Vikings stock report: Week 15

Posted Dec. 19, 2011 @ 6:17 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

Here is a look at three players whose stock went up in the 42-20 loss to the Saints, and three whose stock went down:

Rising

John Sullivan: The team rewarded him Saturday with a five-year extension, and Sullivan has been one of the team's bright spots. He carried out his assignments well and made a key block on Adrian Peterson's longest run of the game, a 39-yard scamper up the gut. Neither of the Saints' two nose tackles, Aubrayo Franklin or Shaun Rogers, made a single tackle.

Toby Gerhart: Made the most of his six touches, totalling 58 yards and two touchdowns, both receiving. He has shown more burst and power in recent games and has earned a portion of the game plan even with Peterson back in the lineup. Gerhart mostly ran simple pass routes on his four receptions but caught all four and scored twice on his catches.

Chris Kluwe: Hammered seven punts for a 48.1-yard average and a respectable 41.7-yard net, only giving the dangerous Darren Sproles one punt he could do any damage with, which resulted in a 24-yard return. On a day when Drew Brees marched up and down the field with ease, that gain was quite palatable. Kluwe hit three punts inside the 20-yard line, pinning balls at the 16-, 13- and 13-yard lines. All it did was make the field longer for Brees to drive.

Falling

Bill Musgrave: The offensive coordinator didn't help out his young quarterback, Christian Ponder, which was bad enough. But Musgrave's biggest sin was handing the ball to Peterson only 10 times in the game. Healthy or not, Peterson is a warrior who wants the ball no matter the circumstances, and he has earned a minimum of 15 carries per game. Especially in one where Brees was otherworldly. The Vikings also couldn't get Percy Harvin going. Seven passes in his direction netted eight yards; the Saints erased him.

Fred Pagac: The defensive coordinator has had some of his play-calling duties stripped, and he could lose his job in two more weeks if he can't get the players to play Leslie Frazier's preferred Tampa-2 scheme. The defensive intensity, other than from Jared Allen, has been sapped from this group. They need a giant kick in the pants.

Frazier: The head man is not without blame. He has mishandled and misevaluated his quarterbacks this season, made dubious in-game decisions and not adjusted to injuries well. Sunday was far from his most egregiously bad coaching performance, but it wasn't his best, not in a game in which he has direct say on the defensive schemes and Brees was having an historically great passing game.