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Vikings vs Colts: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Indianapolis

Kyle J. RodriguezCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2012

Vikings vs Colts: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Indianapolis

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    The Colts beat the Vikings 23-20 on a 53-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri with just eight seconds left on the clock, leaving each team at 1-1. 

    Andrew Luck connected with Donnie Avery and Reggie Wayne for twenty yards each on that drive. The Colts defense allowed two late touchdown drives to let Minnesota tie the game, but the offense bailed them out with a clutch drive to win the game.

    There was some questionable coaching and inconsistencies with each unit, but the Colts were the better team for the majority of the game, and deserved to take home the win. 

Quarterbacks

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    Andrew Luck: B+

    The rookie sensation got his first win, and did it in spectacular fashion, orchestrating a game-winning drive in less than thirty seconds. 

    For the game, Luck was 20/31 for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Luck averaged 7.2 yards per attempt, and finished with a 107.5 rating for the game. 

    Luck was inaccurate at times, but for the most part he was fantastic as he avoided the rush with his athleticism and got rid of the ball, as well as rushing four times for 21 yards. 

    Luck did take a bad sack in the fourth, losing 22 yards on third down, and setting up the Vikings for their game-tying drive. It was a rookie mistake, but he made up for it with a calm, collected drive to finish the game. 

Running Backs

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    Donald Brown: B-

    Brown had a rough day, getting just 45 yards on 16 carries, just 2.8 yards per carry. The lack of success wasn't anything to do with Brown however, as the Colts kept trying to run the ball despite the fact that their offensive line was getting blown back on every play. When getting space, Brown was gaining sufficient yardage, including a nice 15 yard run, but too often he was hit in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage. 

    Vick Ballard: C

    Ballard had just as tough of a time running the ball, gaining just 13 yards on six carries. Ballard had one impressive nine-yard run, but was stoned at the line for the rest of the game. 

    Mewelde Moore: C

    Moore had just one carry for -2 yards, and also allowed a sack when he missed the block on a blitzing linebacker. He did contribute an eight yard catch during the two minute drill in the second quarter. 

Wide Receivers

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    Donnie Avery- A

    Avery came up big in his home debut, as he finished with nine catches for 111 yards. Avery got open time and time again in Minnesota's paper-thin secondary, and Andrew Luck took advantage of it. Avery was especially big during the hurry-up offense, including a 20-yarder on the game-winning drive. 

    Reggie Wayne- B+

    Wayne didn't have the dominant game he did last week, but was reliable for Luck yet again with six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. Like Avery, Wayne was lethal during the hurry up offense, catching a thirty-yard touchdown late in the second quarter and a twenty yard completion to set up the game-winning field goal. 

    T.Y. Hilton, Kris Adams, LaVon Brazill- D

    None of these receivers got much playing time, as the Colts stuck with a two tight end system for most of the game. When in, however, the receivers were invisible, with just one 15-yard catch (Hilton) between them. 

Tight Ends

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    Coby Fleener: C+

    Fleener did have a nice catch in the first half during the two minute offense for nine yards, and added another short catch later in the game, but didn't provide much outside of that. He did have a dropped ball as well. 

    Dwayne Allen: B-

    Allen had just one target, but made it count by bringing in the three yard touchdown. Allen also provided good blocking throughout the game, but had a false start and a personal foul called against him as well. 

    If the Colts are going to run a two tight end set as often as they have, they are going to need to get the tight ends more involved. Three catches isn't enough for a position that is supposed to be a focal point in your offense. 

Offensive Line

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    Collective Grade: C-

    The Colts offensive line looked like itself during the Vikings game. Of course, that's not a good thing. 

    Anthony Castonzo did a good job of handling Jared Allen by himself in pass protection, but did allow several pressures. 

    Mike McGlynn was adequate when he replaced Samson Satele, who was terrible in run blocking before an injury knocked him out of the game. Trai Essex, on the other hand, did not have a good performance filling in at right guard, as he had several penalties and failed to open up holes. 

    It's hard to pinpoint any one player for this one, as the line failed to get any push for the running backs, and allowed Luck to be pressured all day. However, when they needed points (hurry-up), the line gave Luck sufficient time. 

Defensive Line

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    Cory Redding: B+

    After looking mediocre against the run last week, Redding stepped up this week with six tackles and numerous stops on Adrian Peterson. Redding also pressured Christian Ponder several times, and recovered a fumble. 

    Drake Nevis: B-

    Getting limited snaps, Nevis came in and got three tackles in run support, including a couple ankle grabs on Adrian Peterson, when a big hole had opened up.

