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Week 5 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 38, St. Louis Rams 10


Minnesota Vikings

QB Brett Favre, Pass: 18 - 24 - 232 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rec: 1 - -2 - 0 (1 targets)

Brett Favre played another excellent game for the Vikings, leading them on several scoring drives and making smart plays left and right, keeping the defense guessing for most of the game. Favre again worked the short and medium passes, hitting Rice on several slant routes and getting Percy Harvin involved early with big plays to set up Peterson's initial score. Favre worked the deep part of the field a little more this game, throwing a rainbow to Harvin down the middle of the field and looking for Berrian and Rice down the deep sidelines. He played well the whole game, and although his interception was a clear case of him forcing the ball into coverage, it was only his second INT for the season. He was pulled in the 4th quarter to give TJAX some reps as the game was well in hand for the Vikings.

QB Tarvaris Jackson, Pass: 3 - 3 - 68 - 0 TD / 0 INT

Jackson came in during garbage time, midway through the fourth quarter and worked the offense well to wrap up the game. Jackson made smart decisions, set up the run with short passes and hit a nice screen to Chester Taylor to avoid a blitz from the Rams. He's not a threat to replace Favre any time soon, but is clearly learning from watching Favre run the offense.

RB Adrian Peterson, Rush: 15 - 69 - 2, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (2 targets)

A 'quiet' game for Peterson as the Vikings were out early and never looked back. Peterson's opening TD was an outside run to the wide side of the field where Peterson beat everyone to the corner. Later in the fourth quarter, he ran hard up the middle, breaking arm tackles and striking the final blow to St. Louis on his last TD. He had solid runs for most of the game, but was pulled on passing downs and missed most of the fourth quarter like Favre as the Vikings were running out the clock.

RB Chester Taylor, Rush: 9 - 20 - 1, Rec: 3 - 49 - 0 (3 targets)

Taylor had a solid performance as the 3rd down change of pace back for the Vikings and late in the fourth quarter as the Vikings were running out the clock. Taylor was used on many of the 2nd and long and 3rd and long sets, catching the short dump offs and trying to break them into bigger gains. He took over the primary duties at RB mid-way through the 4th quarter and kept the clock moving. He had a nice catch and run for 33 yards that set up his TD late in the game. Although he was stuffed the first two attempts on 1st and goal from the 1, he punched it into the end zone on his third attempt.

WR Percy Harvin, Rec: 4 - 66 - 0 (5 targets)

Harvin was a key component in getting the Vikings off to a quick start. He had two big plays on the opening drive, a short pass over the middle that he broke for a long gain and a deep pass down the sideline that he almost scored on. He was the target of several more deep passes later in the first half, but did not get involved much in the second half as the Vikings were looking to run out the clock. He was a decoy on a fake reverse as Favre tossed the ball to Visanthe Shiancoe for a nice screen. Aside from that, Harvin was only used as a kick returner for the few times that St. Louis was kicking off.

WR Bernard Berrian, Rec: 3 - 39 - 0 (6 targets)

Bernard Berrian had a quiet game for the Vikings. He made a few catches early in the game but in general was not involved in the offense much. He had one potential big play down the sidelines in the third quarter but the pass was out of bounds and he wasn't able to make the play.

WR Sidney Rice, Rec: 3 - 61 - 0 (5 targets)

Sidney Rice had another big game for the Vikings. He was their main target underneath the defense, working slants and corners to help the Vikings pick apart the defense and move the ball down the field. He also went deep on several plays, helping to stretch the defense out and take advantage of the poor coverage. He drew a big pass interference play early in the 4th quarter and had a golden opportunity to score on a 23 yard TD strike from Favre. However, he couldn't get both feet down and the Vikings eventually scored on a Peterson 8 yard run. He only finished with three receptions but was a big part of the offense and made the most of the catches that he had.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe, Rec: 4 - 49 - 1 (4 targets)

Shiancoe scored for the third time in four games for the Vikings and was a bigger part of the offense outside of the red zone as well. Shiancoe was targeted on short range passes where he was able to work the softer spots of the defense for nice gains. He had one particular play toward the sidelines where he fought and stretched for the first down. He was also used late in the game on a fake reverse to Harvin, where the real play was a screen to Shiancoe. He set up Peterson's second TD with several nice catch and run plays.


