I'm going to start moving this feature up to earlier in the week in an effort to allow us to move on to the next game more quickly. So, with our weekly look back at the Vikings' red zone performance, here's this week's installment of the Vikings Red Zone Review. As always, the Vikings Red Zone Review is brought to you by the good folks at Comcast. Comcast brings you the NFL Red Zone channel every week, and it's your way to keep in touch with all the biggest plays from every NFL game week in and week out. It's great for fantasy players, or for the late games when you're not sure which game you want to view while celebrating the Vikings' latest conquest. The Red Zone Channel is your season ticket for every single NFL game, and nobody brings it to you like the folks at Comcast.
What kind of performance did the Vikings put together in the red zone last weekend? Let's have a look and find out. After all, with the kind of performance that the Vikings put together against Arizona, you could probably expect that this wouldn't take very long.
Vikings Red Zone trips - 2
Vikings Red Zone scores - 2 (1 TD, 1 FG)
Red Zone touchdown percentage - 50%
Speaking of not taking very long, it didn't take the Vikings long at all to find the red zone, as they did so on their very first drive. Benny Sapp forced a fumble from Tim Hightower on the Cardinals' second play from scrimmage, and the Vikings were immediately in business at the Arizona 47. Brett Favre and company immediately went to work, as an Adrian Peterson carry and a 5-yard catch by Percy Harvin gave Minnesota a first down, and an 11-yard completion to Sidney Rice gave them another. The Vikings moved into the red zone as Favre hit Bernard Berrian on a 3rd and 4 to get the ball to the 15, and a couple of plays later Harvin took a handoff down to the 3 to set up first and goal. From there, Favre dropped back and found Visanthe Shiancoe near the left sideline. At first, the referees ruled that Shank was out of bounds, but Brad Childress threw the challenge flag. After further review, it was decided that Shiancoe did make the catch and get both feet in bounds, giving the Vikings a touchdown. The 10-play, 47-yard drive took 4:25 off the clock and gave the Vikings an early 7-0 lead.
And after that, unfortunately, the Vikings' only other red zone appearance of the evening came just before halftime. After the Cardinals went up 14-7, the Vikings took over at their own 32 after a short kickoff that was fielded by Jeff Dugan. Minnesota immediately moved into Arizona territory on a 21-yard reception by Adrian Peterson, and Favre hit Harvin, Peterson, and Chester Taylor to get the ball close. An 11-yard carry for Peterson. . .his best of the night. . .took the ball to the Arizona 11, but the Vikings couldn't punch the ball in, and had to settle for a 25-yard Ryan Longwell field goal to cut the deficit to 14-10.
Minnesota's only other score came on a 31-yard pass from Favre to Percy Harvin to cut the final score to 30-17 and make the game appear closer than it had actually been.
So, the Vikings' offense made two trips into the red zone this weekend, giving them 45 for the year. In those 45 trips, they've scored 24 touchdowns (53.3%), gotten 15 field goals from Ryan Longwell (33.3%), and been held scoreless six times (13.3%). The Cardinals, on the other hand, made four trips into the red zone, but only got one touchdown in those four trips (after a huge punt return by LaRod Stephens-Howling). That means that Viking opponents have found their way into the red zone 28 times this season. They've allowed 11 touchdowns (39.3%), 11 field goals (39.3%), and kept their opponents scoreless six times (21.4%).
If the Vikings want to get on track next week against Cincinnati, they're going to need to make a lot more trips to the red zone, and convert those trips in the manner we've become accustomed to seeing.