You know, I keep saying that I'm going to do these earlier in the week, and then the week goes by and I totally forget to do it until Friday or Saturday. I need to set one of those Outlook reminders or something, I think.
But, in any case, it's time for us to take one last look back at the Vikings' game against the Dallas Cowboys by reviewing how they performed when they got inside the Red Zone both offensively and defensively.
On offense, the Vikings managed to get the ball into the Red Zone three times, and they made good on all three occasions. Their first trip into the Red Zone came in the first quarter, after E.J. Henderson's first interception of Tony Romo allowed the Vikings to set up shop at the Dallas 16-yard line. Three plays later, Brett Favre found Greg Camarillo for Camarillo's first touchdown as a member of the Minnesota Vikings from 10 yards out, and the Vikings tied the game at seven.
Minnesota didn't venture into the Red Zone offensively again until late in the third quarter, on a possession that was set up by a combination of Chris Kluwe's punting and the Vikings' defense holding the Cowboys deep in their own territory. Minnesota took over at the Dallas 49-yard line to start the drive, and an unlikely candidate got the Vikings into the Red Zone. On a play that started with a bad snap, Favre remained calm and flipped a little swing pass to Jim Kleinsasser, who rumbled for 20 yards down to the Dallas 12 on third and four. Three handoffs later. . .two to Adrian Peterson, and one to Percy Harvin. . .the NFL's best running back found himself in the end zone for the fourth time this year, and the Vikings had taken the lead at 21-14.
The last Minnesota Red Zone possession also got its genesis from an E.J. Henderson interception, as the Vikings started out at the Dallas 30. The didn't move the ball all that far, as they only picked up 15 yards, but it was enough to set Ryan Longwell up for a 38-yard field goal to give the Vikings a 24-21 lead and their final margin of victory. The drive probably should have ended in a touchdown, but a rare drop by Randy Moss in the front corner of the end zone limited the Vikings to three.
So, the Vikings' offense improved their Red Zone percentage on the season in their game against the Cowboys. Now, through five games, the Vikings' offense has gotten into the Red Zone eleven times. In those 11 trips, they've put up five touchdowns (45.4%), put up three Ryan Longwell field goals (27.2%), and failed to score three times (27.2%).
The Vikings' defense, on the other hand, got a bit worse after Sunday's game. . .while they only allowed the Cowboys into the Red Zone two times, both of those drives resulted in touchdown passes to Roy Williams from Tony Romo. So, through the first five games, Vikings' opponents have found themselves in the Red Zone on thirteen occasions. In those thirteen drives, Minnesota opponents have reached the end zone five times (38.5%), settled for five field goals (38.5%), and failed to score three times (23%).
The Vikings will improve in the Red Zone on both sides of the ball tomorrow night against the Green Bay Packers.