Postgame snapshot from Mall of America Field where the Broncos beat the Vikings 35-32.
Good news: Percy Harvin feels just fine. After missing practice Friday with an illness, Harvin delivered a career-day, catching eight passes for 156 yards, including touchdown receptions of 52 and 48 yards in the second half. Christian Ponder also shook off a bad start, overcoming an early fumble and an interception returned for a touchdown to throw for a career-best 381 yards with three TD passes. Ponder also engineered a go-ahead field goal drive late in the game. But his interception on the Vikings’ final series was a killer, setting Denver up for an easy game-winning drive. Ponder appeared to underthrow Harvin on the fatal pick, setting the Broncos up at the 15. Matt Prater’s 23-yard field goal as time expired sent the Vikings to their 10th loss of the season.
Bad news: The Vikings’ depleted secondary was chewed up and spit out by Denver quarterback Tim Tebow and receiver Demaryius Thomas. That duo connected four times for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin was beaten badly by Thomas several times. Rookie Brandon Burton was also beaten by Thomas deep for a 40-yard gain on Denver’s game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter.
Extra point: Forget the Vikings’ 2-10 record. Jared Allen continues to play at a level worthy of Defensive Player of the Year consideration. Allen started the scoring this afternoon with a safety of Willis McGahee on Denver’s first play from scrimmage. Allen also set up the Vikings’ final score of the first half, sacking Tim Tebow, forcing a fumble and recovering it with 39 seconds to play. Allen’s safety was the fourth of his career, tying an NFL record held by Ted Hendricks and Doug English. Allen also now has 14.5 sacks this season.
Next up: The Vikings will travel to Detroit to play the Lions at Ford Field. Detroit, which won the first meeting with the Vikings 26-23 in overtime in Week 3, is in New Orleans today for a showdown with New Orleans on “Football Night in America.”