How the Vikings Contained Michael Vick

The New York Giants were the first team to really frustrate Vick this season, at least for three and a half quarters until Vick took over. We all know the conclusion of that one.

In order to contain Vick, you must have a pair of athletic and disciplined defensive ends. Not only do you have to beat the offensive tackle in front, you also have to make sure Vick doesn’t escape the pocket.

The Giants have that in Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. The Vikings do too in Jared Allen and Ray Edwards, but interim coach Leslie Frazier inserted Antoine Winfield and the rest of the secondary into the mix.

On sixteen occasions, the Vikings sent a cornerback or safety to blitz Vick. Minnesota got pressure, but more importantly, it didn’t let him escape the pocket. Even if Vick did escape from Allen or Edwards on the line, waiting for him was the defensive back sent to blitz. Instead of one defender on the edge playing contain, now you have two.

Winfield has always been known as being an athletic and physical corner. He was everywhere. He had a 45-yard fumble return touchdown and two sacks. The fumble turned the whole momentum in the Vikings favor.

Vick turned the ball over three times last night, two fumbles and an interception. He should’ve been picked off another three times if the Viking secondary knew how to catch a pass.

The Eagles are a big play offense. Vick needs time to throw. Philadelphia’s offensive line isn’t exactly nasty.  Left tackle Jason Peters is the only Pro-Bowler on the line. Injury-wise, center Jamal Jackson was lost for the season in week one with torn triceps.

Watching the game last night, I was just waiting for the Eagles to adjust. Instead of taking five to seven step drops, Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg should’ve called some more three step drops.

Of course, because of Vick’s height, he gets a lot of balls batted down at the line. Pro-Bowl alternate LeSean McCoy barely saw the ball. He had just 17 total touches. All in all, the offense was too predictable last night.

The most probable Eagles wild-card opponent is Green Bay. The Packers have the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award winner in cornerback Charles Woodson. He, like Winfield, is a very physical corner and a sure tackler. The NFL is a copy cat league; I’m sure the Pack will find ways to bring Woodson in on Vick.

Patience is a virtue. The way to beat the blitz is to take what the defense gives you. If that means short five-yard gains at a time, then take it. In Philadelphia’s only touchdown drive of the second-half, it’s exactly what the Eagles did.

With such a young team coming off a huge emotional win last week, a Vikings win wasn’t that surprising. Considering that a first-round bye was at stake, you would’ve thought the Eagles would’ve played with a bit more fire. The postponement didn’t help either.

Now it’s time to let some guys rest Sunday against Dallas, and get ready for the postseason.

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