PFW senior editor Eric Edholm offers his stock analysis of the Vikings and identifies who is on the rise or decline following their Week One loss to the Chargers.
DE Brian Robison — Some questioned the money that Robison got in the offseason, replacing Ray Edwards, but he had a standout first game as a new starter, providing constant pressure and hitting Rivers on a pass that was intercepted by Antoine Winfield. A great start.
Special teams — It was a strong day from the opening kickoff, which Percy Harvin ran back 103 yards for a score. He begged the coaches for the duty and rewarded them with a much-needed spark. The coverage teams were solid all day, and the kicking game also was successful. P Chris Kluwe got great distance and hang time, PK Ryan Longwell did his job, and rookie PR Marcus Sherels did his job in his first game.
DE Jared Allen — Allen did his normal thing as a pass rusher, collecting a sack and providing another half-dozen pressures, but he makes this list for his incredible second-quarter interception. Dropping into coverage when RB Ryan Mathews released into the flat on a wheel route, Allen showed incredible body control, concentration and hands, completely fooling Philip Rivers on the play.
Passing game — Other than a few well-timed short passes by Donovan McNabb in the first half, it was an almost total failure. The protection was shoddy, the route running was poor, Harvin and Bernard Berrian were virtually invisible and the tight ends were not incorporated well. McNabb threw for two yards on 1-of-6 passes in the second half.
Fourth-quarter defense — After a fairly inspired first three quarters, Fred Pagac's unit fell off badly and lost its composure. Four of the Chargers' nine longest offensive plays occurred in the final 15 minutes, and Rivers found a groove late after being off balance early. Three late offsides penalties on defense pretty much sealed the victory for San Diego.
The "Blazer" package — That's what the Vikings are calling the offensive package with Joe Webb taking snaps, but in Week One it netted little: a loss of two yards by Webb on his first carry and two yards to Harvin on a handoff on the next carry. After that, Webb was out of the game for good. Leslie Frazier cryptically said he unleashed Webb then because of "field position." Whatever the reason, it yielded zero yards in two plays in its first display.