By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings allowed a league-most 230 rushing yards in Week 1 to the San Francisco 49ers. Since, they have allowed just 503 rushing yards total in six games. However, those six games includes four against teams that rank in the bottom 10 in the league and another in the bottom half. Only the Kansas City Chiefs, who were without star running back Jamaal Charles, ranks better than 16th in the league. They are still outside the top third of the league.
This week, the Vikings face the third best rushing offense and the best running back over the last four weeks. Rookie Todd Gurley has ascended to fifth in the league in rushing yards since taking over as the full time starter in Week 4.
“He’s obviously a big, physical guy that has great acceleration, vision, actually catches the ball well, too,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said at this weekly press conference Monday. “They do a good job in their run-blocking, they’ve got a lot of misdirection runs, so we’re going to have to make sure that we have a lot of people at the ball.”
The first round draft pick has 575 yards and three touchdowns in five games after missing the first two while recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season at Georgia. His production is similar to Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s first few games as a rookie in 2007. Gurley needs just 95 yards and two touchdowns Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium to match Peterson’s first six games as a pro.
“Yeah, I think so,” Zimmer said about the comparisons between Peterson and Gurley. “I think he runs with violence, explosive, a lot of those things.”
Sherels wins weekly award
The NFL named Marcus Sherels as the NFC Special Teams Player of Week 8. The former University of Minnesota star returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown in the first half of the Vikings’ victory over the Bears. He also recorded two special teams tackles and is instrumental as a gunner in the team’s league-best four yards allowed per return this season.
Diggs nominated for rookie award
Rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs is one of five players nominated for the Pepsi Rookie of the Week award. It is Diggs’ second nomination and third consecutive week a Viking is up for the award. The fifth round draft pick out of Maryland won the Week 6 award. He is up for the award this week after catching six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Bears. He is joined by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander, Gurley, Houston Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson and Green Bay Packers defensive back Damarious Randall on the ballot.
McNeill passes away
Former Viking linebacker Fred McNeill died Tuesday in Los Angeles at 63 years old. The first round draft pick of the Vikings in 1974 battled brain trauma that eventual became ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He amassed 1,068 tackles, 13 sacks, seven interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries in 167 games over 12 seasons season, all with the Vikings, in the NFL.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.