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Cordarrelle Patterson jet sweeps an effective offensive wrinkle

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 14:16
Watching Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson used on two jet sweeps plays was an interesting, and effective, wrinkle incorporated by offensive coordinator Norv Turner during the 34-6 victory over the Rams in Week 1 on Sunday. Turner used Thursday’s press conference to temper expectations, however, noting that those types of trick plays aren’t reliable on a weekly basis. “Those plays I think when they happen are exciting and they’re great; you can’t count on those,” Turner said. “A guy like Cordarrelle is capable of doing that with his physical ability.” Patterson said the jet sweep isn’t new to him. It’s a play he’s done since junior college and his one season at Tennessee. He’s not even sure if he’ll get a carry this week against Patriots given the unpredictably of Turner’s offense. “You just can’t focus on one guy,” Patterson said. “Like me, I might not get no balls or no kickoff returns this week. It really don’t matter to me as long as my team’s successful and as long as we win. We know we’re going to be good. You can’t worry about yourself all the time, you’ve got to think about your team.” But it’s a good tool to break out for the Vikings, as teams have to account for running back Adrian Peterson and Patterson on the play. Here’s a good breakdown on those plays and how the Seahawks used wide receiver Percy Harvin on fly sweep plays against the Packers in a similar fashion. While Patterson’s 67-yard touchdown run has been replayed constantly on sports highlight shows, Turner was more impressed with his two jet sweep runs that went for 23 and 13 yards. “Those first two runs were physical runs where he was physical at the line of scrimmage,” Turner said. “He had to break a tackle. We got him going, the offensive line, backs, Matt, all those guys, the tight ends on that long run, like a kickoff return, they got him 15, 18 yards downfield before he had to go to work. If you can get him that much room, you’ve seen him more than I have on those kickoff returns, on those space plays where he just takes off and goes.”
Categories: Local

Thursday (The NFL's trust problem) edition: Wha' Happened?

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:07
The NFL has a trust problem. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe Americans will just keep watching games, setting our fantasy lineups and throwing down beers to wash the week away. If there was a smart bet, actually, it would be on this exact thing happening after the NFL is done recoiling from the colossal mess it has made of the Ray Rice investigation. But maybe it does matter because, honestly — strangely — this is the first time we’ve really looked at the NFL with the kind of glance that says, “eh, maybe we don’t really need this?” And we don’t think we’re alone. It didn’t happen with other scandals. We said “strangely” in that last paragraph because it probably should have happened to us with all the news of brain injuries and how the NFL has handled that.  But it didn’t. Maybe this feels more front-and-center. Maybe, as we’ve noted before, perceptions change when you become a father. Maybe there’s just enough outrageous behavior and concrete evidence mixed with suspicion that the league is making things up as it goes along — ingredients that make it impossible to ignore. If you never questioned the NFL before, that has likely changed. If you had a vague distrust of the league before, that has likely escalated. And if you’ve been suspicious of the league for a while, you are ready to welcome others onto the bandwagon. The league says until this week it never saw the full tape of Rice knocking his then-fiance out with a punch on an elevator. The AP refutes that with a source, and anything the NFL says beyond that is flimsy at best. The league says it will conduct an independent investigation of the handling of this entire matter … and then names TWO NFL OWNERS as the ones who will oversee it. As Alec Sulkin tweeted perfectly, “I wonder if the NFL will let the NFL get away with this.” The NFL couldn’t have gotten the tape if it wanted to because it was illegal? Wrong again! If you dig a hole deep enough, maybe you wind up back at the top? It stands to reason that we shouldn’t believe anything the NFL has said or done up to this point in this matter. And that calls into question whether we should ever believe anything league says or does ever again. That’s a trust problem. Can we still support a league we don’t trust? Can we separate the failures at the top from the game that is so ingrained in us? Should we even want to? Those are questions we will legitimately struggle with going forward.
Categories: Local

Bierman Field Athletic Building gets basketball upgrades

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 11:57
Minnesota coach Richard Pitino isn't waiting for a practice facility.
Categories: Local

Twins-Indians: Old school doubleheader day

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:48
The Twins make up yesterday's rain-out today as part of a traditional doubleheader
Categories: Local

