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.


Final gun report: Vikings 23, Texans 6

Posted by: under Vikings, AFC, Packers, Adrian Peterson Updated: December 23, 2012 - 2:53 PM

Postgame snapshot from Reliant Stadium, where the Vikings beat the Texans 23-6.

Good news: The Vikings delivered a complete game, playing well in all three phases. They scored on their opening possession with newly married quarterback Christian Ponder going 3-for-3 for 62 yards on the drive and capping things with a 3-yard touchdown toss to Kyle Rudolph. That put the Vikings ahead to stay with less than 9 minutes gone by. And a sturdy effort from the defense carried the day. The Vikings bottled up Arian Foster, the AFC’s leading rusher, to 15 yards on 10 carries before Foster left the game for good with an illness in the second half. Jasper Brinkley forced a first half fumble that A.J. Jefferson recovered. And the defense had two key stops in the third quarter, none more important than holding Houston to a field goal after the Texans had first-and-goal at the 1. The biggest play in that sequence was a Fred Evans sack. And now, at 9-6, the Vikings head to the final week of the season eyeing a wild card berth.

Bad news: Adrian Peterson came back down to earth – by his standards anyway. Peterson was corralled in the backfield throughout the day, stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage on many of his runs. He still managed to pile up 86 yards on 25 rushes. He is now 102 yards shy of 2,000 and 207 yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record.

Extra point: Rookie kicker Blair Walsh continued his assault on the record books Sunday. Walsh made three field goals, including a career long of 56 yards in the second quarter. That boot matched Paul Edinger’s team record for longest made field goal. It also gave Walsh his ninth made kick from 50 yards or beyond, a new single-season NFL record. Walsh’s 32 field goals for the season currently rank as the third most in team history. Gary Anderson made 35 field goals in 1998. Fuad Reveiz made 34 in 1994

Next up: The Vikings will wrap up the regular season next weekend with a home game against Green Bay. The Packers are dominating Tennessee in their home finale at Lambeau Field, up 48-0 and rolling to a blowout victory that will give them an 11-4 record.

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