Monday Morning Mailbag

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Monday Morning Mailbag

Posted Nov 11, 2013

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the vikings.com Mailbag! Every Monday during the season we’ll post several comments and/or questions as part of the vikings.com Monday Morning Mailbag feature. Although we can’t post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.

To submit a comment or question to the mailbag, send an email to Mike Wobschall at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net. Remember to include your name and town on the email.

 

Vikings

When I talked to my co-workers after Thursday’s win, all they could talk about was how furious they were that the Vikings used timeouts to stop the clock during Washington’s last drive. As a fan at the game, it didn't shock me that timeouts were called by Minnesota. Washington was pushing and had momentum building. From my seat, it seemed right to call time out, rest the defense for a few seconds, and make sure they had the proper setup. Have you heard any other outrage about this? Do you think the timeouts at the end played a role in the victory? Was it really that risky to call timeout and essentially give Washington a chance to organize?
-- Jared S.
St. Peter, MN

Ordinarily I would be a critic of what Leslie Frazier did in the final moments of Thursday’s win, but under the circumstances I thought calling timeouts on defense was a good move by the Vikings. A number of times this season the Vikings defense has given up a score in the exact scenario that was unfolding against Washington, and in many of those instances I feel a defensive timeout could’ve increased the Vikings chances of preventing a touchdown. Perhaps the best example of this is the Week 2 game at Chicago in which the Vikings gave up a touchdown to Martellus Bennett with 10 seconds to go on a play in which there was some uncertainty before the snap by Vikings defenders. A timeout there may have allowed the Vikings to be in a better defense. On top of all that, by calling timeouts when they did the Vikings were giving themselves time to put a last-second drive together to put Blair Walsh in scoring position should the Redskins have tied the game on their drive.

Another thing to remember on this topic is that stopping the clock on offense is not a problem; you don’t need timeouts to do that. The offense can stop the clock with a spike, with an incomplete pass and by running out of bounds. The defense can’t stop the clock unless they use a timeout. So from that standpoint, it makes more sense to err on the side of using timeouts on defense, which is actually what the Redskins did on the previous drive to preserve time for their final drive.

Vikings

Where did Andrew Sendejo come from? I think he's earned a spot as a starter beside Harrison Smith
-- Ian S.
Strasburg, VA

Sendejo actually began his career with the UFL’s Sacramento Mountain Lions and then broke into the NFL as a member of Dallas’ practice squad. He played in two games for Dallas in 2010, then had a cup of coffee with the New York Jets, and then signed with the Vikings at the end of November 2011. Sendejo played in three games for the Vikings in 2011 and then in 13 last season, including the wild card playoff game at Green Bay. He’s a core special teams contributor for the Vikings and was asked to step into the lineup when Jamarca Sanford was injured.

I can’t say he’s done enough to leapfrog Sanford as a starter, but I will agree he played well for the Vikings in Sanford’s stead, particularly in the second half last Thursday. He had a number of missed tackles in the first half but bounced back nicely and was a factor in the Vikings defensive turnaround in the second half.

Do you know why Toby Gerhart isn't used more in 3rd and short situations? To me, he could be a modern day Leroy Hoard, who was known for “if you need a yard, he'll give you three. And if you need five yards, he’ll give you three.”
-- Kris A.
Utah

A couple things here. First, the reason you don’t see Gerhart more in short-yardage situations is because the Vikings have the best running back in the NFL as their starter, and he’s a very good runner in short-yardage situations. Secondly, Gerhart is a more dynamic runner than Kris has described. He may not have the lateral agility that Peterson has, but he’s a shifty runner who is quicker than you think and he has the ability to make people miss while running with a north-south style. I actually think Gerhart is better in 3rd and long situations because A) he’s a good pass protector and B) he’s a good pass catcher out of the backfield.

I thought Christian Ponder played a heck of a game. The interception was bad, but he battled back each time the Vikings got the ball. The second half was AWESOME! To see Ponder make some excellent decisions and then to sacrifice his body for the near-touchdown was great. I hope that the Vikings can build off of this and win more games.
-- Dan G.

I agree. This was Ponder’s best game since the Week 17 win last season, and the Vikings would win a lot of games if they got that kind of performance from Ponder on a consistent basis. Also, I have no problem with his decision-making on the play he was injured. With a Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning, you’d want them to step out of bounds or give themselves up via the slide well before contact, but with Ponder, who is fighting to keep his job and is looking to establish himself, you love to see that competitiveness and grit. He laid his body out on the line, and in his own way that’s displaying leadership and showing his teammates how much he cares and how much he wants to win.

Great win! Proud of the team for coming together. With the defense making crucial plays and with Ponder playing with command and responding to the first drive turnover. Love the willingness to make plays. Too bad he got hurt, but glad Matt Cassel stepped up. All-around team win and proud of this team for showing heart and it finally paid off.
-- Luis L.
Tempe, AZ

It was a good all-around win, with the offense playing well throughout and the defense coming alive in the second half. But I’d be remiss not to mention the special teams. They dominated all night and while it took a second-half surge for the Vikings to win the game, it was great to see the special teams continue to play well and dominate for the duration of the game. Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer and assistant special teams coach Ryan Ficken have their guys playing at a high level right now.

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