The Call: Vikings at St. Louis

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 15, 2012 - 5:57 PM
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St. Louis running back Steven Jackson has been a load. He’s just 71 yards shy of 10,000 for his career.

Photo: Matt Dunham, Associated Press

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One man's prediction: Vikings 23, St. Louis 21 The Vikings might be 5-17 on the road since 2010. But the Rams haven't enjoyed a four-game winning streak since 2003, when their offense was propelled by Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Marc Bulger. Taking care of the ball will be key. But the Vikings, precariously perched at 7-6, will keep their playoff hopes alive.

Rush hour

For all the justifiable praise Adrian Peterson has received, it's Rams back Steven Jackson who's the NFL's active career rushing leader, just 71 yards shy of 10,000. As St. Louis fans keep track of that chase, Peterson has his eyes on a 2,000-yard season, with Rams coach Jeff Fisher believing he can get there. Fisher coached the last 2,000-yard rusher -- Chris Johnson in Tennessee in 2009. Of Peterson, Fisher said: "You're just not going to see anything like this. ... Finding a way to shut the run game down is virtually impossible."

 

Step forward

In Year 3, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has shown noticeable growth, particularly with his confidence in late-game situations. During last week's game-winning drive in Buffalo -- Bradford's third winning march this season -- he went 5-for-11 for 68 yards, including a final-minute 13-yard TD toss to Brandon Gibson plus a key two-point conversion pass to Chris Givens. Said Jackson: "He has a calm confidence to him. In the fourth quarter and big game situations, you really see his talent take over."

 

Building up

Two big takeaways highlighted the Vikings' sturdy defensive effort in last week's victory over Chicago. But they also held the Bears to seven third-down conversions in 17 attempts and allowed only two scores in 12 possessions. Said Jared Allen: "I was encouraged by the way we stayed on top of them. We never really got into a situation where we were reeling." Retaining that edge on the road in St. Louis will be key.

THE BIG NUMBER: 39 Sacks by the Rams this season, second only to Cincinnati (42) through Week 14. Fourteen St. Louis players have recorded at least one sack. Robert Quinn leads the team with 9 1/2.

BREAKOUT DAY? Cortland Finnegan, Rams: One of the marquee cornerbacks on the 2012 free agent market, Finnegan is now the veteran leader of a young St. Louis secondary. The former Tennessee Titan could give Christian Ponder problems.

MANO-A-MANO: MATCHUP TO WATCH

Vikings rookie kicker Blair Walsh vs. Rams rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein

About Walsh Drafted 175th overall in April, he has 24 field goals and 99 points this season.

 

About Zuerlein Drafted 171st overall, he has 21 field goals and 82 points.

 

Who has the edge? Ah, yes, the battle of rookie kickers: The Blair Walsh Project vs. Legatron. It could decide the game. Walsh has been more accurate, making 88.8 percent of his field goal attempts compared with Zuerlein's 77.8 accuracy. Advantage: Walsh

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NY Mets 4 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Minnesota 2
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Washington 1
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 4
NY Yankees 10 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Tampa Bay 0 Cancelled
Baltimore 0
Detroit 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Chicago WSox 3 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 6
Texas 6 FINAL
Oakland 7
Cleveland 2 FINAL
Arizona 3
Arizona 7 FINAL
LA Angels 2
Miami 0 Cancelled
Houston 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 5
San Francisco 8 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 5 FINAL
San Diego 7
Milwaukee 8 FINAL
Cincinnati 6
Detroit 111 FINAL
Orlando 97
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Philadelphia 98
Charlotte 107 FINAL
Washington 110
Boston 96 FINAL
New York 92
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Brooklyn 106
LA Lakers 83 FINAL
Toronto 94
Miami 86 FINAL
Atlanta 99
Golden State 107 FINAL
Memphis 84
Sacramento 88 FINAL
New Orleans 102
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Houston 120
Dallas 76 FINAL
San Antonio 94
Utah 91 FINAL
Denver 107
Portland 87 FINAL
Phoenix 81
Calgary 2 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 5 FINAL
Chicago 2
Dallas 0 FINAL
Edmonton 4
UCLA 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 74
NC State 65 FINAL
Louisville 75
Utah 57 FINAL
Duke 63
Kent State 73 FINAL
Northern Ariz 74
Michigan State 62 FINAL
Oklahoma 58
(15) North Carolina 65 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 67
(18) Iowa 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 81
(9) Arizona State 65 FINAL
(7) Florida State 66
(14) Stanford 60 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 81
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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