Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Go Figure: Vikings' stingy defense getting production from everywhere

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Brad Childress, Brian Robison, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin Updated: October 9, 2012 - 8:37 AM

As the Vikings prepare for Sunday’s Week 6 game with Washington at FedEx Field, here’s a look at a handful of eye-opening figures and facts.

14

Vikings defensive players who have recorded either a sack or had a hand in a takeaway this season. In Sunday’s win against Tennessee, Jared Allen and Brian Robison each took down Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck once. Antoine Winfield intercepted a pass in the second quarter. And Jasper Brinkley forced a Chris Johnson fumble that rookie safety Harrison Smith recovered. The defense is in a groove right now as it heads to play the Redskins.

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25

Career interceptions by Winfield, who has now recorded at least one pick in 13 of his 14 NFL seasons. Sunday’s pick was Winfield’s first since the 2011 season opener. He has also now intercepted passes from 17 different NFL quarterbacks. The two quarterbacks Winfield has victimized most? Peyton Manning and Joey Harrington, who were each picked off four times by Winfield. 

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9

First-half points allowed by the Vikings during their three-game winning streak. The Vikings shut Tennessee out in the first half Sunday. That came after surrendering six points to Detroit the week before and three to San Francisco in Week 3. In those three games, the Vikings’ defense has been on the field for 13 first-half drives, allowing 369 net yards and 22 first downs. 

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47

Rushing yards per game allowed by the Vikings to the top running back of their first five opponents. That’s a decent stable of backs too – Maurice Jones-Drew, Donald Brown, Frank Gore, Mikel Leshoure and Chris Johnson. Jones-Drew had the biggest game of that quintet, rushing for 77 yards on 19 carries. The last back to rush for 100 yards against the Vikings was Washington’s Evan Royster (19 carries, 132 yards) on Christmas Eve last season. 

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98.2

Rushing yards per game by Redskins back Alfred Morris this season. The 5-foot-10, 218-pounder is in his rookie season and was the 12th running back taken in April’s draft, selected in the sixth-round (No. 173 overall). But Morris currently ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards with 491, trailing only Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles (551) and Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch (508). Morris had 115 yards on 18 carries in Sunday’s loss to the Falcons 

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241

Rushing yards so far this season by Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin is a multi-dimensional quarterback who can fluster defenses with his arm and his legs. He has thrown four touchdown passes this season and rushed for four more. Yet the worry that his dazzling and athletic running style could expose him to extra danger was confirmed Sunday when he suffered a concussion on a 7-yard red zone run against Atlanta.

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499

Yards from scrimmage this season for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who returns Sunday to the site of where he tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee. At the time, Peterson’s injury was thought to be a devastating setback for one of the league’s top playmakers. And while Peterson hasn’t necessarily shown he’s back to 100 percent yet, his recovery and 2012 production has been remarkable. For comparison, Peterson’s 499 yards this year have come on 109 touches. Through five games in 2011, he had 547 total yards on 119 touches. 

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2-0

Leslie Frazier’s record as Vikings head coach in games played at FedEx Field. Last December, Frazier’s team scored an improbable 33-26 victory in a game during which they lost running back Adrian Peterson and quarterback Christian Ponder on successive plays early in the second half. In place of Peterson, Toby Gerhart rushed for 105 yards after halftime. In place of Ponder, Joe Webb went 4-for-5 for 84 yards with TD tosses of 17 yards to Kyle Rudolph and 8 yards to Percy Harvin. Webb also rushed for 34 yards, including a 9-yard score. A year earlier, the Vikings beat Washington 17-13 in the first game after Brad Childress was fired with Frazier supplanting him as coach.

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38

Receptions so far this season by Percy Harvin. In history, only one other Vikings has had more catches through the season’s first five games. That was Cris Carter, who had 41 grabs in 1994 on his way to a 122-catch, 1,256-yard season. Harvin is currently on pace to catch 122 balls for 1,302 yards. He recorded his first two offensive touchdowns of the season against Tennessee on Sunday – a 4-yard run and a 10-yard reception. Harvin had 108 receiving yards and now has nine career 100-yard games. In last season’s win at Washington, Harvin had five catches for 65 yards as a score.

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St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 4 FINAL
Washington - LP: J. Zimmermann 3
Toronto - WP: M. Buehrle 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 0
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 2 FINAL
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NY Mets - B. Colon
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