Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Three Stars and Some Links

Ok, so I promised that I'd have these up Monday Afternoon, but, well, I'm still waiting on a new computer (my personal one is broken) and I got swamped at work. That doesn't mean there weren't stars of the game, though! Oh no, don't you worry. We're going to have a consensus MVP this year even if it kills us (and no, I don't think that crowning the Purple Jesus as MVP will kill us). So let's take a look at the three Vikings that turned in the best performances against the Niners. Without them, who knows if the Purple would have done something they'd never done in their 707 regular season game, by winning their third straight game by at least twenty points.

Third Star: Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams' impact on the game can be almost completely described by describing one play. Aside from his interception return for a touchdown, however, he only assisted on one tackle. Of course, Kevin Williams impacts the play even if he isn't making tackles or sacking the quarterback. And he really impacts the play when he makes the fourth interception of his career and returns it for a touchdown, the fourth of his career, effectively ending the game on the 49ers first real play from scrimmage.

2nd Star: Chester Taylor
On a day when Adrian Peterson was held to 2 yards and 14 carries, Taylor rushed for 101 yards, most of which came on an 83 yard touchdown run, the longest by any back so far this season. He has 716 yards so far on the season, and could join Peterson in the 1,000 yard club if he can average 95 yards a game over the final three games of the season. He's been averaging 70.8 yards per game since his return from injury, so it's not outside of the realm of possibility, especially if he breaks off a few more runs like his 84 yarder.

1st Star: Pat Williams
Did you know, that, after handing out 12 weeks worth of stars, Pat Williams has only managed to be recognized once? He was the 2nd Star against the Raiders, accumulating 9 tackles and helping hold Oakland's rushing attack to only 2.26 yards per carry on 27 carries. I can't help but think that I've somehow overlooked the man who might be the most important player on the Vikings' vaunted run defense. That's not an issue this week, however, as it's not possible to overlook someone who had five tackles, a sack (thankfully for Trent Dilfer's health, Big Pat got him with an arm tackle instead of using his full weight) and an interception. Sadly, he didn't get a chance to show off the open field skills he was bragging about to the announcers before the game.

  • Gonzo from the Daily Norseman is ecstatic about da Bears starting Kyle Orton. As am I. As am I. (Special thanks to Deadspin for all of the pictures).

  • Grant's Tomb and Vikes Geek both tried to explain why the Vikings had so much trouble running against a pretty poor Niners run defense. Personally, I think it had a lot to do with the Niners blitzing a lot on first and second down, which would explain why Peterson and Taylor were tackled for losses seven different times, with Peterson going down behind the backfield six times. It seemed that every time Peterson was in during a running situation, the Niners brought the house. If there's one thing that Childress needs to spend the week on, it's figuring out how to adjust to that strategy, because it will almost certainly be emulated from here on out.

  • Football Outsiders has the Vikings with a 65.9% chance of making the playoffs. Sports Club Stats has them with a 43% chance. Neither site has any of the teams trailing the Vikings in the Wild Card race with odds that high. In fact, only the Saints have a better than 1 in 5 chance, as Football Outsiders and Sports Club Stats have them at 23.3% and 20.1% respectively.

  • A nice little satire piece: "Vikings fined for having Adrian Peterson wear Chester Taylor's uniform". It would have worked better if Taylor's 84 yard run on Sunday wasn't the longest in the NFL so far this year and his 95 yard run against Seattle wasn't the longest run last year.

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