The Vikings got their first victory today by beating Pittsburgh 34-27 in a game that was a lot like the previous two weeks.
Only this time, the Vikings made a defensive stop at the end on a great play by Everson Griffen to end the game.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a pretty tough customer. He threw for 383 yards and it looked like he was going to tie the game on the final drive, but Griffen sacked him and Kevin Williams recovered to preserve the victory.
Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel didn't start out too well, but he completed his last 11 passes and didn't have any turnovers.
The big thing was, the Vikings got Jerome Felton back and he really helped Adrian Peterson return to his normal form.
One of the unsung heroes was Jerome Simpson, who was targeted 11 times and caught seven passes for 124 yards. He made a great play to rescue Cassel when Cassel fumbled the ball upfield. And Greg Jennings finally had a great game for the Vikings, with a 70-yard touchdown reception.
They got lucky at the end. They lost games to the Bears and Browns under similar circumstances.
With a week off, they can get some guys healthy.
As far as the quarterback situation goes, I don't think Ponder will be healthy enough to play against Carolina in two weeks. That broken rib isn't something that'll heal quickly and if they say it affects his heart, well, he's going to have to sit out.
But I think if he's healthy, they'll put him back in there. He didn't lose those games to the Bears and the Browns. The defense lost those games.
It made my day when I got a package of birthday cards from a third grade classroom in Rochester.
Brian Krenik's third graders at St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School put together the package and mailed it me at WCCO Radio.
Mr. Krenik wrote: "Many of the students did not hear of you, truly a black mark on their generation. A couple students do know their parents listen to you on Sunday morning, so that made me feel a little better. They did enjoy looking you up on the Star Tribune web site, and think it is cool that you get to write about sports for a living."
Mr. Krenik said his students enjoy writing letters, and I had a chance to read them all and really enjoyed them.
Katherine wrote: "I can't believe you were born in 1920!"
Maggie wrote: "Third grade is very fun because you get to learn multiplication and cursive. Do you remember learning that stuff?"
Joseph wrote: "If you fish, what do you fish for?"
Tommy wrote: "Were there cars in 1925?"
Most of the kids wanted to know what my favorite sport was. I always say whatever is in season. When it's football season, I like football. Basketball season, basketball. Baseball season, baseball.
Julio wrote: "Have a good life, Mr. Hartman." Believe me, I have.
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