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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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8 Vikings-Rams Storylines To Follow

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 12, 2012 – 7:30 am

A couple of NFC foes will reacquaint themselves this Sunday, as the Vikings travel to St. Louis to challenge the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. This is the first meeting between the two teams since 2009, and it’s the 42nd contest all-time between the two franchises. But enough looking back, let’s look ahead at this matchup and point out a few of the storylines we’ll be chasing this week…

1. A Playoff Game In December?
Both the Vikings and Rams remain alive in the NFC playoff chase, but neither team can likely afford a loss this week if they hope to be in the mix a week from now. There won’t be any playoff pageantry or pre-game hype, but for all intents and purposes, Sunday’s matchup between these two teams is a de facto playoff game. This has no bearing on how the game will unfold on Sunday, but it’s interesting to note that the Vikings and Rams have met in the actual playoffs 7 times, including 4 times from 1974-78. The Vikings won 5 of the 7 postseason contests between the two franchises.

2. Adrian Peterson Chases 2,000-Yard Mark, MVP Award
Shifting the focus for a moment from the team goal of making the playoffs toward highlight individual accomplishment, the story of the week (and of the season) is Adrian Peterson. He leads the NFL with 1,600 rushing yards, which is more rushing yards than 23 other teams have, and he also is tied for 2nd in the NFL with 10 rushing TDs. Peterson will be going for his 8th consecutive 100-yard outing on Sunday, and over the last 7 games he’s averaged 157.2 yards per contest. To reach the 2,000-mark, Peterson must average 133.3 yards per game over the final 3 weeks of the season. Peterson has become a part of the conversation on a national level for MVP consideration, joining the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in that discussion.

3. The Rams Have A Good Running Back, Too
St. Louis has a beast of a RB, too, in Steven Jackson. In fact, Sunday’s Vikings-Rams game features two of the top 3 active career rushing leaders. Jackson (9,929) and Peterson (8,352) rank 1st and 3rd, respectively, in career rushing yards among active players. Jackson runs with an aggressive north-south style and also possesses the extra gear to break away in the open field.

4. Jeff Fisher Has Turned The Rams Around
In his first-year as head coach, the well-respected Jeff Fisher has turned the culture around in St. Louis. The Rams last had a winning season in 2003, when Mike Martz was the head coach and Marc Bulger was the QB. They were 12-4 that season, and since then have been no better than 8-8 and even fell to the depths of 2-14 in 2008 and 1-15 in 2009. They are 6-6-1 under Fisher in his first season, have dramatically increased their performance on defense and seem to be finding a few right answers on offense.

5. Rams A New Team Since Week 9 Bye
The Rams lost 3 straight games heading into their Week 9 bye, dropping them to 3-5 on the season and causing most people to all but forget about them. They came out of the bye a new team, though, playing the San Francisco 49ers to a tie in Week 10, dropping a contest to the Jets in Week 11, and then ripping off 3 straight wins, including 2 on the road, to move them to where they sit now at 6-6-1. Their pass rush has come alive, which has allowed their playmakers in the secondary to be more aggressive, and QB Sam Bradford has a 7-3 TD-INT ratio since the bye week.

6. Vikings Must Slow Down Rams Pass Rush
The Vikings bread and butter is the running game, obviously, so the Rams will be charged with slowing down the NFL’s best RB and 3rd-ranked rushing attack. But when it’s time to put the ball in the air, the Vikings must worry about the NFL’s 2nd-ranked pass rush. The Rams are tied for 2nd in the NFL with 39 sacks. DEs Robert Quinn (9.5) and Chris Long (7.5) lead the way for the Rams pass rush, but 3 others have 3+ sacks so it’s a deep group of pass rushers that will come at QB Christian Ponder all game.

