12-25-2005, 04:16 AM #1
Vikings notebook from Vikings.com
Author: Mike Wobschall
Ravaging the Ravens
Two Vikings in particular are looking forward to playing Baltimore on Sunday. Sam Cowart posted 17 tackles and recorded the first sack of his career when he was with the Bills and they played against Baltimore on 10/31/99.
Darren Sharper recorded ten tackles and had an interception versus Baltimore on 10/14//01.
Head Coach Mike Tice made it no secret that his relationship with Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick was a very positive one. The two coached together for the Vikings from 1996-1998 and were close friends. Tice is looking forward to coaching against his close friend.
"I love it. I think it is great. It makes it more fun," Tice commented.
The two have kept in touch with each other over the years. Tice said they call each other numerous times throughout the course of a season to check in on each other.
"I talked to Brian about three weeks ago to see how he was doing. I know he was under a little bit of heat," Tice said. "Of course I know what that is like so I figured I'd see how he was doing since normally five or six times a year he calls me to see how I'm doing when I'm under heat. We are great friends. We have stayed in contact every year since he left."
Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick and Vikings Head Coach Mike Tice coached together on the Vikings staff from 1996-1998. Also, Billick was Tice's position coach when they were both with the Vikings in 1992.
Vikings receiver Travis Taylor was a first-round pick of the Ravens and played five seasons there from 2000-2004.
Vikings receiver Marcus Robinson played in Baltimore under Brian Billick in 2003.
Ravens place-kicker Aaron Elling played two seasons with the Vikings (2003-2004) and was released from the squad after training camp this season.
The old Kevin Williams
Vikings All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams arguably had his best game of the season last week versus Pittsburgh. Williams is returning from an injury that cost him two games this season.
Williams recorded six tackles and one sack last week and he looked to be his old, dominating self against a very formidable Steelers offensive line.
"Kevin looked great in the game the other day. He didn't look good, he looked great. It was his best game of the season, by far," Tice said. "He was dominant in the game the other day. Yeah, it was very, very exciting."
Two Vikings named to Pro Bowl
The Vikings had two players named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Safety Darren Sharper and kick returner Koren Robinson will both represent the Vikings in Hawaii.
Sharper is a no-brainer, as he is tied for second in the league in interceptions with eight. Two of those interceptions Sharper has taken in for touchdowns. Additionally, Sharper leads the league in return yardage. This will be Sharper's third Pro Bowl game.
Robinson leads the NFC in kickoff return average, gaining 26.6 yards per return and one touchdown. This will be his first appearance at the Pro Bowl.
Third down woes
The Vikings have had trouble on third down situations this season. Currently, Minnesota ranks 30th in the league in third down conversion percent (31.6), ahead of only Chicago and San Francisco.
The struggle on third down this year comes one year after the team led the league in third down situations. Last season, the Vikings converted 52.3 percent of their third down conversions.
"We've just got to continue to look at what we're doing, how we're doing it and who we're getting the ball to," Head Coach Mike Tice said.
"We've got to get ourselves into more third and shorts," quarterback Brad Johnson said. "We are pretty good in third and two to five. Where we struggle is third and six to ten, third and plus, third and plus you are almost hopeless.
Keith Newman will be out again this week. The team didn't expect him back until the Jan. 1 game versus the Bears at the earliest. It is possible that the knee won't be healed enough for Newman to return for the remainder of the regular season. Newman did say, however, that his knee is improving.
Four Vikings are listed as probable for Sunday's game at Baltimore. Punter Chris Kluwe is expected to play, as he continues to recover from a knee and ankle injury. Special teams player Heath Farwell is also listed as probable. He has been battling a knee injury as well. Safety Corey Chavous (ankle) and cornerback Fred Smoot (shoulder) are also both expected to play at Baltimore.
Melvin Fowler's sprained ankle continues to give him trouble this week at practice. He is listed as questionable on the injury reports. If Fowler can't go, Cory Withrow will replace him in the starting lineup. Marcus Johnson's sprained ankle is slow to heal as well, and he was walking around Winter Park in a protective boot on Wednesday. If he is unable to play, Mike Rosenthal will start in his spot.
Tight end Jermaine Wiggins suffered a sprained ankle in last week's game versus Pittsburgh. The ankle is still sore but he is expected to start Sunday against the Ravens.
YAY lets Make the crows eat crow!
12-25-2005, 04:54 PM #2
Re: Vikings notebook from Vikings.com
Good article!"The pen is mightier than the sword"
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