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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Sep 2005

    Retooled special-teams units lift Vikings

    [size=18px]Retooled special-teams units lift Vikings[/size]

    From the San Jose Mercury News;
    Posted on Tue, Nov. 15, 2005

    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - Restless for results but doggedly determined, the Vikings' Koren Robinson finally reached the end zone Sunday at Giants Stadium, igniting one of the most dominant special-teams performances in NFL history.

    He had come close to breaking kickoffs earlier this season, with 46-, 49- and 72-yard returns to his credit.

    This time he sealed the deal.

    At the start of the second half, capitalizing on brilliant blocking, Robinson took the kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown.

    "I felt I was overdue all year," he said.

    Robinson's runback gave the Vikings some momentum. But it wasn't until Mewelde Moore got into the act that you could feel a Miracle at the Meadowlands was in the offing.

    Less than 10 minutes later, on a punt return, Moore dodged several Giants defenders en route to a 71-yard touchdown.

    The shocking plays set the tone for a shocking day that culminated in a 24-21 Vikings upset of the Giants.

    Still, the question remains: Why were the Vikings' return teams so successful against such a formidable foe?

    Even special-teams coach Rusty Tillman was caught off guard.

    "I'd like to tell you that, `Yeah, I saw that we were going to score two touchdowns,' " Tillman said. "But I was as excited and as surprised as everyone else."

    Coach Mike Tice said it was simply mind over matter - that the blockers finally "believe" in the returners, giving them added motivation.

    "We've finished every practice Thursday with a kickoff return," Tice said. "Once the guys start believing in the return guy, they'd block better for some reason. The same with the punt returner."

    Robinson and Moore have provided plenty of reasons for faith.

    Robinson is fourth in the NFL with an average of 26.3 yards a kickoff return. Moore is one return shy of qualifying for the league leaders. But he is averaging 15.4 yards a punt return, which would rank him No. 1.

    The special-teams turnaround started with a roster revision in the offseason. Although drafted rookies such as running back Ciatrick Fason and guard Marcus Johnson have contributed, the Vikings bolstered their depth with players such as rookie linebacker Heath Farwell, cornerbacks Laroni Gallishaw and Dovonte Edwards and safety Will Hunter. In addition, starters, most notably cornerback Antoine Winfield, linebacker Keith Newman and safety Corey Chavous, have been inserted on special teams.

    "We've worked hard at it, and every week we've gotten better," Farwell said. "We were one step away, and we finally kind of opened it up and really were able to get a couple of touchdowns out of it."

    Former Vikings tight end Joe Senser said he noticed a change in mind-set during training camp. In the midst of a nine-on-seven drill, Tice called for a kickoff return.

    "That tells the players, `This matters,' " said Senser, an analyst for KFAN-AM 1130. "I saw from that day a different emphasis."

    Former Vikings punter Greg Coleman recalled Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant's special-teams credo.

    "Bud Grant always said special teams would win three games a year for you," said Coleman, the sideline reporter for KFAN. "Let's face it, two out of the last three games, special teams has played a critical part."

    Farwell said the Vikings' goal was more modest.

    "We were trying to win two games this year on special teams, and our defense obviously played well, and our offense came through in the end," he said of the upset of the Giants. "That was definitely a game won by the special teams."

    During the offseason, assistant special-teams coach Jim Panagos suggested that the Vikings reduce the number of schemes they use from nine to three. Tillman tweaks each scheme based on the opponent.

    Farwell said the schemes on the kickoff and punt were classic middle returns. On the kickoff, Tillman credited the blockers, who opened a clear path for Robinson. Near midfield, Fason knocked kicker Jay Feely and safety Gibril Wilson off course, providing Robinson a clear lane to the end zone.

    It took more than blocking to break Moore's score.

    "There were some good blocks," Tillman said. "But I really think that was Mewelde Moore. He broke a tackle, froze the coverage, and then he outran everybody."

    Coleman saw another key.

    "Those two plays were more indicative of the Giants' attitude," he said. "I don't think they took the Vikings seriously. They thought (the Vikings) would hang around and then implode.

    "The return game is nothing but attitude and effort."

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

  2. #2
    K-Robbing18 is offline Rookie
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Retooled special-teams units lift Vikings

    I knew my boy K-Rob was going to break out soon. With a little bit more luck he could of broke at least 2 TD's early this year.
    Maybe he could be like Hall in the next couple of games, and i want to see him in WR WAY MORE.

    Yeah thats right, me with probably the onlu K-ROB jersey Autograph, and Nate "the great" Burleson

  3. #3
    Jviking's Avatar
    Jviking is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: Retooled special-teams units lift Vikings

    Nice read, I liked what I saw last week lets hope we can continue to improve and see more of our star players....I hope our offense can be more effective.

  4. #4
    Lotza's Avatar
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    Re: Retooled special-teams units lift Vikings

    i agree krobbing

    Go vikes!!

  5. #5
    Prophet Guest

    Re: Retooled special-teams units lift Vikings

    I remember the Bud Grant days when the special teams would do their job. Remember when they were field goal blocking fools? That was fun to watch.

  6. #6
    edlantis's Avatar
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    Re: Retooled special-teams units lift Vikings

    I was at the game last week, and thank goodness for Special Teams, because the play calling for the offense and even the defense was terrible. Tanks to a few Giants mental mistakes, we were able to put up some points, but Brad Johnson didn't seem like he could see the field real well and they couldn't run the ball up the middle worth anything, which makes me wonder why they kept trying. The examples could go on and on!

  7. #7
    mnvikes61's Avatar
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    Re: Retooled special-teams units lift Vikings

    i am very pleased that we finally have special team units that are making our team look better instead of losing the games for us like they have in the past

    Thanks Josdin

  8. #8
    magicci's Avatar
    magicci is offline Jersey Retired
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    oxnard, ca

    Re: Retooled special-teams units lift Vikings

    im so happy our special teams is finally performing.

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