7. Top Rookie Kickers Go Head-To-Head
Both the Vikings and Rams spent draft picks last April on kickers, and both teams couldn’t be happier with their selections. The Vikings, of course, spent a 6th-round pick on Blair Walsh and he’s already set a team record for single-season touchbacks and is just 10 points from setting the Vikings rookie scoring record, currently held by Randy Moss. The Rams also spent a 6th-round pick on their kicker - Greg Zuerlein – and he’s been equally as impressive. Zuerlein is 19 of 24 on FGs this season, including 5 of 8 from 50+. Walsh is 24 of 27 on FGs this season, including 5 of 5 from 50+.

8. Minnesota Natives Set To Battle Hometown Team
A couple of Rams defenders will see familiar colors on Sunday but will be battling against their hometown team. Middle LB James Laurinaitis is a Wayzata, MN native and S Craig Dahl is a Madison Lake, MN native. They are both starters on the Rams defense. Also, Apple Valley, MN native Trevor Laws plays on the Rams defensive line but is on the Reserve/Injured list.


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The Forgotten Phase: Vikings Special Teams Group Key In Sunday’s Win

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 11, 2012 – 7:17 am

Special teams is often the forgotten about phase of football. But it’s been hard to miss the Vikings special teams performance this season, especially with the Vikings being just one of eight teams with both a punt return and kickoff return TD and with rookie K Blair Walsh ready to set the team rookie scoring mark and already having set a team single-season touchback record.

In Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bears, a team known for having spectacular special teams play annually, it was the Vikings special teams group that continued to make a difference.

Walsh continued to execute well on kickoffs. He’s already proven to have a powerful leg with 41 touchbacks through 13 games. But now the Vikings are displaying some variety in their kickoff game plan by asking Walsh to put some hang time on his kickoffs so the coverage team can run down and tackle returners inside the 20. The Vikings executed that plan to perfection on Sunday, keeping Bears kickoff returner Eric Weems from crossing the 20-yardline on all 4 of his attempts.

Speaking of keeping teams inside the 20, Vikings P Chris Kluwe did just that twice on Sunday. In fact, his 2 punts inside the 20 were downed at the 5 and the 3. The Bears were forced to punt after 6 plays on one of those drives and then turned the ball over on downs on the other series. Kluwe had 7 punts on the afternoon, and 5 of them were returned by the ever-dangerous Devin Hester. But Hester was not dangerous on Sunday. He did surpass his season average for punt returns, but he wasn’t able to break off a long enough return to flip the field position, which he’s done so many times against the Vikings over the years.

When all was said and done, Chicago’s average drive start was their own 21, and their average drive start after a kickoff was their own 14. When Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer’s group puts up numbers like that, it puts Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams’ and Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave’s group in better position to succeed.


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Walsh Closing In On Vikings Rookie Scoring Mark

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 28, 2012 – 3:54 pm

Fan balloting for this year’s Pro Bowl is not reflecting it (yet), but Blair Walsh is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Among NFC kickers, Walsh ranks 3rd in FGs made (24), 2nd in FG% (92.3%) & 1st in 50+ FG% (5 for 5). Plus, he made a game-tying 55-yarder and game-winning 38-yarder to beat Jaguars in Week 1, and he already holds the Vikings touchback record with 41.

Whether Walsh will surpass San Francisco 49ers K David Akers in Pro Bowl balloting remains to be seen is largely out of Walsh’s control. What we might see very soon and what is in his control, though, is Walsh eclipsing the Vikings rookie scoring record. Randy Moss had one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history in 1998, and when all was said and done he set a new Vikings rookie scoring record with 106 points (17 TDs, 2 2-point conversions).

Through 11 games, Walsh is already at 94 points (24 FGs, 22 PATs) and is on pace to finish his rookie season with 137 points. If Walsh maintains his pace, he’ll surpass Moss’ record by 31 points.

That makes you wonder, how long until Walsh’s rookie scoring mark is broken? It looks as if Walsh will be the Vikings kicker for a long time, so it’s unlikely that the team will be relying on another rookie kicker anytime soon (kickers have the best chance to break the scoring mark). As good of a rookie season as Adrian Peterson had (13 TDs), he finished with 78 points. And even if another Randy Moss-type rookie season unfolds, that will come up well short of Walsh’s record.

