Taking One Last Look At The Arizona Game

By far and away, my favorite Vikings recaps. . .other than the incomparable Stock Market Report, natch. . .are the ones put together by Tom Pelissero at 1500 ESPN. They're so incredibly detailed and thorough that it reminds me of exactly why I want to do the sportswriting thing for a living one of these days.

In taking a last look back at Sunday's contest between the Arizona Cardinals and the Minnesota Vikings, I'm going to crib a few things from Pelissero's most recent work here. We'll start with his look at the QB situation, where he gives us the obvious.

Donovan McNabb still isn't making any plays down the field, and now, coaches apparently don't even trust him to try.

The more I thought about it and tried to recall. . .did the Vikings even attempt more than one pass that went more than 20 yards in the air? I mean, McNabb had the two completions to Aromashodu, one of which went for 21 yards, but the 60-yarder only traveled about 15 yards in the air, and Rashad Johnson's faceplant allowed him to turn it into a huge game. McNabb completed 10-of-21 on the afternoon for 169 yards. . .take away those two plays, and he was 8-of-19 for 88 yards, which is 11 yards per completion and an absolutely awful 4.6 yards/attempt.

I know that the offense went into this one without alleged deep threat Bernard Berrian, but damn. . .there aren't many games where you're going to be able to get away without even attempting a pass deeper than twenty yards. Don't get me wrong, I know that the odds of McNabb completing a pass deeper than twenty yards are somewhere between slim and none. . .and I think I just saw Slim ask for his check. . .but you have to at least take a shot at it at some point, don't you?

More after the jump.

Let's move on to a brief look at the receivers, where we learn about the impact that Percy Harvin had despite only having two touches for 23 yards in Sunday's game.

Even when Percy Harvin (40 snaps) barely touches the ball, he can make a difference. Look no further than how he turned around FS Kerry Rhodes on Peterson's first TD and kept his hands on SS Adrian Wilson all the way to the end zone on Peterson's second. Harvin's hustle alone was worth a game ball, even if one block aggravated his longstanding rib problem.

According to Pelissero's numbers, the Cardinals put a safety in the box on nearly 80% of the Vikings' snaps and tended to play off on the edges, so that could explain why Harvin didn't get a lot of catches or targets on Sunday. But it goes to show how much more versatile Harvin is than even we realize. Yes, he catches the ball. . .yes, he runs with the ball. . .yes, he returns kickoffs. He's also turned himself into a pretty bad-ass blocker for a guy his size.

Looking at what Pelissero had to say about the linebackers, apparently there was a sequence in the second quarter where the Vikings' defense only had ten men on the field twice in the span of four plays, the second of which resulted in a 13-yard completion to Andre Roberts on third-and-11. We're five weeks into the season. . .communication has got to be better than that.

Also in the linebacker portion, he notes that E.J. Henderson only saw action on 22 snaps in this one. Don't get me wrong. . .we all love E.J. and admire the hell out of him for the way he came back from his nasty injury and the way he plays the game. Unfortunately, he's a free agent at the end of the year, and I can't help but think that this is his last season in Minnesota. Coverage has never been his strong suit, and if he's going to have perpetual swelling in his knee because of the metal rod that was put in his leg after his injury, it's not going to get any better. It makes me sad to say that, and I hope that I'm wrong.

There were plenty of good things to read about the secondary, too, particularly the part about Chris Cook not allowing a completion of more than seven yards all afternoon. However, I'll conclude with Pelissero stating the obvious once again.

SS Tyrell Johnson (28) got two series and inexplicably abandoned the middle third as Housler streaked for a would-be 22-yard touchdown Kolb overthrew. What's the point?

I don't know, Tom. . .I just don't know. Seriously, put Tyrell Johnson and Bernard Berrian in the same taxi to Minneapolis-St. Paul International, give Mistral Raymond some run at safety, play Aromashodu as your deep threat, and move Emmanuel Arceneaux up from the practice squad or something.

And, with that, we can move our primary focus on to our opponent next week, the Chicago Bears.

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