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.


Field goals aren't cutting it; Vikings trail 17-9 at the half

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield Updated: October 14, 2012 - 4:45 PM

LANDOVER, Md. -- The Vikings were dominating the game, but led only 9-0 at the end of the first quarter because of three stalled drives in the red zone.  And then they paid for the field goals when they were outscored 17-0 en route to a 17-9 halftime deficit.

Despit moving the ball at ease between the 20s, the Vikings got Blair Walsh field goals of 20, 27 and 27 yards on their first three drives of the game. The third field goal was set up by an outstanding Antoine Winfield interception at the Washington 35.

The Redskins didn't record a first down or cross midfield until the last play of the first quarter. But then kicker Kai Forbath, making his NFL debut, made it a 9-3 game with a 50-yard field goal.

The Redskins then scored a pair of touchdowns in a span of 13 seconds. Rookie Alfred Morris ran 1-yard for a touchddown to make it 10-9. Then, one play after Christian Ponder lost a fumble, Robert Griffin III threw a 6-yard pass to Darrel Young with 2:13 left in the first half.

Morris' touchdown was set up by a roughing-the-passer penalty on linebacker Erin Henderson on an incompletion on second-and-13 at the Minnesota 13. Ponder's fumble came when linebacker Perry Riley overpowered Adrian Peterson in pass protection. Peterson was shoved into Ponder, who was trying to throw. Lorenzo Alexander recovered it and returned the ball two yards to the 6-yard line.

If the Vikings lose, it will snap a three-game winning streak and, naturally, set off a lot of second-guessing as to how they handled their red-zone calls in the first quarter.

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