The Vikings 2012 draft class will go down as one of the best in team history, and Walsh is a big reason why.


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A Closer Look: 5 Decisive Moments In Vikings-Bears Game

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 26, 2012 – 3:39 pm

Following his team’s 28-10 loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier was asked during his post-game press conference what the turning point in the game was in his mind. Frazier didn’t identify one moment where the game turned around, and instead spoke broadly about how the game unfolded.

After a day reflecting on the game, I agree with Frazier that it’s hard to define a moment that changed the course of the game. So rather than hyper-analyze a moment or two that contributed to Sunday’s outcome, let’s take a look at five moments in the game that shaped what turned out to be the Vikings 5th loss of the season.

Matt Forte fumbles, Chad Greenway recovers (13:12, 1st quarter)
The very first moments of the game were not great for the Vikings. QB Christian Ponder was sacked on the first play of the game and the Vikings went 3-and-out. But it looked as if early momentum would swing back to the Vikings when Bears RB Matt Forte fumbled on Chicago’s first offensive snap. Chad Greenway recovered the fumble, and the Vikings offense set up shop on the Bears 28.

Chicago dodged a bullet, though, and forced the Vikings to bring Blair Walsh on the field for a 40-yard FG after just three plays. The rookie kicker converted and the Vikings led 3-0, but it was a “win” for the Bears because they didn’t allow a TD after the Vikings started with such great field position.

Adrian Peterson fumbles, Charles Tillman recovers (10:13, 1st quarter)
Just moments after the Forte fumble, the Vikings returned the favor. And the Bears were able to do what the Vikings could not – they turned it into a TD. Peterson took a handoff on the Vikings first play following a Bears 3-and-out after the Walsh FG, and he was tackled by Bears LB Nick Roach. Peterson fumbled the ball, and Bears CB Charles Tillman fell on it, giving the Bears offense good field position at the Minnesota 34.

Six plays later, RB Michael Bush plunged into the end zone for a 1-yard TD, and the Robbie Gould PAT gave the Bears a 7-3 lead.

Defensive pass interference called against Antoine Winfield in end zone (4:17, 2nd quarter)
Leading 10-3 late in the 2nd quarter, the Bears were driving and had a 1st-and-10 from the Minnesota 25. Jay Cutler dropped back to pass and had no one open, so he escaped the pocket to buy more time. After surveying the field and still seeing no one open, he rifled a pass toward WR Brandon Marshall, who was covered by CB Antoine Winfield. As if he were playing basketball, Marshall posted up on the shorter Winfield and made a play for the ball. The nearest official threw a flag for what appeared to be offensive pass interference. But the call went against Winfield, and the Bears were set up with a 1st-and-goal from the 1.

On the Bears next play, Bush once again plunged in for a 1-yard score, and then Chicago ran a fake Pat to score a 2-point conversion and take an 18-3 lead.

Jay Cutler 13-yard TD pass to TE Matt Spaeth – reviewed and upheld (1:55, 2nd quarter)
Vikings QB Christian Ponder was intercepted by Bears S Chris Conte, and it didn’t take Chicago long to turn the Vikings second turnover of the game into another TD.

On the Bears first play from scrimmage after the INT, Cutler found TE and former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Matt Spaeth in the corner of the end zone for a 13-yard TD. After catching the ball, Spaeth fell to the ground and was out of bounds. The call on the field was a TD, but the play was reviewed. After review, the officials upheld the original ruling, and after another Gould Pat the Bears led 25-3.

