Yes, it's early October. But there was already Super Bowl talk bouncing around Mall of America Field on Sunday afternoon. It came from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who's in town on an invitation from the Minnesota Business Partnership.
Goodell will meet with that group Monday to discuss plans for the Vikings' new stadium. But before Sunday's game, in a meeting with reporters at Mall of America Field, Goodell was asked when the Twin Cities might be in line to host a Super Bowl in the new stadium.
The Vikings are targeting 2018 or 2019 as possible dates to host that event. Their stadium opens in 2016.
"We'll certainly get there at some point," Goodell asserted, adding later, "They'll get in the rotation. We still have a couple of years before we even get to considering them. So it'll be down the road. Which is probably good, because I think you want to wait and get the stadium up and running."
Goodell said Sunday that the cooperation between the public sector and private sector was huge in the stadium push. He also called the Wilfs "terrific owners."
"They never lost focus on trying to get it done here in Minneapolis," Goodell said. "They never once doubted that they could get it done here. And I think that's a tribute to them. They're committed to this community, committed to bringing the best kind of football to this community."
The Vikings defense has gone three consecutive games without allowing multiple touchdowns.
Through three quarters Sunday, Tennessee amassed just 98 total yards and five first downs. The Vikings also produced two takeaways -- a Harrison Smith fumble recovery and an Antoine Winfield interception. Jasper Brinkley forced a Chris Johnson fumble.
"We've definitely got a lot of guys who are hungry," Brinkley said. "We've got a whole defense full of guys who run to the ball and fly around. And any time you have 11 guys that do that, the sky's the limit."
Chad Greenway had a game-high nine tackles. Jared Allen and Brian Robison each had a sack.
Peterson 'out of whack'
Adrian Peterson had his two longest runs of the season, a 22-yarder late in the second quarter and a 34-yard burst on the first play of the second half. With those big gains, Peterson wound with 88 rushing yards, averaging 5.2 yards on his 17 carries, but still felt like his performance was subpar.
"I didn't play well the first half," he said. "And that was just because of low energy and lack of focus."
Peterson twisted his ankle on the Vikings' first drive.
"I was out of whack," he said. "I was thinking about my ankle too much because it was tender."
Back in action
Linebacker Erin Henderson said he felt great returning to the field after missing the past two games with a concussion. He finished with three tackles.
"Naturally, I was a little anxious," Henderson said. "Any time you're coming off an injury, no matter what it is, a head injury, a knee injury, elbow, you're always curious about how those first few plays are going to go. But I felt great."
Three of the Vikings' five penalties were of the 15-yard variety. Smith was hit with a personal foul and ejected early in the second quarter after he shoved back judge Steve Freeman following Winfield's interception.
"It's just not smart," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "Not smart football."
Chris Cook and Everson Griffen also were hit with 15-yard flags. Cook's personal foul came immediately following a Tennessee turnover when he engaged in some post-play pushing. Griffen drew a roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth quarter.
Next man up
Smith's ejection left the Vikings with only two healthy safeties for the final 2 1/2 quarters. With Mistral Raymond and Andrew Sendejo both out with ankle injuries, Robert Blanton replaced Smith and played alongside Jamarca Sanford the rest of the way.
Blanton, a rookie who had been used only on special teams before Sunday, seemed to hold up well.
• Tennessee committed 10 penalties for 75 yards.
• Rookie kicker Blair Walsh made field goals of 42, 36 and 26 yards and produced five touchbacks on his seven kickoffs.