Redskins to use all three of their timeouts, before Longwell drilled the game-winner.

    For center Matt Birk, the series of events brought to mind one of Childress' favorite themes since he took over as coach: understanding that close games naturally give both teams a chance to win at various points.

    "Good teams find a way to win down the stretch," Birk said. "This is a veteran group. In the huddle, it's pretty even-keeled. Coach was just talking last night about the ebbs and flows of the game, especially on the road. You're going to have to hang in there and sneak off with one in the end."

    Which is exactly what the Vikings did Monday night. They managed to minimize the impact of the penalties, as well as an aborted extra point after Chester Taylor's 4-yard run in the first quarter. Although they punted on four consecutive series in the first half, they rebounded to drive 28 yards in the final 56 seconds of the second quarter to get an important 46-yard field goal from Longwell as time expired.

    They even stayed with a running game that netted 34 yards in the first half, and Taylor responded by grinding out a crucial 40 yards in the fourth quarter. Taylor, in his Vikings debut, finished with 88 yards on a career-high 31 carries.

    Showing their mettle, the Vikings scored both touchdowns -- Taylor's run and Johnson's 20-yard pass to Marcus Robinson -- on third down. They converted nine of 17 third-down attempts overall, while their defense held Washington to four conversions in 13 attempts and 266 total yards.

    "There is plenty we know we can do better," cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "But when you can walk off a field like this, against a team like that, with a win, that's big and you know you can build on it."

    Winfield and his defensive teammates held the Redskins to one touchdown, Clinton Portis' 5-yard run in the second quarter, and forced Washington to attempt three field goals inside 28 yards. Free safety Darren Sharper saved one touchdown by breaking up a pass in the endzone intended for Santana Moss, and rookie defensive end Ray Edwards saved a likely third-down conversion by tipping a Mark Brunell pass at the line of scrimmage.

    The Vikings were the livelier team in that final quarter -- and not by accident, said receiver Travis Taylor.

    "We complained about it, but the physical training camp we had really paid off," Taylor said. "We didn't always want to be doing it, but look what happened. We won this game in the fourth quarter. That's why Coach Childress did it that way."

    And what a change it was.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Articles pertaining to the Redskins game

    [size=13pt]Longwell had a feeling kick would decide things[/size]
    The new Vikings kicker saw a snap mishandled on his first try for the team, and he soon was trying for the game-winning points.


    Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune
    Last update: September 12, 2006 – 12:27 AM


    LANDOVER, MD. - Ryan Longwell had a gut feeling.
    As the Vikings kicker watched holder Chris Kluwe mishandle the snap on a point-after attempt in the first quarter Monday night, Longwell came to a quick conclusion. "You can just tell that, inevitably, after a game starts like it did with the extra point, it's going to come down to a kick," he said. "It's just the way it goes."

    He was right on the money, both figuratively and literally. The veteran's 31-yard field goal with one minute left in the fourth quarter gave the Vikings a 19-16 victory over the Redskins at FedEx Field. His counterpart, Washington's John Hall, was not so fortunate.

    Hall missed what would have been a game-tying 48-yarder on Washington's last drive.

    Longwell, who signed a five-year, $10 million deal to leave Green Bay during the offseason, had an interesting first game as a Viking.

    In addition to his winning kick, he also made a 46-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, cutting the Vikings' deficit to 13-9. He left a 54-yarder short of the uprights early in the fourth quarter with the score tied 16-16.

    Longwell said his first-half field goal was his toughest of the night. "The game-winner, obviously, there are repercussions on it. But 46 yards into kind of a crosswind, it was a big kick," he said. "Especially momentumwise. I think we got into the locker room with a little more momentum."

    Kluwe did a good job handling the ball on the three field-goal attempts and also got the hold down on a point-after try in the third quarter. But the Vikings punter wasn't happy about botching the snap from Cullen Loeffler after the first touchdown.