Matt Forte fumbles, Mistral Raymond recovers and returns 52 yards for a TD – play is overturned (6:39, 3rd quarter)
The Vikings had just scored a TD on a Ponder-to-Kyle Rudolph 2-yard connection, making the score 25-10. On their ensuing possession, the Bears were driving and were at midfield. Forte took a handoff and was stopped by a group of Vikings, and then fumbled on his way to the ground after being bent back awkwardly. Vikings S Mistral Raymond wisely scooped up the ball and sprinted 52 yards to the end zone, where the officials ruled the play a TD. After review, though, the play was overturned and the Bears retained possession.

Four plays later, Gould salvaged the drive with a 46-yard FG, increasing the Bears lead to 28-10. The series of plays represented a 10-point swing in which the Vikings could trailed by just 8 points early in the 2nd half but instead wound up trailing by 18 points.


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Peterson, 3 Other Vikings Lead In Pro Bowl Voting

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 14, 2012 – 3:04 pm

Adrian Peterson is the leading Pro Bowl vote-getter for the NFC at RB and is 5th among all NFL players, with 5 weeks of voting remaining. Three other Vikings – DE Jared Allen, KR Percy Harvin and LT Matt Kalil – also lead their respective positions in NFC Pro Bowl voting.

It’s great news that 4 Vikings lead their positions in the balloting, but that also means Vikings fans have work to do. Fans can click here to cast their ballots.

Blair Walsh is having the best season among NFC kickers, having converted 23 of 24 FGs (5 of 5 from 50+) and boasting 41 touchbacks already. TE Kyle Rudolph is 2nd among NFC TEs with 6 TD receptions, FB Jerome Felton is lead-blocking for the NFL’s leading rusher, John Sullivan has developed into one of the League’s finest centers, Chad Greenway is the NFL’s leading tackler and Antoine Winfield looks to have found the fountain of youth. Those are just a handful of Vikings who are deserving of Pro Bowl consideration.

Balloting will conclude on Monday, December 17 following the conclusion of Monday Night Football. The teams will be announced at 6:00 p.m. CT Wednesday, December 26 on NFL Network’s “Total Access.”

The AFC and NFC All-Star squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters that represent the American Football Conference and National Football Conference in the Pro Bowl. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on December 20-21.

The 2013 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 27, 2013 and televised live on NBC at 6:00 p.m. CT from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.


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Bring Out The Brooms! Vikings Win 34-24, Sweep Lions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 11, 2012 – 4:10 pm

After a two-game losing streak fanned the flames of a hot 5-2 start, the Vikings reignited their season on Sunday at Mall of America Field with a fiery 34-24 victory over the Detroit Lions that featured a bounce-back performance from QB Christian Ponder, another dominating performance from RB Adrian Peterson and timely ferocity from the defense.

Before a blow-by-blow recap of how the Vikings won, here’s a quick summary of the stand-out performers…

– Peterson continues to display why he’s the best RB in the NFL. Coming off 3 consecutive 100-yard games, Peterson ran through the Lions as well. He rushed for 171 yards and 1 TD on 27 carries, including a game-breaking and victory-clinching 61-yard dash in the 4th quarter. The Vikings are now 27-12 when Peterson carries the ball 20+ times. Peterson has 1,128 yards on the season, which averages out to 112.8 yards per game and puts him on pace for a career-high 1,804 yards. Not bad for a guy coming off knee surgery.

– Ponder critics were out in full force the past three weeks, but they’ll have to take a couple weeks off after Sunday’s outing. Ponder was 24 of 32 on the afternoon, throwing for 221 yards and 2 TDs with 0 INTs for a passer rating of 114.2. He took just 1 sack on the day and pulled the ball down to run 7 times, gaining 15 yards. Ponder hit 10 different receivers on the day (including himself) and leaned heavily on TE Kyle Rudolph (7 receptions, 64 yards, 1 TD).

– LB Chad Greenway is the NFL’s leading tackler. He was up to his usual tricks again on Sunday, but he put a stamp on this week’s performance by grabbing a 1st-quarter INT. His big play led to a Blair Walsh FG and a 10-0 Vikings lead.

