The Vikings got back on the winning track Sunday with a 17-13 victory over the Washington Redskins, snapping a 9-game road losing streak and giving Leslie Frazier a win in his first game as interim head coach. And they did it with Toby Gerhart leading the way, Ryan Cook filling in at RG and a stout defensive performance.
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I will not hide from the fact that coming out of the preseason and training camp this year I was underwhelmed with what I saw of rookie RB Toby Gerhart. But after following the NFL for nearly my entire life and after shadowing the Vikings for the last 6 seasons, I’ve also learned that it makes no sense to make snap judgments on draft picks.
On Sunday at FedEx Field, Gerhart provided the latest illustration of why snap judgments often prove incorrect. With Adrian Peterson out of the game because of an ankle injury in the 2nd quarter, Gerhart stepped into the lineup and produced. After Peterson left the game, Gerhart logged 22 carries, 76 yards and his 1st career TD.
Most impressively, though, is the fact that Gerhart pounded the Redskins defense for 7 carries and 25 yards during the Vikings final drive of the game, a 13-play series that salted away 3 Washington timeouts and the final 6:13 of the game, allowing the Vikings to depart enemy territory with their 1st road win in over a year.
We shouldn’t go without mentioning the offensive line, either. With starting RG Anthony Herrera lost for the season, Ryan Cook filled the void admirably and in fact played quite well. I’ve said for a long time that the Vikings offensive line is better when John Sullivan is healthy and playing – that was certainly the case tonight. The group as a whole had a nice rhythm going, particularly in that game-clinching drive, and I know for a fact that Sullivan and TE Jim Kleinsasser thoroughly enjoyed grinding out that victory on the ground late in the game.
Back to Gerhart – this performance wasn’t the first or only stride of improvement I’ve seen from him. He’s become a more significant factor as the season has progressed, getting involved not only in the run game but also in the passing game as a receiver out of the backfield and as a pass protector. It’s certainly not “mission accomplished” with Gerhart, but I’m just as certain that he’s on a good track to becoming a solid contributor for this Vikings offense for years to come.
As I sit on the team plane flying back to Minnesota after this win, I’m very encouraged. And it’s not because we won and I’m hoping in the back of my mind for a playoff berth of near-miraculous proportions. It’s because the Vikings showed up and played for interim head coach Leslie Frazier even though they had a 9-game road losing streak and a disappointing 3-7 record. It’s a nice win for this club and something for Frazier and his bunch to build upon going forward.
Tags: Toby Gerhart
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 22 Comments »
Named interim head coach on Monday, Leslie Frazier’s message all week was “focus on the Washington Redskins.” The message was clearly understood, as the Vikings played mostly sound football – no turnovers and penalized just 3 times – and snapped a nasty 9-game road losing streak by logging a 17-13 victory at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
When Frazier was a DB on the 1985 Chicago Bears team, he experienced what it was like to win NFL games with an effective running game and sound defense. And that’s exactly how the Vikings defeated the Redskins on Sunday, giving Frazier his 1st win as interim head coach. The Vikings defense allowed just 29 net yards rushing, 10 first downs and 1 TD while the offense pounded the opposition with 137 net yards rushing and a 38-23 run-to-pass ratio.
RB Adrian Peterson was set to have a monster day before leaving the game with an ankle injury; he had 36 yards and 1 TD on 6 carries and 1 reception for 34 yards when he came out of the game. But rookie Toby Gerhart picked up the slack, logging 22 carries and 76 tough yards – along with a TD – to pace the Vikings offensive attack. Favre chipped in with a solid game, throwing 0 INTs and completing 15 of 23 passes for 172 yards.
Defensively, hats off to LB E.J. Henderson, who had 4 tackles – 1 for a loss – to go along with a sack and an INT. The defensive line generated 3.0 sacks, Greenway led the squad in tackles and Antoine Winfield had his side of the field buttoned up again.
There is so much more to talk about with this game, including the performance of Gerhart down the stretch to close out the game, Ryan Cook filling in for Anthony Herrera, Frazier’s first turn as head honcho and more. So stay tuned to vikings.com tonight and into tomorrow and next week for comprehensive coverage of the win.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, E.J. Henderson, Leslie Frazier, Toby Gerhart
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Following a Chris Kluwe punt that pinned the Redskins on their own 5-yard line, Donovan McNabb threw a strike intended for Santana Moss that bounced of his chest high into the air that E.J. Henderson came down with for the INT.
