After Minnesota’s 27-10 victory over Detroit, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:
Vikings coach Brad Childress was so upset about a third-quarter roughing call on defensive end Ray Edwards that he called Mike Pereira, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, immediately after the game. And I mean immediately. The two had already spoken by the time Childress arrived for his news conference, no more than 15 minutes after the game. It was a tough call to accept if you’re a Vikings coach, player or fan. Edwards was fully airborne, with little ability to control his impact with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. And it’s questionable, at best, that Edwards hit Stafford’s helmet. Regardless, I think Childress’ reaction provides some interesting insight into both his game-day intensity and, frankly, obsession, with officiating. Let’s just say he and Pereira are well-acquainted by phone.
Edwards overpowered Lions right tackles Gosder Cherilus and Jon Jansen throughout the game and probably had his best performance as a pro. His unofficial stat line included five tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. That doesn’t include the sack and forced fumble he lost on the penalty described in the point above. I haven’t gone back and watched every play again, but I think it was pretty evident the Lions decided they weren’t going to allow defensive end Jared Allen to beat them and schemed their blocking accordingly. Allen was quiet, making it all the more important for Edwards to put that type of performance on tape. Future opponents will know there is a consequence for sliding all of your attention toward Allen.
Let’s give a tip of the cap to Rick Spielman, the Vikings vice president of player personnel, for making receiver Sidney Rice a semi-controversial second-round draft pick in 2007. The Vikings needed immediate receiver help at the time, and Spielman chose South Carolina’s Rice -- a 20-year-old project -- over the more experienced and well-known Dwayne Jarrett of USC. I’d say the decision worked out pretty well. Rice is on pace for a 78-catch, 1,400-yard season. In three years with Carolina, Jarrett has 26 receptions for 277 yards.
And here is one question I’m still asking:
Why did the Vikings hand the ball to backup fullback Jeff Dugan on a fourth-and-1 attempt in the second quarter? Actually, I’m cheating a little bit. I’m not asking that question anymore because I think I know the answer. Sunday, I suggested that Dugan has been pretty efficient in short-yardage plays throughout his career. Monday, I found the numbers to back it up. Prior to Sunday’s play, Dugan had converted seven of his eight career carries into first downs. On the play, Lions defensive tackle Grady Jackson crashed into the backfield and stopped Dugan. Jackson probably would have wrapped up tailback Adrian Peterson as well.