Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other subscribers

MN Vikings Tweets

Bleacher Report – Vikings

Shaun Hill proves Zimmer made right choice in Week 1 win

By Matthew Coller

It wasn’t always pretty, but Minnesota Vikings quarterback Shaun Hill proved on Sunday why he has been one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL for a long time.

Hill didn’t score a high quarterback rating in the 25-16 win over the Tennessee Titans – a mere 77.3 – but he did manage 18 completions on 33 attempts for 236 yards and most importantly zero turnovers and zero sacks.

In the lead up to the opener, there was much debate over whether a short-handed Sam Bradford would be a better option than the 36-year-old backup. Who knows how much debate there was inside the coach’s room, but Hill proved that Mike Zimmer was right to spend the week saying, “We have confidence in Shaun Hill.”

Hill told the media he wouldn’t be paying attention to reports or articles or anything that wasn’t on the Disney Channel. Paraphrased, Hill said that his ability to provide solid play while being thrown into the fire at inopportune times was the reason he still has a life in the NFL.

Yup.

Hill’s performance wouldn’t have been that notable if running back Adrian Peterson had gone off for 200 yards, but the veteran quarterback was left to push the offense down the field on his own. Peterson gained just 31 yards on 19 carries and the team on the whole averaged just 2.3 Yards Per Carry.

While the star running back failed to help his quarterback, his receiving corps up to the task. Receiver Stefon Diggs had seven catches for 103 yards and tight end Kyle Rudolph and receiver Adam Thielen both grabbed four passes, combining for 119 yards.

The Vikings’ offense turned into quick, three-step-drop passes – not the usual look from offensive coordinator Norv Turner – but Hill was not restricted to tossing a bunch of screens. He averaged 7.2 Yards Per Attempt and completed a number of downfield throws, including a 13-yard strike to Diggs on third-and-10 as the clock was winding down on the second half.

Of course, Blair Walsh missed field goals on two long drives by Hill and the offense, but moving the ball was key. The Time of Possession was split 50-50 between the Titans and Vikings in a game in which Minnesota couldn’t run. That’s a testament to Hill.

Down 10-3 early in the second half, the former 49ers and Rams quarterback hit three straight passes of 15, 14 and 10 yards and then made a hyper-accurate throw to Cordarrelle Patterson for a first down. Hill then scrambled – yes, right from the Believe It or Not file – scrambled for nine yards and set up another Walsh made field goal.

The Vikings’ defense scored two touchdowns, one on an interception for touchdown and the other on a fumble recovery that was run back to the end zone. No doubt, Zimmer’s defense deserves the majority of the credit for the Week 1 win, but there were two not-to-be-forgotten drives led by Hill that took time off the clock, cutting down Marcus Mariota’s chances at a comeback.

After Eric Kendricks returned a screen-pass-gone-wrong for a touchdown to put the Vikings up 12-10, the defense forced a punt and Hill went to work on a 10-play, 42-yard drive that resulted in a field goal.

Like the entire game, there was nothing eye-popping from the veteran QB, but Hill completed passes on back-to-back third downs to sustain a drive that would take 4:05 off the clock and put the Vikings up 15-10. According to Pro-Football Reference’s Win Probability Calculator, adding a field goal on this drive increased the Vikings’ chances to win from 62% to 78%, a huge jump.

Then late in the fourth quarter, a 33-yard bomb to Diggs on third down helped eat 4:33 and set up another field goal, essentially pushing their Win Probability to 99%.

So when the Vikings win the Super Bowl, Hill can wear his ring proud knowing that he got the team to 1-0 before turning the car keys over the Sam Bradford. OK, maybe that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves. But Hill did his job, giving Bradford time to learn the offense and take over against the tough opponents in the Panthers and Packers. If the Vikings do end up competing for the division, this performance will be one to remember.

The post Shaun Hill proves Zimmer made right choice in Week 1 win appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>