    Fili Moala, Antonio Johnson: C-

    Both players failed to hold their ground in the run game, and provided little in pass rush. Their getting pushed back allowed Adrian Peterson to run for four and five yard gains throughout the first half. At times the two would open up room for the linebackers to make plays, but, much like last week, it was far too inconsistent. 

Linebackers

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    Robert Mathis- B+

    Mathis got another sack early in the game, getting his total to three on the season. Mathis had a total of seven tackles on the game, and provided pass rush all throughout. 

    Jerry Hughes- B- 

    Hughes caused an offensive holding penalty to negate a first down, and then got a sack on the ensuing play to halt a steady Minnesota drive, but was hard to find throughout the rest of the game. 

    Kavell Conner- B

    Conner again allowed a big pass play on third down, like last week, but was his active self against the run, garnering five tackles, as well as a sack. Conner did drop a interception late in the game that would have iced the game. 

    Jerrell Freeman- B-

    Freeman was all over the field, getting 13 tackles on the day. He wasn't making big plays, but he was cleaning up mistakes. He did have one big play, a sack and forced fumble, but also gave up the game-tying touchdown pass in coverage. 

    Moise Fokou- A-

    Fokou got limited snaps late in the game, but had a couple of big stops near the end zone on Adrian Peterson. Unfortunately, it was all for naught, as the Vikings scored on each drive anyway, but Fokou looked good in limited action. 

Defensive Backs

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    Jerraud Powers- B

    He allowed a lot of completions, but he tackled well (9) and had two very impressive passes that he knocked away in tight coverage. Powers didn't allow anything deep, and took care of his assignments.  

    Vontae Davis- B-

    Davis had a rough first quarter, as he wasn't tackling well and slipped in coverage a couple times. Early on he had poor closing speed on a screen on 3rd-and-long, allowing a first down, as well as a slant for a first down later in the drive. However, he tightened up as the game went on, and was not exposed for big gains like he was in the previous week. 

    Justin King- C-

    King continues to prove that the opposing teams should always try to force the Colts into nickel coverage, as King is the clear weak spot when he's on the field. King had a poor defensive holding penalty on the Vikings final drive that set up the tying touchdown pass, as well as allowing a third down conversion to Percy Harvin earlier in the quarter. 

    Antoine Bethea- A

    Bethea's name was called seemingly every play throughout the game, making big hits all over the field, Whether it was a run, screen, or downfield pass, Bethea seemed to be there far more often than his stats suggest (eight tackles). Bethea did miss the fluky tipped touchdown to Steven Burton, but so did about five other Colts on the play. 

    Tom Zbikowski- Incomplete

    I didn't notice Zbikowski once during the game, and I'm not sure whether that's good or bad. He did have two tackles, one assist and one solo. He pushed Adrian Peterson out of bounds after a six yard gain (along with Davis) and tackled Adrian Peterson after a 20 yard catch and run. In order to grade Zbikowski, more film will have to be watched, because he seemed to make very little impact on the game. 

Special Teams

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    Adam Vinatieri- A

    Vinatieri was clutch as ever during this one, nailing all three field goal attempts. His real beauty though was a 53 yarder with eight seconds remaining, showing he still has the leg to go with the ice water in his veins. 

    Pat McAfee- A

    Not only was McAfee booming the ball all day, including a 64-yarder, but he was doing it from his own endzone. He kept the Vikings from flipping the field position and also kicked the final kickoff out of the endzone, negating any chance at a Percy Harvin kick return. 

    T.Y Hilton- C

    Hilton had a bad decision to not fair catch a punt early in the game, giving the Colts the ball at their own one yard line. His kick returns weren't anything special either, getting 19 yards on just one return. He did have a nice 11-yard punt return, however. 

Coaching

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    Chuck Pagano- B

    Pagano's players were fairly disciplined, a plus for a game that featured a penalty on what seemed like every drive. He also had the confidence to go for points at the end of each half, directly resulting in 10 points. He was a little more conservative than I would like, but overall a positive game. 

    Bruce Arians- C-

    Arians' conservative play calling in the second half turned what should have been a route into a nail-biter. The Colts consistently tried to run the ball even though the Vikings knew they would, and left zero room for the running backs throughout the second half. Arians did let Luck open it up on the final drive of the game though, and it gave the Colts the win. 

    Greg Manusky- B

    The defense looked much better this week, especially in terms of blitzes, which seemed to land on the quarterback much more frequently than last week. His inside linebackers got two sacks, and Jerrell Freeman even forced a fumble. You never like to see two late drives like the Vikings got to tie the game, but overall the defensive game-plan was much improved from last week. 

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