    "I just didn't catch the ball," Kluwe said. "It's just a bad play. I closed my hands on it, and when I went to put it down it just slid right out when I pressed them together. It just can't happen. Games come down to that one point, like we saw. If we make that extra point early, than we're up by one and they have to make a touchdown to win at the end instead of a field goal to tie. I just have to work harder and make sure it doesn't happen again."

    This was the second consecutive season Longwell's snapper has mishandled a ball in the opener. Last year, former Packer B.J. Sander lost the snap on what would have been a 22-yard try.

    "You don't ever want to start the season that way," Longwell said. "Fortunately, or unfortunately, I started the season last year that way. I've had experience at it. You just have to put it out of your mind. Much like a missed field goal or a made field goal.

    "That next one has to be a clean slate."


    Judd Zulgad • [email protected]


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    Re: Articles about Viking win over Redskins

    [size=13pt]Sid Hartman: Victory on road is good start to season[/size]

    The Vikings got enough offense to win at Washington, while their defense improved after a shaky first half.

    Sid Hartman, Star Tribune
    Last update: September 11, 2006 – 11:44 PM


    It was a great return to Washington for Brad Johnson and the Vikings as they started the NFL season beating the Redskins 19-16 Monday night in one of the toughest stadiums in the league to win.
    Yes, Johnson, the former Redskins quarterback, completed 16 of 30 passes for 223 yards and Chester Taylor rushed for 56 yards in the second half as the Vikings stayed with a running game that had little success in the first half, when they gained only 34 yards on the ground.

    The $49 million twins -- left tackle Bryant McKinnie and guard Steve Hutchinson -- opened enough big holes for Taylor to run through.

    The Vikings defense had moments in the first half when it played like the recent bad defenses the Vikings have fielded, but adjustments made at halftime worked, and it was a different story in the second half.

    And the signing of Ryan Longwell paid off as he kicked a winning 31-yard field goal late in the game.

    Yes, had the game gone into overtime and the Redskins had won, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, the holder for Longwell, could have been the goat for fumbling the snap on the point-after attempt following the Vikings' first touchdown.

    While the Packers announced the signing of Koren Robinson, who had been released by the Vikings after his arrest for drunken driving, Vikings coach Brad Childress decided to bench safety Dwight Smith for a game and went with an untried rookie as his starter in Greg Blue, the 149th player picked in this year's draft. The Redskins picked on Blue, but he did a decent job.

    This was a big victory for the Vikings, a 4½-point underdog. Beating a great coach like Joe Gibbs on his home turf in the season opener is something not too many teams accomplish.

    Big day for Birk

    For Matt Birk, Monday's game was something special. The Harvard and Cretin-Derham Hall alum sat out last year after a number of operations, and some people questioned whether he would ever play up to his previous Pro Bowl ability at center.

    But Birk started against Washington, played the entire game, and did his usual great job of blocking.

    Birk said he no longer even thinks about his previous health problems. "You might tell me I lost a step, but that's all right," he said.

    As an offensive lineman, Birk goes against the Vikings' first-team defense in practice.

    "Offensively, we're getting it together," he said. "Defensively, I think this is, so far, this is measuring up to be the best defense that we've had since I've been here," he said about a group that limited Washington to 105 yards in the second half.

    "[The Vikings defense is] real good, especially up front. ... We have a very formidable defensive line.

    "I get to see Pat Williams a lot nose tackle. I think he's the best nose tackle in the league. They all impress me. Kevin Williams is Kevin Williams. If they can put that pressure on, it makes a big difference.

    "I might be biased, but I think it starts up front with the offensive and defensive lines."

    In the second half the Vikings front four put plenty of pressure on Washington quarterback Mark Brunell, one big reason for the victory. They aren't the Purple People Eaters yet, but they are going to be pretty good.

    Deal almost collapsed

    As Zygi Wilf and his brother Mark sat at FedEx Field on Monday night, memories had to come back to them on how their purchase of the Vikings from Red McCombs almost fell through a year ago.

