Vikings Ride Defense, Harvin To 30-7 Win Over Titans

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 7, 2012 – 6:58 pm

The Vikings used a consistent dose of body blows from their defense and several stunning jabs from Percy Harvin to knock out the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon at Mall of America Field, coming away with a 30-7 victory when all was said and done that moved them to 4-1 on the season. The win was the Vikings third of the season at home and it keeps them in a 1st-place tie atop the NFC North with the Chicago Bears.

Tennessee began the game with the ball, and used a 17-yard gain on 3rd and 5 followed by a 12-yard gain on the following play to push the ball inside of Vikings territory. After that, though, the Vikings defense bowed up and forced a Titans punt. That was as good as it would get for the Titans offense until it was too late. That first drive went 7 plays and 33 yards before stalling out, and the Titans were not able to run more than five plays or gain more than 26 yards in any of the next eight series. Tennessee’s first nine drives ended in the following ways: punt, punt, fumble, interception, punt, punt, end of half, punt, punt.

While the Vikings defense was pitching a shutout for three-plus quarters, the Vikings offense was slowly putting together an insurmountable lead, with WR Percy Harvin as the lynchpin and QB Christian Ponder as the triggerman. Harvin was up to his old tricks, serving as a lethal and versatile threat throughout the game. He had 2 rushes for 8 yards, including a 4-yard TD, and caught 8 passes for 108 yards and another TD. Ponder threw his first 2 INTs of the season, but he was able to bounce back in a big way. He finished going 25 of 35 for 258 yards with 2 TDs to go along with the INTs. His second TD went to Kyle Rudolph in the 4th quarter and essentially ended any thought of an improbable Titans comeback.

As they’ve been able to do during their wins, the Vikings ran the ball with enough effectiveness to keep the opposing defense off-balance. Adrian Peterson carried the ball 17 times for 88 yards while Toby Gerhart logged 41 yards on 6 carries. As a team, the Vikings gained 175 rushing yards on 31 carries, good for a 5.6-yard average and good enough to allow the play-action pass to be effective. The Vikings picked up 25 first downs during the game, with nine of them coming on the ground, 13 through the air and another three via penalty.

But make no mistake, the foundation of Sunday’s Vikings win was a suffocating defensive performance that kept RB Chris Johnson frustrated and QB Matthew Hasselbeck uncomfortable. Johnson was held to just 24 yards on 15 carries (1.6 yards per carry) and Hasselbeck was sacked twice while going 26 of 43 for 200 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. Those numbers a bit deceiving, though, because Hasselbeck had just 83 yards passing by the end of the 3rd quarter and picked up the rest while the Vikings played a conservative defense that forced Tennessee to methodically march down the field instead of striking quickly.

In the 1st half, though, the Vikings defense was anything but conservative. They sacked Hasselbeck twice, Antoine Winfield intercepted him once and they forced two fumbles with fumble recovery. The Titans were just 1 of 7 on 3rd downs in the first two quarters and Johnson had just 12 yards rushing on 8 attempts. Behind the stellar defensive performance, Harvin’s rushing TD and 2 Blair Walsh FGs, the Vikings led 13-0 at halftime.

The Vikings pushed their lead to 23-0 after another Walsh FG – he was 3-of-3 on the afternoon – and Harvin’s 10-yard TD catch before the Titans finally got on the board with a 10-yard TD pass from Hasselbeck to TE Jared Cook. Ponder and Co. wasted no time responding to Tennessee’s only score, though, driving 43 yards in just 6 plays on the following drive to score on a 15-yard Ponder-to-Rudolph connection, giving the Vikings their final 30-7 advantage.

The Vikings defense didn’t collect a bunch of sacks on the afternoon, but they were constantly pestering Hasselbeck and forcing him to either throw too quickly or throw inaccurately. The Vikings defensive line was also credited with 3 passes defensed, an indication that even when they didn’t get to Hasselbeck they were still able to disrupt him. Unofficially, LB Chad Greenway was credited with 9 tackles to lead the team and CB Josh Robinson was second on the team with 6 tackles. Greenway had 1 tackle for loss and 1 pass defensed, while S Jamarca Sanford (2), DT Kevin Williams (2), LB Jasper Brinkley (1), Winfield (1), CB Chris Cook (1) and DE Jared Allen (1) had the other pass break-ups. LB Erin Henderson had 2 tackles for loss and DE Brian Robison and Allen each had 1.

We will have much more analysis and reaction to the Vikings win on Sunday, so stay tuned to to stay on top of it all. The Vikings next game is Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field, where they will challenge the Washington Redskins in a game that is scheduled to kick off at 3:25 p.m. CT.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 44 Comments »

44 Responses to “Vikings Ride Defense, Harvin To 30-7 Win Over Titans”

  1. By Vikingsfool on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    HA, I’m the FIRST loser to post! (that means first among all the losers for you less educated fools)

  2. By odark30 on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply


  3. By Spoiler Alert on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Third Loser here!!

  4. By Spoiler Alert on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    anyway, great game. Good teams steamroll bad teams. I think we can call it a blowout.

