Postgame snapshot from the Edward Jones Dome, where the Vikings beat the Rams 36-22.
Good news: The Vikings defense came to play Sunday afternoon. And it started on the first series. A Brian Robison sack was the biggest play on the Rams’ opening possession, forcing a punt that allowed the Vikings to start their first TD drive in Rams territory. The offense responded with a 45-yard march and the Vikings took a quick 7-0 lead. In building a 30-7 halftime advantage, the Vikings defense got sacks from Robison, Christian Ballard and Erin Henderson and takeaways from Kevin Williams and Everson Griffen. Griffen returned his second quarter interception 29 yards for a touchdown. The Vikings finished plus-two in turnover margin. Quarterback Christian Ponder (17-for-24, 131 yards plus a 5-yard TD run) steered clear of costly mistakes. And, oh yeah, that Adrian Peterson kid busted off an 82-yard touchdown run as part of a ho-hum 24-carry, 212-yard day.
Bad news: On a day where so much went right, it’s hard to find much bad news. But the Vikings’ clock management again seemed suspect at the end of the first half. They took over for their final drive with 1:00 left at their own 47 and got four consecutive Ponder completions netting 29 yards. But the final pass of the half was a strange 2-yarder to Jerome Simpson. And with timeouts left, the Vikings probably could have run a few more plays. Instead, they let the clock run down to 0:04, called timeout and let Blair Walsh kick one of his five field goals on the day.
Extra point: With two games left in the regular season, Peterson has 1,812 rushing yards. He needs to average 147 per game in contests against the Texans and Packers to break Eric Dickerson's NFL single-season record of 2,105 yards.
Next up: The Vikings will travel to Houston next weekend. The Texans improved to 12-2 Sunday with a 29-17 home win over the Colts, clinching the AFC South title.