    There have been few tougher negotiators than Gary Woods, the right-hand man for McCombs. I gave him the name of "Mr. Pencils" because if some employee threw a pencil stub away, if it still had some use, it might cause disciplinary action. He was very tough with a buck.

    Well, when it came time to close the deal in Washington, McCombs wanted everything, including the $25 million that the Vikings had spent to sign free agents for the 2005 season. There were other concessions he was looking for, too. He was going to get that last nickel.

    Even though league officials stepped in to try to make sure the deal didn't fall through, the Wilfs had to concede to almost every demand by McCombs, including the $25 million. The Wilfs wanted to own a team badly enough that they gave in on most everything.

    Cerrato with Redskins

    Vinny Cerrato earned a great reputation as a recruiting coordinator for Lou Holtz at Minnesota and Notre Dame.

    The big opportunity for the Albert Lea native and former Iowa State football player came when he was hired by San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo as the team's director of scouting. During his six-year stay with the 49ers, they dominated the NFL.

    Cerrato joined the Redskins in 1999, sat out 2001 while he worked for ESPN, came back the following season and is now their vice president of football operations.

    He has done an outstanding job running the draft and making deals for the Redskins. He is responsible for landing many of their top players.

    Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Podcast twice a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. [email protected]

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Articles about Viking win over Redskins

    Posted on Tue, Sep. 12, 2006

    [size=13pt]Williamson erratic in season opener[/size]

    Receiver mixes big plays with painful drops

    BY DON SEEHOLZER
    Pioneer Press


    LANDOVER, Md. — To call it an up-and-down game would be the grossest of understatements.

    During a 19-16 season-opening victory over the Washington Redskins on Monday night, Vikings wide receiver Troy Williamson had more highs and lows than a Tibetan Sherpa, but everything worked out in the end.

    Two big early catches followed by two bad drops were but a prelude to Williamson's final act, a 13-yard, third-down reception that helped set up Ryan Longwell's game-winning, 31-yard field goal with 1:00 remaining.

    "That's football," Williamson said of his wild night. "Football's up and down. That's how it goes when it comes to playing offense and playing defense. You've just got to work with it and go through it and get ready for the next play."

    Williamson finished with four receptions for 77 yards, but it was the third-and-9 play, on which he had his face mask grabbed by Redskins safety Sean Taylor for a 15-yard penalty, that most impressed quarterback Brad Johnson.

    "That was probably the biggest play of his career so far," Johnson said. "He made a couple of big plays for us early in the first half. He had a couple of drops in there, but we're going to keep coming at him. I thought he made the catch of the game, the play of the game, on that particular play."

    Williamson said he appreciated the way Johnson and the coaches stuck with him after a rough second quarter during which he dropped a beautifully thrown bomb deep in Redskins territory and another sideline pass that cost the Vikings a first down.

    The first of those was galling to Williamson, who didn't offer an excuse.

    "I pretty much took my eyes off the ball at the last second, and it just went through," he said. "That's just something I need to work on and be patient. Calm down a little bit more and make the routine plays."

    That pass was one of a surprising number of deep shots for the Vikings, but Williamson said he could tell by the way the Redskins were playing early that the long ball would be there.

    The Vikings' No. 1 draft choice last year, Williamson had two catches on Minnesota's game-opening touchdown drive, a 12-yard grab on third and 9, and a 46-yard beauty on which he blew by Redskins cornerback Mike Rumph that put the ball at the Washington 6-yard line.

    Since the Vikings released Koren Robinson last month, much has been written and said about the team's need for a No. 1 receiver, and Williamson showed they might already have their man.

    "I've been around Troy quite a bit," Johnson said. "I like Troy. I've talked about it. I think he's a difference-maker. He's going to make a lot of plays for us."

    Considering his temporary case of the drops, Williamson was just glad he got the opportunity to make amends when it counted Monday night, and grateful for the support of his teammates.

    "You've got to have guys around you that are going to build you up," he said. "Because things like that are going to happen. You just have to keep on running with them and make the next play."

