Here are the players whose stock is going up and down for the Vikings following their 24-14 loss to the Falcons.
WR Percy Harvin: With Adrian Peterson out because of a high ankle sprain, Harvin was the lone offensive threat for the Vikings and he did not disappoint. He caught all eight passes thrown to him for 95 yards and a touchdown, including two gorgeous catches: one was made in double-coverage to set up the first touchdown and the second was a 39-yard touchdown on 4th-and-13 as Harvin showed excellent footwork to get both feet down in the back of the endzone. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave made it clear that Harvin would be the focal point of the offense with the play-calling and Harvin rose to the challenge.
DT Kevin Williams: Over the past two weeks, Williams has started to look like the player he was a few years ago, showing the disruptiveness in the backfield that made him an elite defensive tackle. He went right around Falcons ORG Joe Hawley and sacked Matt Ryan, which helped to stall a Falcons drive and force a field goal before halftime. He also penetrated in the run game, especially in the second half to help slow Michael Turner, who had success early against the Vikings' defense. After a strong showing last week, Williams appears to be rounding into form.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave: Though the idea to get Harvin the ball more is a good one, the execution was lacking early. In the first half, three of the four competions to Harvin were poorly disguised screens that the Falcons' defense recognized and handled with ease. Also, the decision to run Toby Gerhart on 4th-and-1 on the goal line was also a bad idea, considering Gerhart failed to convert a 3rd-and-1 earlier in the game. There were other weird calls, like a direct snap to Gerhart on a 3rd-and-15 play that went nowhere. The team produced zero points and five first downs in the first half.
TE Jim Kleinsasser: Kleinsasser, primarily a blocker, had a miserable day doing just that. Twice, he missed blocks on blitzes in pass protection, leading to QB Christian Ponder taking big hits. On a critical play in the game, a 3rd-and-goal hand-off to Harvin, instead of leading Harvin through the hole, he ran into the back of ORG Joe Berger, allowing Harvin to be met in the hole by Falcons LB Curtis Lofton and getting ruled short of the endzone. For good measure, Kleinsasser added a false-start penalty.
LB E.J. Henderson: Henderson's big mistake came on the Falcons' first scoring play. Harry Douglas caught a quick slant but it led him into Henderson. Douglas gave Henderson a vicious stiff-arm and slammed him into the ground, cruising into the endzone for a touchdown. Douglas, listed at 183 pounds, should not be able to slam Henderson, who weighs 245 pounds, to the ground under any circumstance, especially not when a touchdown could result.
CB Benny Sapp: When Asher Allen left the game with an injury, the Falcons tried to throw at Sapp as often as possible. Sapp was beaten by Douglas on the slant route that led to the touchdown, bit on a double move that left Roddy White wide open downfield (Ryan overthrew him), and was turned around by White for a 23-yard gain that led to the Falcons' final touchdown. Sapp was just picked up because of all the losses the secondary has suffered, but given his performance Sunday, the Vikings might want to scour the waiver wire again.