The Vikings Red Zone Review, Sponsored by Comcast

Time to take one final look back at the Vikings' last game against the Baltimore Ravens by doing a review of how they did in the red zone.  And, as always, this look at the Vikings' red zone prowess is brought to you by the folks at Comcast, the providers of the NFL's Red Zone channel.  The Red Zone channel is, bar none, the best way cable TV offers you to keep track of all the biggest plays and all the huge scores at one time.  Red zone success is a big indicator of team success, and nobody is more successful in bringing you the biggest and most important plays of the day than the Comcast Red Zone channel.

So, how did the Vikings do against the Ravens in the Red Zone?  Not nearly as well as they did the previous week, obviously, but they still fared pretty well.

Viking red zone trips - 6
Viking red zone scores - 6 (3 TD, 3 FG)
Red zone touchdown percentage - 50%

The Viking red zone offense got themselves off to a quick start on their opening drive, highlighted by a 26-yard run by Adrian Peterson on the game's second play to put the Vikings into Raven territory.  A pass to Sidney Rice got the Vikings into the red zone, and after a three-yard loss by Chester Taylor, Brett Favre hit Visanthe Shiancoe for a 19-yard touchdown strike.  Favre completed all three of his passes on the drive for 38 yards.  The drive went 61 yards in six plays, took 3:35 off the clock, and put the Vikings ahead 7-0.

After forcing a three-and-out by the Ravens, Minnesota started with good field position at their own 40, and Favre went to work again, completing four out of five passes on the ensuing drive, each going to a different receiver.  The capper came on a four-yard slant to Bernard Berrian for his second touchdown pass of the day to put the Vikings up 14-0.  Favre accounted for 53 of the 60 yards on the drive, one took seven plays and took 3:21 off of the clock.

Then the Vikings spent the rest of the first half not doing much, as they scored no more points before halftime.  Exciting, no?

In fact the Vikings didn't have another red zone opportunity until near the end of the third quarter.  On the first play after the Ravens scored a touchdown to cut the score to 17-10, Favre hit Sidney Rice on a slant that #18 turned into a huge 63-yard catch-and-run to put the Vikings at the Baltimore 8.  Unfortunately, the Vikings couldn't do anything more than that, and had to settle for a 22-yard Ryan Longwell field goal to make the score 20-10.  That drive took five plays to move 67 yards and 2:08 off the clock.

On the Vikings' next drive, the Vikings seemed content to move the ball methodically down the field, until they got to the midfield stripe.  Then, they got a huge pass interference penalty on Ravens' cornerback Frank Walker to move the ball to the Baltimore 2-yard line.  After a couple of Adrian Peterson rushing attempts, Favre struck again for this third touchdown pass of the afternoon, this one a one yard toss to Visanthe Shiancoe.  The drive moved 80 yards in ten plays, taking 5:42 off the clock and making the score 27-10. . .a result that should have iced the game for Minnesota.  However, as we all know, it did not.

After a Baltimore drive that took 1:33 and ended in a Mark Clayton TD catch, the Vikings got another huge play, as Adrian Peterson took a handoff around the left side and went 58 yards, racing down to the Baltimore 15-yard line.  Again, however, the Vikings could advance no farther, and settled for another Longwell field goal, this one from 29 yards away to make the score 30-17.  The drive went 61 yards in five plays and took only 2:33 off the clock.  This one, also, should have iced the game for Minnesota.  But, again. . .it did not.

However, the Vikings weren't done making red zone trips yet.  After the Ravens got not one, but two more touchdowns (sandwiched around a Minnesota three-and-out) to put themselves up 31-30, Favre went to work again, firing a laser to Sidney Rice for 58 yards down to the Baltimore 18 yard line.  After making the Ravens use their remaining time outs, coach Brad Childress chose to go the conservative route, electing to hand the ball to Adrian Peterson on third-and-9 rather than risk an incomplete pass and giving the Ravens more time to respond.  Peterson didn't get the first down, but Ryan Longwell came on to convert his fourth field goal of the day, this one coming from 31 yards away to give the Vikings what proved to be the final margin of victory, 33-31.  The final Minnesota drive took six plays to move 66 yards and took 1:41 off the clock.

For the season, the Vikings have made 21 trips to the red zone, and on all 21 occasions they have come away with points.  Twelve of those trips have resulted in touchdowns, a 57% conversion rate, and Ryan Longwell has tossed in nine field goals as well.  Defensively, the Ravens only made two trips into the red zone, with one of those resulting in a touchdown (a 12-yard TD pass to Derrick Mason) and the other in a field goal.  That means that, for the season, Viking opponents have entered the red zone 14 times, with only five of those trips resulting in touchdowns.  Four of those have resulted in field goals, and five have resulted in the Vikings' opponent not scoring any points at all.

Yep, success in the red zone for your team and no success in the red zone for the bad guys.  Sounds like a pretty good recipe for success to me, and it's a big part of the reason that the Minnesota Vikings currently stand at 6-0.

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