    Don Seeholzer can be reached at [email protected]

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Articles about Viking win over Redskins

    Posted on Tue, Sep. 12, 2006

    [size=13pt]Childress' guys are ready and able[/size]

    LANDOVER, Md.

    If you're wondering how thorough Brad Johnson's preparations were for Monday night's game, consider this: When a charging defensive lineman pinned his right arm against his body, Johnson had a backup plan. He simply switched hands and threw southpaw.

    "I work on my left hand a lot," he said. "You can't make a living at it, but I do work on it."

    Get out of here.

    "I'm 3 for 5 now," he insisted. "I work on it quite a lot. You just never know."

    Tight end Jermaine Wiggins did not catch Johnson's lefty flip. But he caught five regular tosses. All told, Johnson completed 16 of 30 to help lead the Vikings to an opening night victory in front of more than 90,000 hostile spectators.

    But first things first. These new Vikings are all about character, truth, justice and the American Way. So it was interesting to note that starting safety Dwight Smith was not in uniform against the Redskins.

    Smith, flagged for stairwelling a couple of weeks ago, sat out the opener, presumably as punishment for his indiscretion. It was a bold move that says to the players: Stop that.

    Coach Brad Childress gave no hint of this action leading up to the game. Then again, Childress wouldn't tell you if your pants were on fire.

    "That's between Dwight Smith and myself," Childress said afterward.

    OK, we'll just pretend we didn't notice Smith was missing.

    Even without Smith, the Vikings' defense gave a good account of itself. In fact, this year's team may be the polar opposite of its predecessors. For the first time in a couple of decades, the question won't be whether the defense can hold the opposition to a reasonable point total. It will be whether the offense can score enough.

    It did on Monday night as the Dink 'Em Dizzy was in rare form. Actually, the offense was a bit bolder than I thought it would be. Johnson really has a grasp of this thing.

    "He's a 15-year veteran, and that says a lot about him," said Washington's Demetric Evans, a defensive lineman.

    Well, yes, he's pretty old. But I think he was referring to how wily Johnson is.

    Meanwhile, running back Chester Taylor, a cause for concern during the preseason, looked better. He did all right when he ran behind the left side — the wealthy side — of the line. Taylor could get decent yardage and change for a hundred-dollar bill while running behind Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson.

    All the misdirection, trickery and short passes had the Redskins on edge. They shifted their defense around to try to break up those short ones near the line. That meant they were ripe for a quick strike. Johnson and the coaching staff saw this.

    "We wanted to take some shots," Johnson said. "We took our shots. We felt we had to be aggressive. We opened up the field by taking those shots."

    It seemed just the opposite to me. The short stuff brought the Redskins creeping in, and then the longer stuff was open starting in the third quarter. But Brad knows better than I do.

    "That's kind of the way the West Coast offense goes," said fullback Tony Richardson, who eschews the more accurate Dink 'Em Dizzy title. "They were in a lot of cover 2 early, and Chester (Taylor) and Jermaine (Wiggins) were open underneath. After a while they had to respect that, and we were able to go over the top."

    Said center Matt Birk: "That's what Brad Johnson is so good at doing. He'll take what the defense gives you, then takes some shots to try to get some chunks."

    They connected on a few and could have had even more. Once, Troy Williamson burst free down the sideline just as Johnson heaved a long one. It was a perfect throw, coming in over Williamson's right shoulder. But he dropped the ball, and a touchdown was lost.

    Williamson had an up-and-down game, but a big third-down catch late allowed him to end on an up note. What is clear is that after six or seven shorties, the long one is going to be available every time. Perhaps the Vikings will find a way to exploit that even more as the season progresses.

    So Childress' debut was an interesting one. That was a passionate crowd at FedEx Field. And they drank so much beer, they sweated foam.

    Among the goofballs on hand to witness the opener was actor Tom Cruise, who sat with Dan Snyder (another goofball) in the owner's box. No word on whether Cruise threw a hissy fit when the Redskins' trainer applied smelling salts to one of the players on the sideline. Perhaps Snyder explained to him there was no time for meditation and vitamins.

