Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vikings Prepare to Show Full Package Against 49ers, But Still Fear the Exotic

On the eve of their third and most meaningful pre-season game, the Minnesota Vikings are preparing to throw caution to the wind and unleash upon the presumably unsuspecting 49ers their full offensive arsenal.  At a team conference on Wednesday, Minnesota offensive coordinator, Bill Musgrave, was all but frothing at the prospect.

"We're going to give 'em everything we've got," Musgrave leaked.  "I know I shouldn't be saying this, but we have some things to prove and we feel real good about doing that this week."

Asked what Vikings' fans might expect, Musgrave initially advised that they should "wait and see," but could not restrain himself from detailing what the Vikings planned.  "Like I said, we're going to give them everything we've got.  No more "plain vanilla."  We're opening it up."

Pressed on what "opening it up" might entail, Musgrave was frank.  "We've got Adrian in the game for at least a quarter, maybe more," he giddily noted, rubbing his hands and smiling gleefully.  "We'll have the standard give it to Adrian to the left, give it to Adrian to the right, give it to Adrian up the middle, and dump it to Adrian in the backfield--our bread and butter.  But you're going to see some of that to Toby [Gerhart], as well, and we might even dump one off to one of those two.  Really, with Adrian in the game, the offensive options really open up."

Asked what that might mean for the passing game, Musgrave was equally forthcoming.  "There's no doubt that having Adrian really opens up our option in the passing game.  With eight, nine, ten, twelve men in the box, we can give it to Adrian or we can dump it off.  The options are boundless."

Musgrave was quick to add that he certainly expected Ponder to "continue his strong performances from the end of last year and this pre-season."

Asked what that meant, Musgrave shuffled his feet and looked down, mumbling in robotic-like fashion that he had "all the confidence in the world that Christian will make significant strides in the NFL this year and continue to validate the team's decision to take him with the number twelfth overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft."

Musgrave added that "we expect Christian to hit a higher percentage of his one- and two-yard passes this year, make clean handoffs to Adrian--and Toby, if necessary--and toss it to the sticks a couple times a game.  And we think that Christian has shown that he can do just that, barring some exotic scheme."

Vikings' head coach Leslie Frazier echoed Musgrave's sentiments, adding that "Christian is a marvelous human being.  We have all the confidence in the world in him."

Frazier did express some trepidation over facing the talent-laden 49ers in "our most meaningful game of the pre-season.  You'd like this game to come earlier or later, rather than now," he lamented.  "But we don't make the schedule, we just play it.  Am I concerned that they might do some things that we haven't seen recently or prepared for?  Sure," he said.

Asked what most concerns him, Frazier noted that he is "always concerned when a team has the ability to run and pass.  If they start passing down field, I'm not sure how well we will respond.  That's sort of a hybrid, exotic type of thing that you expect to see more in the playoffs.  I guess they'll do what they feel they need to do to get ready for the season and we'll respond as best we can."

Up Next: More Stadium Shenanigans

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