The week of practice is over and the Vikings are set for their season-opener on Monday night in San Francisco. Here's what we learned this week about the Vikings as they prepared for Week 1.
Sullivan was placed on IR but could return mid-seasonThe Vikings will welcome back to the lineup RB Adrian Peterson on Monday. But they learned this week that they will be without C John Sullivan for this game and six games after that. The veteran lineman underwent a lumbar microdiscectomy on Wednesday, causing the Vikings to place him on the Reserve/Injured (designated for return) List.
While on the list, Sullivan cannot practice and does not count against the team's 53-man roster limit. He can return to practice after six weeks and to games after eight. Teams are permitted to use the IR/Designated for Return tag once per season.
The "Pirate" stuntDefensive linemen like cause chaos for opposing QBs. But Vikings Radio Network analyst Pete Bercich explained that in order to do so against athletic and mobile QBs such as San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick, pass rushers can't be chaotic. Instead, the must be smart and disciplined in their rush lanes.
A lack of discipline in rushing the passer could cause a loss of contain, thus allowing the QB to break out of the pocket and pick up yardage with his legs. Kaepernick is as good as it gets in the NFL at doing just this.
In his regular Vikings GamePlan segment, called the Menards Film Room, Bercich used game film from a 49ers preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys to explain one technique teams can utilize to draw the balance between rushing the passer to cause chaos but also rushing in a disciplined, smart manner.
Jarius Wright will be a Viking for a whileThe news of Sullivan going to the IR-Designated for Return List came on Thursday. But it wasn't only bad news on Thursday.
That is the day we learned WR Jarius Wright and the Vikings agreed to a contract extension that will keep the diminutive and versatile receiver in Minnesota for the foreseeable future. Wright was a part of an impressive Vikings 2012 draft class that also includes these current Vikings: LT Matt Kalil, S Harrison Smith, CB Josh Robinson, TE Rhett Ellison, S Robert Blanton, K Blair Walsh and LB Audie Cole.
Super Bowl, 2,500 yards are on Peterson's mindPeterson has never been shy about setting ambitious goals. This year is no different, as this week he told reporters in the locker room that his goal is to rush for 2,500 yards. But Peterson is always intentional about explaining his top goal is a team goal – to win the Super Bowl.
As for Monday night, Peterson didn't shy away from the fact that he's excited to get back out on the field. But he also explained that he will do his best to channel that excitement into focusing on his specific jobs, as well.
"I'm looking forward to it. That's kind of what I've been saying, just trying to keep it inside and not get too excited," Peterson said. "It's hard, but I know from the past when I go into a game and I'm too wired up, you forget about your principles when you're out there being slow, and then things develop. When that first snap comes, whenever it is, first play, second, third play, second series, I don't know. I'll take a deep breath and be ready to roll."
Team CaptainsIn recent years, the Vikings have not had traditional season-long captains and instead of opted to go the game-to-game route. That will change this year. Four team captains were named and they will wear the "C" patch on their jerseys.
The four captains are QB Teddy Bridgewater, LB Chad Greenway, DE Everson Griffen and RB Adrian Peterson.
Teddy can impersonate Charles Barkley (and it's pretty good)Vikings Connected is a social media-drive TV show that was new last year. In its second season, Vikings Connected has debuted a new segment called "Words With Teammates." The first installment of the new segment featured Bridgewater and WR Mike Wallace.
Check it out. If you do, you'll see Bridgewater give a very good impersonation of NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.
Terence Newman will now wear jersey No. 23For years, CB Terence Newman wore jersey No. 23. But he wasn't able to wear that number upon his arrival in Minnesota because RB Joe Banyard had it. Banyard was waived after the preseason, opening up the number. Newman has pounced on it and will wear 23 for the season.