– S Jamarca Sanford has stepped up big time for the Vikings this season. He forced yet another fumble on a Calvin Johnson reception. He has 5 forced fumbles on the season. Antoine Winfield recovered the fumble, which set up yet another Walsh FG.

– We should mention Walsh here because he had a fantastic day. Walsh was 4 for 4 on FGs, connecting from 48, 23 (twice) and 33 yards. He also blasted 6 touchbacks and now is the Vikings single-season record holder in that category. P Chris Kluwe was also a standout performer on the afternoon, flipping field position with ease and often times pinning Detroit deep in their own territory.

Fans left the game talking about Peterson and Ponder, but in the early stages it was rookie receiver Jarius Wright who created a buzz. Active for his first regular season game with fellow receiver Percy Harvin sidelined due to an ankle injury, Wright got the party going early by dashing through the heart of the Lions defense on his team’s fifth play from scrimmage and hauling in a 54-yard reception from Ponder that set the Vikings up with a 1st and goal from the 1. Just two plays later, Ponder went back to Wright to cap the drive with a 3-yard TD to give the Vikings an early 7-0 lead.

The Vikings took a 13-3 lead into the locker room at halftime, and then extended that lead to 16-3 early in the 2nd half when Blair Walsh hit his 3rd FG of the game, that one from 23 yards out. The Lions responded immediately with a quick 4-play, 81 drive that culminated in a 16-yard TD reception by TE Brandon Pettigrew. Ponder and Co. showed resiliency, though, and answered the Pettigrew score with a TD pass to their starting TE – Kyle Rudolph. Ponder found his buddy for a 20-yard score and Peterson bulled his way into the end zone for the 2-point conversion, giving the Vikings a 24-10 lead early in the 4th quarter.

QB Matthew Stafford and the Lions would not go away, though. Explosive plays and Vikings penalties put the Lions on the Vikings goal line in just 6 plays, and Stafford found WR Titus Young for the TD to pull his team to within 7 points midway through the 4th quarter. The Vikings went 3-and-out on their next drive, but the defense responded by forcing a Lions punt as well.

That set the stage for Peterson to dagger Detroit. He exploded through the Lions defensive front for 19 yards on 1st down, and then dazzled the home crowd on his next carry with a 61-yard exclamation point, giving the Vikings a 31-17 lead. Johnson fumbled on the Lions first play after the Peterson TD and Walsh tacked on another FG to move the Vikings lead to 34-17. The Lions found Johnson for a late TD, but it was too little, too late for the Lions.

The Vikings came away with the victory, giving them a series sweep of their division rivals and moving them to a perfect 2-0 within the NFC North. The win snapped their 2-game losing streak and sends them into their bye with optimism, as a grueling 6-game stretch awaits them. The Vikings will come out of their bye week with consecutive road games against the Bears and Packers, and then will host the Bears on December 9 before hitting the road for consecutive games once again (at St. Louis and at Houston). The Vikings will conclude their regular season schedule with border rival Green Bay on December 30.


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Harvin, Peterson, Walsh On Pro Football Weekly’s 2012 Midseason All-Pro Team

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 6, 2012 – 1:14 pm

The Vikings are well-represented on Pro Football Weekly’s 2012 Midseason All-Pro Team, with Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and K Blair Walsh all getting nods from the outlet’s editors. Peterson was a unanimous choice, Harvin was selected for two positions (wide receiver and kickoff returner), and Walsh is one just two rookies on the team.

Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 957 yards, Harvin leads the NFL in receptions with 62 and kickoff return average (35.9), and Walsh is tied for the lead in FGs of 50+ yards with 5 and leads the NFC in FG% at 95.0%.