    "I'm just happy for the guys," Childress said after his first victory as a head coach.

    We don't know how happy. That's between him and the guys.

    Tom Powers can be reached at tpowers@pioneerpress.com.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Articles about Viking win over Redskins

    Posted on Tue, Sep. 12, 2006

    [size=13pt]Smoot, defense let actions talk[/size]

    Vikings cornerback helps stop his old team

    BY DON SEEHOLZER
    Pioneer Press


    LANDOVER, Md. — A season-opening win always tastes good, but no one savored Monday night's 19-16 victory over the Washington Redskins more than Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot.

    "It's real sweet," he said, smiling broadly, "like a refreshing glass of water on a 90-degree day. I really enjoyed it."

    Smoot didn't put up big numbers in his homecoming game; he made six tackles against the team for which he played his first four NFL seasons. But he definitely made his presence felt and heard.

    "There was a lot of talking," he said. "If people know you, they're going to talk to you a little bit more, but that's what I like. That's when my game goes to the next level."

    Smoot did his loudest yapping early in the fourth quarter, after he dropped tight end Chris Cooley for an 8-yard loss.

    It was that kind of physical, hard-scrabble night for the defense, which gave up 266 yards but just one touchdown.

    "We found out what they wanted to do, and that was to beat us deep, and we didn't let it happen," Smoot said. "That was the difference in the game, and we take it how it goes. We'll take them ugly or we'll take them pretty. As long as we win, it's good."

    Making this victory even more impressive, the Vikings earned it without starting safety Dwight Smith, who was deactivated in an apparent disciplinary move in response to his Aug. 26 citation for indecent conduct.

    Smoot, asked when he and the rest of the defense were told Smith wouldn't play, said: "We didn't know. I don't know anything about it still."

    In Smith's absence, rookie Greg Blue stepped in to make three tackles. The defense didn't appear to miss a beat.

    "That's what makes a team," Smoot said. "Every game isn't going to be pretty. That's not how this league is. If we can handle games like this, we're going to win some games this season."

    Safety Darren Sharper, who saved a touchdown with a jarring second-quarter hit on Redskins receiver Santana Moss in the back of the end zone, said he learned before the game that Smith wouldn't play. Sharper said Blue played well.

    "Having depth helps out," Sharper said. "They drafted him for situations like that, and he came in and played a heck of a game."

    So did a lot of the Vikings, but they couldn't celebrate until the final 12 seconds, when John Hall's attempt at a tying 48-yard field goal sailed wide to the left.

    "I knew Hall had the leg for it, but he just hooked it," Sharper said. "The gods upstairs were on our side tonight."

    Based on Monday night's effort, Vikings fans could be in for a lot of these close, low-scoring games this season, but if that's how it plays out, the defense is ready to do its part.

    "We knew from the preseason that the defense was going to stop the run and be solid all around," Sharper said. "Then the offense did enough to win and didn't turn the ball over. As long as we win, it doesn't matter. We'll win close games the rest of the season."

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Articles about Viking win over Redskins

    [size=13pt]Jim Souhan: Johnson keeps the edge hidden, but it's there[/size]

    Jim Souhan, Star Tribune
    Last update: September 11, 2006 – 11:45 PM


    LANDOVER, MD. - Brad Johnson played it coy, like he was deking a safety.
    He didn't slam Washington owner Danny Boy Snyder for ditching him in favor of the regrettable Jeff George after the 2000 season.

    No, as Johnson grabbed his luggage from the FedEx Field locker room, the Vikings quarterback doled out diplomatic assessments of his time in D.C.

    Then he donned his old Redskins jersey and marched triumphantly to the bus.

    You can believe all the talk about Johnson's cool and maturity but, as center Matt Birk said, "Oh, he's got an edge. I could tell you stories."

