[size=13pt]Dropped passes haunt Vikings receivers[/size]

By Eric Krupka on October 4, 2006 12:03 AM

Everybody makes mistakes. Unfortunately for the Minnesota Vikings , not only are they averaging an inordinate amount of penalties at 9.5 per game, they are also shooting themselves in the foot with dropped passes.

The inability to catch the ball started in the first game and has reared its ugly head in all four games. In Week 1, second-year receiver Troy Williamson dropped three passes, one of which was a perfectly thrown bomb that went right through his hands and bounced off his chest. Later in the game, he dropped a pass that would have been a first down. Thereafter, the Vikings were forced to punt.

It isn't just Williamson who's been having trouble catching the football. Although, he did have a couple mishaps in a Week 3 loss to the Bears and dropped two more passes against the Bills Sunday. And once again, one of the drops was on a perfectly thrown long pass down the sideline that fell through his arms.

Throughout the first four games sure-handed tight end Jermaine Wiggins has dropped a pass, and tight end Jimmy Kleinsasser has missed a few catchable balls thrown his way.

The biggest drop of all may have come from Marcus Robinson against the Bills. He turned in an outstanding performance, hauling in five passes for 78 yards and making a diving catch in the end zone, ending the Vikings' touchdown drought of 12 quarters. Still, it was the catch he didn't make that may have cost the Vikings a victory.

With one minute remaining, trailing 17-12, Robinson found himself wide open down the right sideline. Quarterback Brad Johnson heaved the ball in Robinson's direction. The tall receiver ran under it, stumbled when the ball hit his hands, and dropped the ball as he collided with the ground inside the Bills' 20-yard line.

"I absolutely should have caught that. Anything that touches my hand, I should have it. I tried to tuck it, my arms hit the ground and it fell out. I've got to make that play," said Robinson.

He's right. In all likelihood, if the 6-foot-3 receiver makes the reception, the Vikings probably score and win the game.

However, his quote rings true for the entire Vikings receiving corps. Anything that touches their hands should be caught. Unfortunately for Johnson and the offense, the drops continue to occur.

Aside from the mental errors with penalties that have plagued the offense once marching into opponent's territory, erasing the physical mistakes of not catching the football should be the top priority.

Once Johnson's passes start falling into his receiver's hands for first downs, inevitably the scoring will increase, and Minnesota will be a contender in the NFC.

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

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