The Vikings were unable to reach the endzone after starting the drive at the Washington 9 and settled for a 31-yard FG by K Ryan Longwell.
Redskins KR Brandon Banks returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards to the Minnesota 28, but Vikings DE Jared Allen sacked McNabb on the first play of the drive for a loss of 8.
The Redskins will start the 4th quarter at the Minnesota 36 trailing 17-7.
Update: Redskins K Graham Gano kicked a 40-yard FG to cut the deficit to 7. The Vikings lead 17-10 early in the 4th quarter.
Posted in CJ Siewert | 154 Comments »
With Adrian Peterson sidelined with an apparent ankle injury, backup RB Toby Gerhart scored his first career TD on a 5-yard plunge up the middle of the Redskins defense to give the Vikings a 14-7 lead.
Just as the Vikings started the 1st half, they opened the 2nd half with another 5-yard TD run. The drive consisted of 9 plays for 71 yards and consumed 5:12 to open the 2nd half.
The Vikings faced only two 3rd down attempts during the series with Brett Favre converting the first 3rd down attempt on a play-action pass to TE Visanthe Shiancoe for 29 yards. The 29-yard strike set up Gerhart’s TD run 3 plays later, which was the second 3rd down attempt of the drive.
The Vikings will start their 2nd offensive drive of the half at their own 34-yard line following Washington’s 4th punt of the game.
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The game started with an explosion of offense from both the Redskins and Vikings with each team putting together TD scoring drives on their opening series, but defense has taken over since then, holding the score to a 7-7 tie.
Adrian Peterson has been the staple of the Vikings offense on the ground and through the air with 6 carries for 36 yards and a TD along with 1 reception for 34 yards (70 total yards).
Brett Favre has completed 7 of 11 passes for 80 yards with Percy Havin as his favorite target – 3 receptions for 18 yards.
After the Redskins 83-yard opening series TD drive, the Vikings defense has held Washington to 67 yards over 4 series with 3 drives ending on a punt and the last running out the first half after an E.J. Henderson sack for a loss of 9 yards.
Quick Team Stats:
First Downs: MIN 8, WAS 8
Total Yards: MIN 135, WAS 150
Pass Yards: MIN 76, WAS 128
Rush Yards: MIN 59, WAS 22
Turnovers: MIN 0, WAS 0
Time of Pos: MIN 12:05, WAS 17:55
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Adrian Peterson’s 1st-quarter TD from 5 yards out tied the game as the Vikings try to defeat the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field and snap a nasty road losing streak. But the TD also was significant for Peterson because it helped him set some new marks in the Vikings record books.
The TD was Peterson’s 50th career score in 57 games and he now ranks 3rd in team history with 48 rushing TDs. Bill Brown and Chuck Foreman rank in a tie for 1st with 52 and Peterson is in 3rd with 48. Peterson is also tied with Sammy White for 7th in Vikings history with 50 career TDs; Cris Carter, who was announced as a semifinalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011, is 1st in team history with 110 TDs.
Finally, Peterson has now eclipsed the 1,00-yard mark this season and he is tied with Robert Smith for the most 1,000-yard rushing seasons in franchise history with 4.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Cris Carter
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Immediately following the Redskins 83-yard TD drive, the Vikings answered by quickly putting together a 7-play, 71-yard TD drive.
The scoring drive was the first opening drive in which the Vikings managed to put points on the board this season.
RB Adrian Peterson highlighted the series with 34-yard reception on a screen pass from QB Brett Favre, setting up his own 5-yard TD run 3 plays later. Peterson had 3 carries for 18 yards to go with the lone reception.
Favre, like McNabb, was perfect on his opening series completing 3 of 3 pass for 51 yards.
The game is tied at 7 nearing the end of the 1st quarter.
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Redskins QB Donovan McNabb and Co. opened up their first series with a 13-play, 83-yard drive that consumed 7:53 and ended on a 10-yard TD pass from McNabb to TE Fred Davis.
The Redskins kept their scoring drive alive by converting all 4 of their 3rd down attempts. McNabb was perfect on the drive, completing 8 of 8 passes for 84 yards and the TD strike.
The Vikings are driving into Redskins territory late in the 1st quarter trailing 7-0.
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The Vikings are on the road and they’re playing outdoors. And that means one thing – Mr. Hippe has a weather report.
Mr. Hippe has checked in with vikings.com and reports a temperature of 47 degrees with a 7 mph wind out of the south to southwest. He also says the skies are mostly sunny.
It’s game time!
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