Our friends over at Pride of Detroit found this one before we did, so I have to give them credit for that.
Most NFL teams generally don't go into a game expecting to score on special teams. In the National Football League this year, through four weeks of the season (with the Monday night game still to go), there have been seven kick return touchdowns so far, and seven punt return touchdowns. I haven't computed exactly how many kickoffs and punts there have been in the NFL so far this season, but kick and/or punt return touchdowns are still a pretty rare occurrence.
That makes this quote from Leslie Frazier from today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune all the more surprising.
"In our first special teams kickoff return meeting, we saw some things," coach Leslie Frazier said. "And we pointed out that if everybody holds their block, Percy's going to score. It was obvious."
As practiced, Harvin immediately veered right across the field and waited for 10 teammates to seal the Lions' coverage. With key blocks, first from Matt Asiata and Rhett Ellison and then from Tyrone McKenzie and Robert Blanton, Harvin made two simple moves and raced untouched up the right sideline.
You saw that right. Coach Frazier thought it was "obvious" that the Vikings could get a kick return touchdown if everyone held their blocks on the return that Mike Priefer had drawn up. That's a pretty bold statement to make.
(Incidentally, I didn't know that Mike Priefer's father, Chuck Priefer, was a special teams coach in the NFL as well, and in fact was the Lions' special teams coach from 1997 to 2006, when he retired.)
The Vikings have obviously put a great deal of value on their special teams since the disastrous 2008 season, when they fielded what was (by pretty much every measure) the worst special teams units in the history of the franchise. Kudos to the front office for seeing the value of special teams, and to Coach Priefer for getting them coached up. They've been looking pretty outstanding through the first four games, and are a big part of the reason the Vikings currently sit at 3-1 right now.