Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
After Minnesota’s 27-13 victory at Detroit, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:
Yes, you read it correctly Sunday: Backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was included in part of a new punt coverage scheme at Ford Field. Jackson was one of three gunners on each side. I can only assume it was an effort to put something on tape for future opponents, but if there was a grand scheme involved, Jackson didn’t know what it was when I asked him in the locker room. Someone asked coach Brad Childress about it, but I don’t know how much light his answer will shed. “It was a plus-50 and what it does is it makes them check their rush a little bit and some point and time the ball’s got an opportunity to come back to him if we get a look we’re looking for," Childress said. "…. [G]enerally it’s going to get you a fair catch and no return.” I think what Childress was trying to say is that there could be a play where the formation shifts to Jackson playing a quarterback. By using him on a regular punt, he warned future opponents against assuming a fake punt is on the way if they see Jackson coming on the field. As for the risk to Jackson in coverage, Childress is suggesting that there is rarely a return involved when the line of scrimmage is near the 50-yard line.
Want to know how intent Adrian Peterson is on delivering a blow? Re-watch his run around left end in the third quarter Sunday. As he approached the sidelines, Peterson saw Lions safety Louis Delmas preparing to go low on a tackle. Peterson lowered his shoulder to about a foot off the ground and drilled Delmas’ helmet. It was totally unnecessary and totally awesome at the same time.
I was stunned when I looked at the postgame stat sheet and saw that receiver Bernard Berrian had six receptions. Those had to be the quietest six-catch performance in Berrian’s career, but he said afterwards he is “communicating very nicely” with new quarterback Brett Favre. Berrian missed most of the preseason and didn’t start working with Favre in game situation until last week. So it will be interesting to see when – and if – Favre starts looking to utilize Berrian’s deep speed.
And here is one question I’m still asking:
Does Favre still have the arm to throw a 60-yard bomb? I have no reason to think he doesn’t, except for the fact that we really haven’t seen him try it since he signed with the Vikings in mid-August. He’s gunning his short passes with strong velocity, but he really hasn’t let many loose from a downfield perspective. Is that because of the pass rush? Play-calling? Or an acknowledgement that his arm his almost 40 years old? Childress said Monday that he has no concerns about Favre’s arm strength. Opposing defenses aren’t convinced yet. They’re still stacking the line to stop Peterson.