Vikings Go Old-School In 36-22 Win Over Rams

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 16, 2012 – 6:10 pm

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier has an affinity for old-school football after playing on one of the best defenses of all-time (the 1985 Chicago Bears) and with one of the greatest RBs of all-time (Walter Payton). As you can imagine, then, Frazier was quite pleased with his team following their big victory Sunday.

It’s a non-traditional final score, but the Vikings 36-22 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome was about as old-school as it gets. Another historic day by Adrian Peterson and a cleverly-crafted defensive game plan paced the Vikings winning effort, as they moved to 8-6 on the season and remained alive in the NFC playoff chase.

Peterson, who has been forward about his desire to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, looked like a man on a mission against the Rams. Constantly pushing through and dashing around Rams defenders, Peterson muscled and sprinted his way to 212 rushing yards and 1 TD on 24 carries. He had 2 runs of 50+ yards, including an 82-yard TD in the 1st half, and then his 54-yard outburst late in the game all but sealed the Vikings win.

As good as Peterson was on the day, he didn’t deliver the Vikings a victory on his own. The Vikings defense, which has come on of late, played perhaps its best game against the Rams. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams and his staff put together a game plan that held St. Louis to just 7 points in the 1st quarter and just 5.6 yards per play for the game.

Rather than relying on a 4-man rush from the defensive line and dropping 7 in coverage, the Vikings mixed up their calls and kept the Rams guessing. A quick glance at the stat sheet will illustrate the way the Vikings varied their defensive attack: defensive linemen Letroy Guion and Kevin Williams each had a pass defensed; linebackers Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson each had a sack; and Everson Griffen dropped into coverage and came away with a 29-yard INT return.

When all was said and done, the Vikings had 5 pass breakups, 4 sacks and a fumble recovery. Greenway led the team in tackles (again) and role players such as Christian Ballard (1.0 sack), Griffen and Marcus Sherels all had an impact on defense.

The Vikings running game and defense were key in the victory, but credit also goes to QB Christian Ponder for a well-managed game. Ponder was efficient and careful, connecting on 17 of 24 passes for 131 yards with no TDs or INTs; he also had a 5-yard rushing TD in the 1st quarter. Blair Walsh also played a key role, hitting a NFL record 3 FGs of 50+ yards and going 5 of 5 on the day.

It was a huge win for the Vikings because it keeps them alive in the NFC playoff chase and improves their record in the NFC should that come into tie-breaking procedures. Now the team will sit back, watch the rest of the NFC games unfold late Sunday, and prepare for a game against one of the AFC’s best next week – the Houston Texans.

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Vikings Explode To 30-7 Halftime Lead Over Rams

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 16, 2012 – 1:46 pm

It looked like the Vikings and Rams were in for a close, back-and-forth affair on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. But a 2nd-quarter explosion by Adrian Peterson and the Vikings defense blew the game open and staked the Vikings to a 23-point advantage at halftime.

The Vikings opened the scoring on a 10-play, 45-yard drive that was capped by Christian Ponder’s 5-yard dash for a score. That drive included a 4th-down conversion and a 3rd-down conversion, and Ponder’s score happened after he escaped the grasp of a Rams defensive lineman. St. Louis answered with a TD of their own – a Sam Bradford pass to WR Brian Quick – and the score was 7-7 early in the 2nd quarter.

After being bottled up for the entire 1st quarter, though, Adrian Peterson broke free for an 82-yard TD run on the Vikings first play following the Rams TD. From that point on, it was all Vikings. The Rams fumbled a snap on their next possession, the Vikings recovered, and then Blair Walsh hit a 50-yarder to make the score 17-7. On the ensuing drive, Bradford was intercepted by Vikings LB Everson Griffen on 3rd down. Griffen turned upfield and ran the interception back 29 yards for the score, extending the Vikings lead to 24-7.

From there, the Vikings tacked on 2 more FGs, one as the half expired following a Rams missed FG, and the Vikings lead at intermission was 30-7.

Ponder played efficiently in the half, completing 11 of 16 passes for 85 yards. Peterson finished the 1st half with 119 yards and the TD on 13 carries. In the 1st half, Walsh set a new Vikings rookie single-season scoring record, surpassing the previous mark  of 106 points that was previously held by Randy Moss.

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Vikings-Rams Inactives

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on December 16, 2012 – 10:30 am

Here are today’s inactives:

QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson
CB Brandon Burton
LB Audie Cole
OL Troy Kropog
OL Mark Asper
TE Allen Reisner
DE D’Aundre Reed

QB Austin Davis
DT Matt Conrath
T Joe Barksdale
OL Chris Williams
RB Terrance Ganaway
WR Steve Smith
TE Mike McNeill

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