As the Vikings prepare for Sunday’s Week 5 game with Tennessee at Mall of America Field, here’s a look at a handful of eye-opening figures and facts.
Points allowed by the Titans in four games this season, most in the NFL. Tennessee is coming off a 38-14 loss in Houston on Sunday in which the Texans twice returned interceptions for touchdowns. All four Tennessee opponents – the Patriots, Chargers, Lions and Texans – scored at least 34 points.
Touchdowns allowed by the Vikings’ defense in the last two-and-a-half games. Since allowing a 30-yard TD pass from Andrew Luck to Reggie Wayne late in the first half of their Week 2 loss in Indianapolis, the Vikings defense has been on the field for 27 possessions and has given up just 32 points. In that time, the defense has forced 12 punts and created four takeaways.
Yards rushing for Tennessee tailback Chris Johnson in Sunday’s loss at Houston. Coming into the game, Johnson had just 45 rushing yards on 33 carries this season. But he seemed to hit his stride against the Titans, averaging 5.6 yards per attempt against a strong Texans defense. The Vikings, meanwhile, have surrendered just 91 rushing yards to opposing running backs the last two weeks on 30 attempts.
Career 100-yard rushing days for the Viking who wears number 28, Adrian Peterson. The star running back had 102 yards on 21 carries Sunday in Detroit and is now just one 100-yard game away from tying Robert Smith’s team record. Peterson seemed to be attacking and cutting with confidence in Sunday’s win in Detroit and said afterwards that he felt like he was on the verge of breaking a long touchdown run five or six different times.
Penalties committed by the Vikings in their lone loss of the season in Week 2 at Indianapolis. All of those miscues – including five for 65 yards during a self-destructive the third quarter – really hindered the Vikings’ comeback effort.
Penalties committed by the Vikings in their three wins combined. They drew just five flags against the Lions and only one on offense and continued to play the brand of tough, disciplined football that coach Leslie Frazier wants to see.
Receiving yards for Percy Harvin in Sunday’s win at Detroit on three catches, both season lows by far. The Lions paid extra attention to Harvin throughout the game and had plans devised to prevent those quick-hitter passes that quarterback Christian Ponder had been effective with through the Vikings’ first three games. Said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier: “There were a number of times we looked and they had guys bracketing [Percy] and they rotated the safeties to play the reverse. They had a good plan, a good Percy plan.” Harvin’s final reception of the day came early in the second quarter. But the attention he demanded helped open things up a little bit for Peterson in the ground game.
Yards accounted for by receiver Jerome Simpson, who was playing his first game after returning from a three-game suspension. Simpson had a team-best four catches for 50 yards and also drew pass interference penalties against Detroit rookie Bill Bentley that resulted in Vikings gains of 31 and 26 yards. Simpson’s biggest catch came with 2:53 left, when on a second-and-11 play from the Vikings 19, he hauled in a 27-yard grab up the left sideline against Bentley, producing a key first down. Said Frazier: “The threat that he gives us vertically, that catch he made late in the fourth quarter, that’s a big time catch.”
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