  5. By dee jay born on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Good job Vikes.Let’s keep the momentum going into Washington..

  6. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    First Winner here.

  7. By ponderthefuture on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    rg3 could be out next week. kirk cousins is trash

  8. By Spencer on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Chris Cook played another amazing game.

    What are the doubters saying now?

  9. By H.M.G. on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Where ya been?

  10. By SoCalVike on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    To bad H.Smith was tossed out but at least Blanton got some good playing time in ….I wish the uniforms were a little darker purple, plus they should break out the purple pants it’s been awhile…

  11. By vikingsfan1955 on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    I thank this team for making all I said when the regular season started come true. This is a complete team on both sides of the ball and they are young and eager. This team believes in themselves and eachother. Ponder great game ap, harvin and defense kudos. Can we go all the way I say possible but next yr we will be at the top all the way. We have been tested but after the bye week we get the toughest test of all with a hard schedule of great teams, but I have no fear of gb after the way they have played the whole regular season so far.How many are still calling for the coaches head now and there may be a few riding the rail but soon thet will see what I have from the start.Can you believe the freak is playing witout a brace thats my cat. I see us winning the division I believe in this team and the coaches and have from the start this season.Trust me when i sau as good as they are now THEY WILL GET BETTER AS THE SEASON GOES

  12. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Spencer, there was one play Cook messed up bad– cannot recall, but he did.

  13. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Where are all the doubters of Ponder? Ponder is very good–

  14. By Spencer on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder looked okay, and if he was really good we would of put up atleast 45.

    And where did Cook mess up bad?

  15. By Sir Greasy Panda on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    great win. I think one of the most important factors in this season is the way the team has handled success.

    The coaching staff really has the team focused. love it

  16. By vikingsfan1955 on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    @spenser remember ponder is just in his second yr and he is a work in progress. Don’t expect him to be farve of either manning so fast let him develope he has shown he has great potential. i re,e,ber when he was drafted and said christian who, now many know his name and later in the yr you will hear it a lot more and it will be for his great accomplishments

  17. By vikelifer on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Way to go Vikes, thats just what I ordered a week ago.That we needed a blow out win to prove to all the so called experts,that we are for real,and I also said that Persey Harvin is pound for pound the best player in the NFL.All I want from the Vikes now is to finish off drives with touchdowns instead of field-goals,although Blair Walsh is my kicker in fantasy football and he has been stellar great job for a rookie.The next thing I ask is the defense is playing great but they need to come up with those turn-overs that are just slipping through their hands and maybe a few more sacks.Otherwise the defense is looking real good if we could just button up those things we will be great and a definite playoff team. Thanks to the team and the coaches you are doing great and I”m proud to be a Viking Fan and the fact Green Bay is losing doesn’t hurt either.Way to go Vikes

  18. By Mike B. on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Great Team win. Was a great game.

  19. By Sir Greasy Panda on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    such a fun season so far. this team is growing up right underneath our eyes. still got to stay focused and not over look teams

  20. By Mike B. on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    I am sure now they will win more than one more game. Happy they are will beat my prediction

  21. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Spencer, Ponder looks very good. Most of the time as a spectator, I feel confident he will pass accurately– it has been rare in the past decade to be a Vikings fan feeling confident in our QB.

  22. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Another year or two, and Ponder will be the best QB in the division– I guarantee it.

  23. By novascotiavike on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Titus, put your Bills SB prediction to bed.

  24. By xmasboy on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Everyone can say what they want… Vikings have stepped up in a huge way this season…even if we only win 7 games we are still betting against the odds. The Vikings will win at least 9 games and possibly win the division if we stay healthy. Percey, Harvin, Ponder, and the D are carrying the team. Skol

  25. By Vikings1 on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    @Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus

    Great call on the GB game, loved seeing them lose the game maybe that will keep the Cheeseheads off our site, our defense is playing fantastic and the offense is coming along, great game overall!

  26. By Spencer on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    If Brinkley keeps playing the way he is, then a WR will be our first pick in the draft.

  27. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks Vikings1– am doing well on predicting, but I missed the Bills big time as Nova just reminded me–

    Nova, I have not said much on the Bills for a while. Looks like the Pats are back once again.

  28. By RichardA1 on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Win 7 games? I’m trying to figure out which Viking will be the Superbowl MVP! ! ! back to Scandinavia, where we can study this team they call the Wash Redskins….????

  29. By wdnemesis on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Well, we have defiantly been playing both sides of the ball which has been impressive. Keep playing like this and the sky is the limit.

