The Vikings didn’t win a road game last season, and you have to go back to late 2012 when they last won away from home -- at St. Louis, where they won today 34-6, and at Houston.
The interesting thing in the victory Sunday was that everyone was expecting Adrian Peterson to run wild. He gained a total of 75 yards and his longest run was for 17 yards.
The biggest playmaker was Cordarrelle Patterson, who wound up with 102 yards and made an absolutely sensational 67-yard run, dodging several potential tacklers. It was the longest run by a Vikings receiver in team history, and it was the first time a receiver for the Vikings gained more than 100 yards on the ground in a game.
No doubt Mr. Zimmer and his staff have done a great job, and all the praise out of Winter Park was not propaganda. But the real test will come next week, when Bill Belichick, winner of three Super Bowls, and with another great Patriots team on hand, comes to Minnesota.
The Patriots are led by the great Tom Brady, who will test the Vikings pass defense and see if it can play as well as it did against St. Louis. Even though the Patriots lost on Sunday in Miami, they will be a force this season.
Next week -- that’s when we’ll find out how good this Vikings team is.
Philadelphia was one of the hottest teams in the NFL coming into the Vikings game on Sunday, having won five in a row and owning the hottest quarterback in the league in Nick Foles.
Foles had only one interception and 20 touchdown passes coming into the game.
The Vikings were six-point underdogs and had not gone into a game, in my memory, with as many key players on the sidelines. Included in that list was Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Brandon Fusco, Xavier Rhodes, Chris Cook and others were out because of injuries.
The Vikings starting tailback was Matt Asiata, who didn’t even dress for four games this year and saw little or no action because Peterson was No. 1 and Gerhart was No. 2 among the running backs.
But thanks to a very good quarterback performance by Matt Cassel, who completed 26 of 35 passes for 382 yards, two touchdowns and a 116.6 quarterback rating, the highest of any Vikings QB this year. Cassel also ran for a touchdown.
The result was the Vikings scored a big upset, beating the Eagles 48-30, even though it looked as if they were going to blow another game in the second half when the Eagles got within a touchdown. The Vikings have lost four games this season in the closing minutes.
Cassel and former Packer Greg Jennings have become quite a tandem. On Sunday, Jennings caught 11 passes for 163 yards and a 57-yard touchdown. In the last two games, Cassel to Jennings has been worth 16 receptions for 216 yards.
Five players who had seen little or no action played a big part in upsetting the NFC East leading Eagles. Asiata carried the ball 30 times for 51 yards and three touchdowns. Joe Berger stepped in at right guard for Brandon Fusco and helped solidify the line. Rhett Ellison and Chase Ford filled in at tight end very capably. Backup cornerback Marcus Sherels played the entire game on defense, in addition to returning punts and playing on special teams. The other cornerback, Sean Prater, was picked up midseason from the Eagles, and he had an interception against his former team.
So the Vikings win the games they are not supposed to win, and lose the ones they probably should win.
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.
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