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Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 23, 2012 – 7:18 pm

A resounding 24-13 victory over a big dog in the NFC has elevated the Vikings to a 2-1 record for the season, and next week the Vikings head to Detroit for a showdown with the Lions in their first NFC North game of the season. There is a lot to talk about, and the Monday Morning Mailbag is the perfect place for the discussion.

To submit a comment or question for this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag, send an email to me at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net. You can also submit your comment or question in the comments section below this entry.

Remember to include your name and town on the comment/email. We can’t post every comment/question, but we’ll try to answer each question.


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Quick-Starting Vikings Blitz 49ers, Win 24-13 At Home

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 23, 2012 – 3:59 pm

Not many teams looked better than the San Francisco 49ers through the first two weeks of the 2012 season, but the Vikings prepared all week to change that. On Sunday at Mall of America Field, the Vikings preparation paid off in a big way. After jumping out to an early 7-0 lead, the Vikings never looked back as they blitzed the heavily-favored 49ers and came away with a thorough 24-13 victory.

“Our preparation this week was on point,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said after the game. “The way we prepared this week, you knew that we were going to play good football. I didn’t say that to our team before we played Indy (last week). We did not handle the success against Jacksonville the right way. And I mentioned that to our players during the week prior to Indy. We came back this week and our guys were locked in. They were focused throughout the week and it showed in the way we played.”

The Vikings outstanding preparation definitely showed right off the bat, as Christian Ponder and the offense methodically drove down the field on the game’s opening drive. When all was said and done, Ponder found TE Kyle Rudolph for a 1-yard TD on 4th and goal to cap a 16-play, 82-yard drive that took 7:40 off the clock. The drive featured balanced playcalling, with 8 rushes and 8 passes, and it included only three 3rd-down plays.

San Francisco QB Alex Smith and his offense couldn’t match the execution on their first possession, as they were forced to punt away after just one 1st down. It was clear at that point that San Francisco was in for a day-long battle against the Vikings. The Vikings and 49ers exchanged punts after that, and then San Francisco got on the board with a 29-yard FG by David Akers.

Ponder, in the midst of perhaps his best game as a pro, responded following the 49ers FG. He drove the Vikings offense once again through the fierce 49ers defense, this time going 80 yards in 11 plays and capping the drive with a 23-yard TD sprint right through the heart of the 49ers defense. That score gave the Vikings a 14-3 lead with just 5:39 to play in the 1st half.

The 49ers offense gained some rhythm on the following drive and looked as if they’d be able to help the team carry some momentum into the locker room at halftime. They drove from their own 24-yardline to the Vikings 25 in 11 plays to set up Akers for a FG with just a minute play in the half. But the Vikings got a fantastic push up the middle and DT Letroy Guion extended his arms to block the kick, which gave Ponder and Co. possession on their own 33-yardline. Eight plays later, Blair Walsh came on to salvage a late-half score by splitting the uprights on a 52-yard kick. Walsh’s FG – the 3rd consecutive game he’s converted a FG of 50+ yards (Vikings record) – gave the Vikings a 17-3 lead at halftime.

San Francisco came out fast in the 3rd quarter, as Kyle Williams returned the opening kickoff 94 yards to the Minnesota 14-yardline. But the Vikings defense rose to the occasion, forcing the 49ers to settle for a 29-yard FG. The Vikings went 3-and-out on their next drive, and the 49ers filled the building with anxiety by driving 86 yards in 9 plays to score on a 1-yard TD from Alex Smith to TE Vernon Davis, making the score 17-13 in favor of the Vikings.

As they did most of the day, though, Ponder and the Vikings fought through the 49ers defense to produce points. Ponder found Rudolph for another TD – this time from 2 yards out – to cap a 12-play, 86-yard drive that took 7 minutes off the clock. At that point, the lead was 24-13, and the Vikings defense took it from there.

The 49ers following 5 drives ended in a lost fumble that was forced by S Jamarca Sanford and recovered by LB Marvin Mitchell, two punts, an INT by CB Josh Robinson and then another lost fumble that was forced by DE Jared Allen and recovered by DE Brian Robison. After the sack-forced-fumble by Allen, the Vikings offense took the field in the victory formation.

The Vikings defense was paced all day by LB Chad Greenway, who finished with 13 tackles and 2.0 sacks. CB Antoine Winfield was credited with 8 tackles, and both Sanford and fellow S Harrison Smith had 6 stops each. Sanford came in to replace starter Mistral Raymond, who went down with a leg injury early in the game.