St. Louis Rams

QB Kyle Boller, Pass: 20 - 31 - 209 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 1 - 0

Boller moved the offense well for the Rams, but the turnovers deep in Viking Territory ultimately led to his removal. In the first quarter, on the fumble, Boller clearly dropped the ball as he was going back for the throw. Later in the first half, he and Steven Jackson couldn't connect on a goal line handoff and Jackson fumbled away the ball. Later he made a nice pass to Daniel Fells inside the five yard line but Fells was drilled from behind and coughed up the ball again. Boller's final turnover was the interception in the end zone where he forced the ball into coverage even though his WR was out of position. His performance wasn't as bad as his stats might indicate, but ultimately he was replaced by Bulger and will be the #2 QB after this week.

QB Marc Bulger, Pass: 7 - 7 - 88 - 1 TD / 0 INT

Much was made of Bulger's game time prep and that he was available to play if needed. After Boller threw the interception in the end zone, Bulger got his chance and came into the game during the garbage time in the fourth quarter. He made the most of it with short passes to keep the ball moving and a couple deeper passes to Donnie Avery. On Avery's TD receptions, the ball was short but Avery was able to make an adjustment and spin his way into the end zone. He'll be the starting QB next week for the Rams, but be warned that his stats were largely inflated due to garbage time play.

RB Steven Jackson, Rush: 21 - 84 - 0, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (3 targets)

The one bright spot of the Ram offense was Steven Jackson. Despite a tough Minnesota defense, Jackson was able to run the ball straight up the gut for medium and longer gains several times throughout the game. He nearly scored in the second quarter on a nice 13 yard run. It's unfortunate that he didn't because he fumbled the handoff on the next play and the Vikings took over. The Rams split him out at WR a couple times later in the game, but were unable to get him the ball. He broke a nice screen pass for 25 yards in the second quarter but the drive eventually ended up failing when Daniel Fells fumbled on the goal line again. Jackson is a big key to the Ram offense and they did not play well when he was on the sidelines.

RB Samkon Gado, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets)

Gado saw limited action in relief of Jackson. He had a couple nice runs late in the 2nd quarter but did not see much action after that.

WR Danny Amendola, Rec: 5 - 43 - 0 (5 targets)

Amendola was used primarily as a kick returner for the Rams, but saw action on the three and four WR sets later in the game. With the Rams trailing badly, they were forced to pass more and went with a few empty backfield sets. Amendola worked the inside of the field and the short sidelines, and came up with several receptions. He was also the primary kick returner for the Rams, which gives him an added dimension for leagues that award points for kick returns.

WR Donnie Avery, Rec: 5 - 87 - 1 (7 targets)

Avery had his first good game for the Rams this season. Unfortunately most of his stats were accumulated during garbage time on the final two drives. Marc Bulger clearly favors Avery over others and went to him on the long bomb for a TD late in the game. The pass was a little short, but Avery came back to make the catch and spin into the end zone. On the final play of the game, Bulger hit Avery on a 19 yard sideline pass that was high but Avery went up to make a nice catch. Boller also hit Avery earlier in the game on a nice designed roll out pass that found Avery deep down the sideline on 3rd and long. Avery is Bulger's go to guy and with Bulger in the starting lineup next week, Avery's stats should improve.

WR Keenan Burton, Rec: 5 - 42 - 0 (9 targets)

Burton had a quiet game despite racking up five receptions. He was used more as a sideline and quick slant receiver this game and he worked the defense well despite the fact that the Rams were losing badly. Late in the third quarter, he was the target of two deep passes, but came up empty through no fault of his own. On the first, Boller just overthrew him. He was open, but had no chance to catch the ball. On the second, he was open down the sidelines and would have had an easy six point. Boller put the ball on the money but Tyrell Johnson made a spectacular play to get a hand on it and break up the pass.

TE Daniel Fells, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (6 targets)

Fells saw a lot of action as the Rams ran quite a few 2 TE sets. Fells primarily worked the middle of the field, sneaking under the coverage for short gains and running delays where he would block for a second and then release out into the flat for a short pass. He worked these well, making the most of his receptions and keeping the drives alive for St. Louis. His one big mistake was on the goal line late in the second quarter. After making a nice catch, Fells was hit hard from behind and the ball popped up into the air. EJ Henderson came down with it, killing the drive and breaking the hearts of St. Louis fans as they hoped to get back into the game. Fells probably moved into the #1 TE slot with his performance in this game, but time will tell with Bulger back under center next week.

TE Randy McMichael, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (5 targets)

McMichael had a big play to start the game off for the Rams. He caught a short pass down the sideline and jumped over a defender to break it for a longer gain. Aside from that, he was quiet for most of the game, with only two other receptions for minimal gains.


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