    Now Johnson's got another one: beating his old team 19-16 on Monday night and giving the Vikings' other significant Brad (Childress) his first NFL victory.

    The quarterbacking Brad, by the way, is now 66-43 as an NFL starter, precisely because of the way he played Monday.

    Johnson committed zero turnovers. He threw the ball away when a more ambitious pass could have landed in the wrong hands.

    And just when every Purple-clad rube in Minnesota was screaming for Troy Williamson's head, Johnson aimed one of the game's biggest passes right at it.

    Williamson cost Johnson about 80 yards and three completions on the stat sheet, but his catch-and-run late in the fourth quarter helped win the game.

    Johnson has a knack for making the players around him look better than they are while making himself look less gifted than he actually is.

    "That's what Brad is so good at," Birk said. "I think Brad is probably the smartest player I've ever played with. That's been evident through the preseason, and again tonight. He's as sharp as they come."

    Johnson had to be, playing in front of 90,608 fans and against a renowned defense while relying on a bunch of skill-position castoffs.

    Maybe it was the presence of Tom Cruise, who visited the sideline and Snyder's box, but Johnson looked so excited he could have jumped all over Oprah's couch.

    After he threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Robinson in the third quarter, Johnson pumped his fist and screamed a few choice words toward the sky, and I don't think he was defending Brooke Shields to Cruise. "Hey, I get excited," Johnson said.

    He finished 16-for-30 for 223 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He took only one sack for no yards. He completed passes to seven different receivers.

    He even threw one lefthanded, although it landed incomplete. "I practice that all the time," he said. "I was 3-for-4 before today."

    That was a better percentage than he had throwing to Williamson, who botched passes as if he had drawn butter from a Legal Seafood lobster on his hands.

    After Williamson dropped a 59-yard touchdown pass and two shorter tosses, Johnson went to him with the game on the line.

    Facing third-and-9 at the Minnesota 48-yard line, Johnson hit Williamson, who drove for the first down and drew a facemask penalty to help set up the game-winning field goal. "You've got to stick with him," Johnson said. "We're going to need him."

    Yes, it was a good night for the Brads. Childress had the guts to bench Dwight Smith, his starting safety, for playing Cover-2 in a Minneapolis stairwell, and Johnson got to rub Snyder's nose in a wrenching loss.

    Later, after his news conference, Johnson tried to return to the locker room, and the security guard didn't recognize him.

    Someone said, "That's the quarterback." Johnson nodded, headed to his locker and pulled out his old Washington jersey.

    He thought about wearing it to the news conference but decided that was a little too confrontational. "Hey, I've come back to Washington and won before," he said, downplaying his return again.

    Then he grinned devilishly and strolled to the bus in burgundy and gold as receiver Marcus Robinson screamed, "Show 'em, B-Rad!"

    Johnson already had.


    Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on KSTP AM 1500. • [email protected]


    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  9. #9
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    Re: Articles about Viking win over Redskins

    [size=13pt]Mostly, Williamson is much improved[/size]

    The Vikings second-year receiver showed that his catching skills are catching up to his speedy legs with his four receptions for 77 yards against Washington. He did drop some important passes, though.

    Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune
    Last update: September 12, 2006 – 12:25 AM


    LANDOVER, MD. - Brad Johnson's confidence in Troy Williamson never wavered. Three dropped passes? So what?
    Johnson's feeling is that Williamson has the talent to be an elite receiver and that those types can't be ignored.

    So facing a third-down-and-9 from the Vikings 48-yard line late in the fourth quarter Monday night, Johnson looked Williamson's way and dumped a short pass off to the second-year receiver for a 13-yard gain. A facemask penalty on Washington free safety Sean Taylor tacked on 15 yards and put the ball at the Redskins 24, helping to set up Ryan Longwell's game-winning field goal in the Vikings' 19-16 victory.

    "That was probably the biggest play, probably in his career so far," Johnson said. "I thought he made the catch of the day and the play of the day."

