After Minnesota’s 35-9 victory over Seattle, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:
This might only interest me. But by my count, backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has taken 48 snaps this season in garbage time replacement duty for starter Brett Favre. The Vikings are averaging 64.4 plays per game, meaning Jackson has already played the equivalent of three quarters this season. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s one way the Vikings have been able to keep Favre fresh this season and, potentially, for the playoffs. If this pace continues for the final six games, Favre will have missed the equivalent of more than a game’s worth of snaps and potential wear and tear. Just some grist for the mill, especially to the naysayers who have noted Favre’s late-season struggles in recent years.
I didn’t get to it last week, but our friends at Football Outsiders elevated Minnesota’s special teams to their No. 1 overall ranking in the NFL through 10 weeks. It’s a complicated formula, but basically it compares each team’s performance to the NFL average in multiple categories specific to special teams. Percy Harvin’s arrival has certainly helped, but so has the acquisition of a handful of other players who are excelling on special teams. One is rookie safety Jamarca Sanford, who forcefully stripped the ball from Seattle returner Ben Obomanu in the second quarter. Updated special-teams statistics aren’t available yet, but unofficially Sanford has nine special-teams tackles in eight games this season.
Chester Taylor’s 73-yard performance was a reminder that he is fresh and still available for spot duty whenever needed. The Vikings have been trying to work Adrian Peterson into more passing situations, and that along with Harvin’s emergence has seemed to minimize Taylor’s role. But Taylor has always provided a reliable change in running style from Peterson’s hard-charging pace. And no, we didn’t miss Taylor and Peterson in the backfield at the same time Sunday. It’s a welcome wrinkle we have always advocated around these parts.
And here’s one question I’m still asking:
Is Ray Edwards finally establishing himself as a consistent playmaking defensive end? A week after notching two sacks against the Lions, and losing a third to penalty, Edwards had three tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He helped the defense limit Seattle to 212 total yards and 10 first downs, season lows in both categories. Edwards has the luxury of playing alongside three 2008 Pro Bowlers, but he has the speed, strength and aggression to routinely make big plays in single matchups with offensive linemen.