Ponder finished the day going 21 of 35 for 198 yards with 2 TDs and 0 INTs (94.7 passer rating). Percy Harvin was Ponder’s favorite target, as he hauled in 9 of the 11 passes thrown his way for 89 yards. Rudolph had the 2 TDs on 5 receptions for 36 yards. It may not have been sensational, but the Vikings running game was solid against one of the best run defenses the NFL has seen in recent memory. Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Harvin and Ponder combined for 146 rushing yards on 41 carries.

The win moves the Vikings to 2-1 on the season as they prepare for a road contest against the Detroit Lions this week.


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Vikings Sharp In 1st Half, Lead 17-3 After Two Quarters

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 23, 2012 – 12:34 pm

The Vikings got off to a fast start on Sunday at Mall of America Field and they kept it going through the first half. The result was a 17-3 lead over the 2-0 San Francisco 49ers at halftime.

A 16-play, 82-yard drive to open the game netted the Vikings a TD when QB Christian Ponder found TE Kyle Rudolph in the corner of the end zone on 4th and goal from the 1. The Vikings and 49ers exchanged punts after that, and then San Francisco got on the board with a 29-yard FG by David Akers.

Ponder, who was 15 of 23 for 143 yards with 1 TD in the 1st half, responded after the 49ers FG by driving the Vikings 80 yards on the ensuing drive and capping the drive with a 23-yard TD sprint that included two broken tackles and a desperate lunge at the end of the play to get into the end zone. That made the score 14-3 late in the 1st half.

San Francisco responded by driving down the field to set up Akers for another FG try. This time, though, the Vikings got a great push up the middle and DT Letroy Guion blocked the kick. Ponder and Co. came out and drove across midfield to set up Blair Walsh for a 52-yard try, which he nailed to send the Vikings to the locker room at halftime with a 17-3 advantage.

Adrian Peterson finished the 1st half with 14 carries for 29 yards and Percy Harvin had 5 receptions for 45 yards in the opening 2 quarters. Kyle Rudolph chipped in with 4 grabs 34 yards, including the 1-yard TD. Devin Aromashodu had 2 grabs for 24 yards as well.

Chad Greenway leads the way for the Vikings defensively. Unfortunately, starting S Mistral Raymond suffered a serious leg injury early in the game and was carted off the field.

The Vikings finished the 1st half with 15 1st downs, 206 total yards and 0 turnovers. More to come, so stay tuned.


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49ers-Vikings Inactives

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on September 23, 2012 – 9:29 am

Here are the Vikings inactive players for today’s game: QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, WR Jarius Wright, CB Brandon Burton, S Robert Blanton, LB Erin Henderson, OL Mark Asper and DE D’Aundre Reed.

49ers inactives: QB Scott Tolzien, WR A.J. Jenkins, WR Ted Ginn Jr., RB LaMichael James, RB Brandon Jacobs, G Joe Looney and NT Ian Williams.


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A Pair Of 2007 Draft Class’ Best Square Off Today In Minnesota

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 23, 2012 – 8:02 am

 

Today’s Vikings-49ers matchup at Mall of America Field will give fans a glimpse of the two best rookies from the 2007 NFL Draft class. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson and 49ers LB Patrick Willis were named AP Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year, and today they will literally collide on the field for the third time in their careers.

As a rookie, Peterson burst onto the NFL scene in record-breaking fashion. He was named a starter in the Pro Bowl and earned MVP honors in the game following a season in which he ranked 1st in the NFC and second in the NFL with 1,341 rushing yards. Peterson also set the NFL single-game rushing record as a rookie, with 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers.

Since Peterson entered the League, he ranks 1st in rushing yards (6,896), rushing TDs (66), total TDs (69), points scored by non-kickers (414), rushing yards per game (91.9), rushes of 10+ yards (189) and scrimmage yards (8,228). Also, it took Peterson just 75 games to become the Vikings all-time leading rusher, as he surpassed Robert Smith in Week 1 of this season.

The 49ers found the cornerstone of their defense in the same draft, choosing Willis with the 11th overall selection. In his first regular season NFL game, Willis recorded 11 tackles and a forced fumble in helping lead the 49ers to a victory. Later in the season, Willis recorded a 20-tackle game as well. When all was said and done after his rookie season, Willis was credited by the club with over 200 tackles, 4.0 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Aside from earning AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, Willis was also named to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro teams.


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