OFFENSE
QB Aaron Rodgers/Packers
RB Adrian Peterson/Vikings*
RB Marshawn Lynch/Seahawks
WR A.J. Green/Bengals*
WR Reggie Wayne/Colts
WR Percy Harvin/Vikings
TE Rob Gronkowski/Patriots
C Mike Pouncey/Dolphins
OG Mike Iupati/49ers*
OG Marshal Yanda/Ravens
OT Duane Brown/Texans
OT Anthony Davis/49ers

DEFENSE
DE J.J. Watt/Texans*
DE Julius Peppers/Bears
DT Geno Atkins/Bengals*
DT Vince Wilfork/Patriots
OLB Lance Briggs/Bears
OLB Clay Matthews/Packers
ILB Daryl Washington/Cardinals*
ILB Sean Lee/Cowboys
CB Richard Sherman/Seahawks
CB Charles Tillman/Bears
S Earl Thomas/Seahawks
S Mark Barron/Buccaneers

SPECIALISTS
PK Blair Walsh/Vikings
P Andy Lee/49ers
PR Leodis McKelvin/Bills
KR Percy Harvin/Vikings

HEAD COACH Mike Smith/Falcons
EXECUTIVE/GM John Elway/Broncos


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Adrian Peterson Dominates, But Vikings Fall In Seattle

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 5, 2012 – 1:13 am

Adrian Peterson was in prime form on Sunday afternoon, rushing hard and fast for 182 yards and 2 TDs on 17 carries. But his Herculean effort, which included a 74-yard run on the second play of the game, was not enough to overcome several Vikings shortcomings. The end result was a 30-20 victory for the Seahawks over the Vikings at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

From the opening kick through the 4th quarter, Peterson ran over and danced around a formidable Seattle defense and reminded everyone why he’s the best running back in the NFL. He averaged 10.7 yards per carry and had runs of 15, 16, 24, 28 and 74 yards, breaking multiple tackles on a play with regularity and showing no signs of a player who incurred such a serious knee injury last December.

The Vikings were off to a quick start thanks to Peterson’s 74-yard gallop on the game’s opening series. Two plays later, Peterson plunged in from a yard out to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead. But it unraveled from there, as Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch and rookie QB Russell Wilson capitalized on short fields (thanks to Seattle takeaways) and second chances (thanks to Vikings penalties).

The Seahawks got on the board following a Percy Harvin fumble on the Vikings second drive of the game, with Wilson finding WR Golden Tate for a 6-yard strike. The Vikings punted on their ensuing drive, and Seattle took a 14-7 lead with Wilson-to-Sidney Rice TD strike.

The Vikings responded, with Ponder driving his team 80 yards in 11 plays to watch Peterson score from 4 yards out to tie the game at 14. Blair Walsh tacked on 3 more points with a 36-yard FG that salvaged a drive after a sack on 3rd and 7 from the Seattle 11. The Vikings led 17-14 at that point, but saw that lead disappear after a masterful 12-play, 80 drive by Wilson and the Seattle offense that was capped by another Tate TD reception, the 3rd TD throw of Wilson’s day. The extra point was blocked by Kevin Williams, so Seattle took a 20-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Seattle used a 4-point edge in the 3rd quarter thanks to a Lynch TD (Walsh had a 55-yard FG, too) to take a 27-20 lead into the 4th quarter. The teams exchanged punts at the beginning of the 4th quarter, Seattle K Steven Hauschka split the uprights on a 40-yard try to make it 30-2-, and then the Vikings weren’t able to inch any closer for the remainder of the game.

Wilson finished going 16 of 24 for 173yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs. Lynch, the NFL’s 2nd-leading rusher behind Peterson, rushed for 124 yards and 1 TD on 24 carries.

While the Vikings were next to unstoppable on the ground, they struggled throwing the ball. QB Christian Ponder was 11 of 22 for 63 yards with no TDs and 1 INT. LBs Jasper Brinkley and Chad Greenway each registered 13 tackles and DEs Jared Allen and Brian Robison were each credited with a .5 sack.

The loss drops the Vikings to 5-4 on the season as they get set this week to host the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field before heading into their bye week.


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