Vikings 4 Downs: Patterson, Vikings defense, Zimmer's scheme, Champ Bailey

Star Tribune Sports - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:14
@MasterStrib Is Patterson a legit, consistent big-play threat or will he be an erratic hit-or-miss type player? #VikingsST — Anthony Reda (@anthonyjreda) September 11, 2014 Though he’s only in his second season, Patterson is a legitimate big play threat when the ball is in his hands. Patterson has scored a touchdown in his last six games dating back to last season, including the 67-yard touchdown run against the Rams on Sunday. He’s got incredible vision when he’s out in open space. Just look at his previous five touchdowns to end last season: Week 13: 33-yard run against the Bears Week 14: 79-yard bubble screen against the Ravens Week 15: 5-yard catch against the Eagles Week 16: 35-yard run against the Bengals Week 17: 50-yard run against the Lions None of these touchdowns are 15-yard routes that Patterson’s breaking for big gains, though he has improved as a route runner. Patterson is a threat in the end zone, the backfield and on screens because of his height, speed, vision and elusiveness. It’s why he says it often – give him the ball and watch him make a play. He says it often because it’s true. Patterson is a playmaker. @MasterStrib has the defense improved that much or was it down to the Rams poor offense? #VikingsST — Barry Bolton (@rhinos69) September 10, 2014 That’s still difficult to process after just one game. But in that one game, the Vikings defense looked better than anything we saw last season. If that was a product of facing an offense with Shaun Hill at quarterback remains to be seen, but the Vikings were able to stop running back Zac Stacy and bring pressure on pass situations. They’ve already surpassed their win total on the road from last season, and it’s really all due to their defense. Cornerback Josh Robinson had two plays, a third down stop that resulted in a missed field goal that the Vikings eventually scored three points on and an interception right before the first half, that helped produced 10 points. Safety Harrison Smith also returned an interception for a touchdown. It’s the biggest thing I took away from the game when the defense can contribute to half the points scored in that manner. We’ll have a better understanding of where the defense stands over the next two weeks facing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Saints quarterback Drew Brees. It was a good game, but it’s only one game. @MasterStrib @ArifHasanNFL oops my bad, 1more Zimmer today stated team + scheme is in infancy of development. Does it take 1 yr? #vikingsST — Matt Holmes (@MattHolmes2) September 11, 2014 It depends on the situation and the personnel inherited and obtained. The Vikings did a good job in the offseason identifying players that fit head coach Mike Zimmer’s scheme, especially the acquisition of nose tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and re-signing defensive end Everson Griffen.I’ll be completely honest here by saying I didn’t expect rookie linebacker Anthony Barr to make an immediate impact when he was drafted. I don’t want to overreact, but based off what we’ve seen in training camp, preseason and now Week 1, he looks like the face of this Vikings defense down the road. Barr embodies that aggressive style Zimmer likes, and it was a treat just to watch him in pursuit on plays. Even with some of the pieces the Vikings have, everything is still new to them at this point. It could take a year, could take two years, but I think by Year 3 the defense should be capable of functioning to the highest expectations Zimmer has if the front office continues to build on the pieces in place. Using Zimmer’s tenure as a defensive coordinator with the Cowboys as an example, head coach Bill Parcells waited until his third season in Dallas to switch to a 3-4 defense because the team had enough pieces to make the transition. I’m not saying Zimmer will follow suit with the same plan in Minnesota, but developing a scheme to produce a consistent defense takes time. @MasterStrib @VikingsCorner Do you think the Vikings are interested in Champ Bailey? #VikingsST — Colin Nelson (@ColinNelson79) September 11, 2014 This isn’t the Champ Bailey you’re thinking of anymore. That guy is in the history books. You can go ahead and temporarily remove that perception, just for a brief period, until Bailey retires and eventually gets into the Hall of Fame. Bailey’s prime is in the rear-view mirror and doesn’t look closer than it appears. While there are depth issues at the position, especially if Xavier Rhodes (groin) can’t play on Sunday, Bailey played five games last season in Denver and dealt with a foot injury during training camp with the Saints before he was cut. I’m not sure how a 36-year old cornerback that can’t stay healthy and has never played under Zimmer would be a good fit for the Vikings.
Categories: Local

U's Streveler is ready to go, ready to throw

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:33
Chris Streveler will step in at QB for the Gophers if Mitch Leidner’s knee isn’t sufficiently healed to play.
Categories: Local

Brady and Belichick have been too good for too long

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:19
Mike Zimmer has warned his team: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady don’t take to losing. That makes them extra dangerous Sunday.
Categories: Local

Gophers star Kessel to miss season because of concussion symptoms

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:06
The forward suffered a concussion before the Winter Olympics and symptoms continue.
Categories: Local

Hands-on approach working with Twins' Arcia

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 21:27
Adjustments at the plate urged by hitting coach Tom Brunansky lead to more solid swings.
Categories: Local

Hartman: Vikings' line coach Davidson learned much from Belichick

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 21:19
The Vikings offensive line coach worked under the detail-oriented, successful Patriots coach.
Categories: Local

Kill and Streveler say they expect Leidner to play Saturday at TCU

Star Tribune Sports - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 20:01
Jerry Kill said quarterback Mitch Leidner "practice hard" Wednesday.
Categories: Local

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