  30. By wdnemesis on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Great game and we have been playing both sides of the ball extremely well. I called this score correctly which makes me believe in this team even more now and hopefully we steam roll ahead to more victories. The sky is the limit!!!!!!!!!!

  31. By xvike on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Great win today! My buddy who is a packer fan was talking smack about how the vikes are a fluke this season and the proof that they were was the loss to indy. hahaha guess what? GB lost to Indy and indy came back from 18 points down in a quarter and a half! Pretty good day for vikings fans.

  32. By purple08 on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Vikingsfan1955, please do not mention Farves name on here ever again. He was the most overrated QB in NFL history and a disgrace to the Vikings organization. Just don’t do it. Go Vikes!

  33. By purple08 on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Anyone who mentions BF’s name on here again is invited to meet me in the parking lot after school.

  34. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Oct 7, 2012 | Reply

    Brett Favre was one of the greatest.

  35. By brett on Oct 8, 2012 | Reply

    Brett Favre was one extra player in the huddle away from taking us to the sb(coaching fault by the way). I can’t hate on the fact that he is one of the greats!

  36. By thenaj17 on Oct 8, 2012 | Reply

    @Spencer- yes Cook was superb but credit to both safeties (before ejection) and Robinson, he was terrific throughout. Britt and Washington are very good WR’s so to contain them so easily was great to watch.

    As for the Ponder bashing, he is playing very well, 2 bad turnovers yesterday but he made up for it and showed confidence and short memory. He’s led us to victory 4 out of 5 games and the only loss was seconds away from being a win.

  37. By autobon7 on Oct 8, 2012 | Reply

    Still not feeling good about Ponder when we are approaching the red zone. We need TDs not field goals. Id still like to see the offense mix it up a bit….maybe a trick play here or there. I said it before the season started, if we didn’t have Harvin we would be in trouble.

    Defense looks great so far.

  38. By Troutdaddy on Oct 8, 2012 | Reply

    Ok Spencer- Cook finally showed up in a big way but you have to admit he has been pretty quiet thus far. I am happy for him and hopes that his level of play continues to soar. He deserves to have success just like the rest of the players. Harrison got totally hosed and should have been able to stay in the game. This was as bad of a call as I saw in the replacement refs this season. I said this about Walsh and I will say it about Ponder now too- now that he had his interceptions, the monkey is off his back and he doesn’t have to focus on the when any more. He can just focus on playing smart football. Walsh bounced back and so did Ponder and i see him still leading QB’s this season in percentages overall. I was very happy to see a few more players be involved on some great key plays. Our back up tight-end had some great plays and so did Aroma and Burton. I am just thrilled to see these folks contribute in big ways when we need it. As for the defense… Holy cow! Amazing. Winfield is the man. Allen and Robison kept pressure on them all day long and our secondary did a great job keeping a presence and smacking the receivers and keeping them in line. I know I have been wanting more agressive play-calling that is not so predictable and I thought that we saw some good signs of that yesterday. But, the fact that the Titans could just not hang with us made it so that we could basically still throw horizontally and let our “Harvinator” take care of business. Peterson, Gearhart and Harvin were awesome! Good on you all this week!

  39. By Erik the Red on Oct 8, 2012 | Reply

    Brett Favre was a pretty durn good QB in 2009, I don’t know how you can say he wasn’t, and you don’t get to 700 TD’s by playing as long as he did, so come on now, don’t hate, he wasn’t the only player to lose us the NFC Championship game, lots of players were competing in the fumblethon, yet somehow the game was still as close as it was.

  40. By Vikings1 on Oct 8, 2012 | Reply

    Did I miss something or did Jerome Simpson play in the game yesterday?

  41. By Muskyfever on Oct 8, 2012 | Reply

    Jerome Simpson played a few downs, but was having some issues with his left leg and tightness. I just think they were trying to play it safe with him, especially since we were up for the whole game…

    Vikes looked good, still see a little lack of confidense in Ponder when he throws the long ball. Thats when both INT’s came into play. Then he started back to the shorter stuff and it was right back on track for us. Good win, good D, great Harvin… Pay the man

  42. By Vikings1 on Oct 8, 2012 | Reply


    Thanks for the update.

  43. By Meekay on Oct 9, 2012 | Reply

    I’m actually glad Ponder got picked finally. I think it was becoming some big thing for him to not throw a pick and after he finally did he looked much more relaxed and willing to take a few chances. He can’t improve if he’s afraid of making a mistake.

  44. By vikingsfan1955 on Oct 9, 2012 | Reply

    for all of you that keep forgetting the main reason harvin is open lets include ap when we say good game having to watch the run lets harvin get open amd also the other recievers are doing very well so they can’t wacth everyone.

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