    The play wasn't only key to the Vikings' victory, it also was instrumental in showing just how important Williamson is going to be to this offense. Williamson represents a legitimate vertical threat for an offense that is going to be built around the short passing game of the West Coast offense. That makes Williamson one player who can help keep defenses honest.

    He will do an even better job of that if he can correct the mistakes made on the three drops Monday. Two came in the second quarter on plays that could have had a major impact. The first occurred when Johnson's nearly perfect deep pass went right through Williamson's arms around the Washington 16-yard line on a third-and-8 play. He would have been able to walk into the end zone. Williamson also had a pass go through his hands on another third-down play that would have kept the ball in the Vikings' possession.

    Nonetheless, Johnson wasn't going to start ignoring his speedy and talented receiver. Not after Williamson made a 46-yard catch on a go-route that put the ball at the Redskins 6-yard line and set up a touchdown on the opening drive. "He had a couple of drops in there, but we're going to keep coming at him," Johnson said. "I think he's the difference-maker for us on this team."

    During a disappointing rookie season, Williamson often appeared moody and withdrawn. That wasn't the case Monday night in the visitor's locker room at FedEx Field. Williamson, the seventh pick overall in the 2005 draft, acknowledged his mistakes but didn't dwell on them.

    He said the drop on what looked like a sure touchdown pass -- Williamson had gotten behind Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers -- was simply a case of not following the ball into his hands. "I took my eyes off the ball at the last second, and it just went through," he said. "That's just something I need to work on. Be more patient and calm down just a little bit more. Make the routine plays."

    Williamson finished the night with four catches for a game-high 77 receiving yards. He said one key was the support he got from teammates after his miscues.

    "You have to have guys that are around you that build you up," said Williamson, who also returned four kickoffs for an average of 24.5 yards. "That's what some of the receivers did and my coach did to keep me up and keep me going. Things like that are going to happen. You just have to keep on running with it and make the next play."


    Judd Zulgad • [email protected]

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Articles about Viking win over Redskins

    Posted on Tue, Sep. 12, 2006

    [size=13pt]Longwell makes a good impression[/size]

    BY SEAN JENSEN
    Pioneer Press


    LANDOVER, Md. — Heading into this season, Ryan Longwell had 10 game-winning field goals to his credit.

    But his 31-yarder Monday night at FedEx Field stands out in his mind, and not only because it was the most recent.

    "It was different. It wasn't so much Monday Night Football," Longwell said. "I think it was being with the new team, and wanting to come through for the guys. I think that made it different. It certainly wasn't routine. I wanted them to have faith that I could come through."

    After nine seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Longwell signed with the Vikings during the offseason, and he got off to a good start Monday.

    Although he was short on a 54-yarder, Longwell made a 46-yarder on the final play of the first half, and he nailed the 31-yarder to give the Vikings a 19-16 lead with less than a minute remaining.

    "It was fun," Longwell said. "Obviously, with a new owner and a new organization, you want to make a good first impression."

    But there is plenty for the Vikings' special teams to work on, Longwell said.

    For instance, after an impressive 80-yard touchdown drive to open the game, holder Chris Kluwe bobbled the snap, and Longwell never had a chance to attempt the PAT.

    "As frustrating as it is, you just put it out of your mind and go on to the next one," Longwell said.

    As for his 54-yarder, Longwell said he just didn't catch it solid enough. But he quickly pointed out, "It was a kick I felt I could make."

    In the low-scoring game, Longwell said he was comfortable because Vikings coach Brad Childress and special teams coordinator Paul Ferraro have stressed the importance of the entire unit.

    "They made it clear this is a three-phase game," said Longwell, the special teams captain Monday night. "Obviously, there is always room for improvement."

    The special teams coverage units looked shaky at times, with a couple of penalties. And while the Redskins' Antwaan Randle El had his creases, his longest punt return was just 15 yards.

    In fact, the biggest return belonged to the Vikings. Just before halftime, Troy Williamson had a key 44-yard kickoff return to set up Longwell's field goal.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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