The Redskins had lost eight consecutive home games heading into Sunday’s showdown with the Vikings, and Robert Griffin III decided that was enough. The Redskins rookie quarterback – taken second overall in last April’s draft – passed and ran all over FedEx Field in leading Washington to a 38-26 victory over the Vikings, ending Minnesota’s three-game winning streak.
Griffin III, who was listed as questionable on the injury report after being limited in practice most of the week, showed no ill-effects from the concussion he suffered in last week’s home loss to the Atlanta Falcons. He accounted for 320 yards of offense and three touchdowns, proving to be most lethal on the ground with 13 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including a 76-yard scoring dash down the Redskins sideline that daggered the Vikings with 2:43 to play in the game.
The long touchdown jaunt came on the heels of 14 unanswered points by the Vikings and all but eliminated the road team’s chance to complete an improbable comeback. After opening up a 9-0 lead in the 1st quarter, the Vikings surrendered 24 consecutive points and didn’t score again until late in the 3rd quarter on yet another Blair Walsh field goal. The offensive drought and the defense’s inability to keep Griffin III off the field led to a 12-point deficit as the 4th quarter begin.
But in an instant, that 12-piont hole became a 19-point mountain because former Vikings safety Madieu Williams intercepted a Christian Ponder pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown, giving the Redskins a 31-12 lead.
That’s when Ponder began a Vikings comeback, taking his offense down the field for a pair of back-to-back scores. One touchdown was a 9-yard completion to WR Michael Jenkins followed by a 2-point conversion to TE Kyle Rudolph, and the other was a 1-yard toss to Rudolph that cut into Washington’s lead and made the score 31-26.
But three plays after the Rudolph touchdown, with the Vikings defense smelling a punt and looking to give Ponder and Co. the ball back again with a shot at the game-winning drive, Griffin III threw the FedEx Field crowd into a frenzy with his game-clinching sprint to paydirt.
Griffin III’s counterpart – Ponder – had an up-and-down day, finishing the game going 35 of 52 for 352 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Percy Harvin was Ponder’s most frequent target, collecting 11 receptions for 133 yards. Adrian Peterson looked explosive but wasn’t able to break loose, finishing the day with 17 carries for 79 yards; he was also a factor in the passing game with 7 receptions for 50 yards.
The offense will come away from the game wondering what could’ve been, though, as they were unable to score a touchdown on three trips inside the red zone in the 1st quarter, and finished the game scoring two touchdowns in seven total trips to the red area. The Vikings were good on 3rd downs (8 of 17), collected 27 first downs, racked up 421 yards of total offense and showed some spark late in the game, but that Ponder-led comeback, which featured plenty of Harvin as well, came up just short.
The Vikings return to Minnesota with just their second loss of the season, moving to 4-2. They will return to Mall of America Field next weekend for two home games over the course of four days, hosting the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the following Thursday.
There’s much more to go over from Sunday’s Vikings-Redskins game, so be sure to stay tuned to vikings.com for more summary and reaction to the game.
– Antoine Winfield led the Vikings defense with 10 tackles (unofficially), and he also grabbed his 2nd INT of the season.
— Ponder completed passes to eight different receivers during the game.
— Blair Walsh continued his impressive season, converting all 4 of his FG tries and also collecting 7 touchbacks to bring his total to 24 on the season.
— The Vikings held Alfred Morris, the NFL’s 4th-leading rusher heading into the game, to just 47 yards on 16 carries.
— The Vikings rotated Geoff Schwartz in at RG during the game. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier explaining after the game that the team wanted to get some tape on Schwartz during game action.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Blair Walsh, Christian Ponder, Geoff Schwartz, Kyle Rudolph, Michael Jenkins
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The Vikings can confirm the report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the team will play a home game in London during the 2013 season. Final details will be worked out and announced at the NFL Owner’s Meeting in Chicago on Tuesday, so vikings.com will have more information then.
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Here are the Vikings inactives for this afternoon’s game against the Redskins.
QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, WR Jarius Wright, CB Brandon Burton, S Mistral Raymond, LB Marvin Mitchell, OL Mark Asper and WR Jerome Simpson.
Michael Jenkins will start in place of Simpson at wide receiver.
Redskins inactives: WR P. Garcon, CB C.Griffin, S B. Meriweather, DE D. Worthington, QB R. Grossman, OG J. LeRibeus, and OG A. Gettis.
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It’s another late-afternoon kickoff for the Vikings, as they’re slated to kick off against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland at 4:25 p.m. ET (3:25 p.m. CT). It’s the Vikings second consecutive late-afternoon kickoff, with last week’s win over the Tennessee Titans also beginning at 3:25 p.m. CT.
While you’re trying to burn an extra few hours before kickoff, take a look at a few Vikings-related pre-game notes…
Robert Griffin III Expected To Start
To the surprise of no one, Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is expected to start today. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the news on Sunday morning, citing “a League source.” Griffin III sustained a concussion in the 3rd quarter last week against Atlanta, causing some to question whether or not he’d be ready to go against the Vikings. But Griffin III practiced each day this week and has passed the necessary tests under the NFL’s mandated concussion protocol. He was listed as questionable on the week’s final injury report, but it looks like he’ll be on the field today.
From The Ground Up
Both the Vikings and Redskins have talented young QBs in Christian Ponder and Griffin III, respectively. But make no mistake, the first battle to be waged in today’s game will be on the ground.
The Redskins rank 4th in the NFL in rushing yards, and they have a talented rookie RB in Alfred Morris who is causing opposing defenses plenty of trouble. Morris, a 6th-round pick out of Florida Atlantic this year, ranks 2nd in the NFC and 4th in the NFL with 491 rushing yards, has topped 100 yards rushing in each of the last two weeks and averages an impressive 4.9 yards per carry for the season. But the Vikings rank #6 in rushing defense and they are one of just three teams who have yet to allow a rush of 20+ yards. In fact, the longest rush the Vikings have allowed this year is 15 yards.
On the flip side, the Vikings of course feature Adrian Peterson. He returns to the field where he injured his knee on Christmas Eve last year. Peterson has 190 rushing yards the past two weeks and he’s just one 100-yard game away from tying the Vikings all-time record for career 100-yard rushing games (Robert Smith – 29). The Vikings have 7 rushes of 20+ yards, which is 2nd-most in the NFL this season.
Today’s Vikings-Redskins game will be televised by FOX, with Dick Stockton handling play-by-play and John Lynch providing analysis. Jennifer Hale will be the sideline reporter.
Of course you can catch the game on the Vikings Radio Network, too. The game will be on KFAN-FM 100.3/KTCN-AM 1130 locally. Paul Allen and Pete Bercich will call the action from the booth and Greg Coleman will handle sideline reporting duties. The Vikings Radio Network pre-game show, with Mike Mussman as host and yours truly joining about 40 minutes prior to kickoff, begins at 1:00 p.m. CT.
9 Vikings-Redskins Storylines
In case you missed it earlier in the week, we went over 9 Vikings-Redskins storylines to watch. Many of them still apply today, which is the point of that weekly blog entry. Check them out.
NFL teams can’t afford to look ahead to upcoming games, but we can. The Vikings will return to Mall of America Field next week for consecutive home games just 4 days apart. On Sunday, the Vikings will host the Arizona Cardinals. On the following Thursday, the Vikings will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game that will be televised by the NFL Network.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 23 Comments »