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.


Halftime: Vikings 20, Steelers 10

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen Updated: September 29, 2013 - 1:32 PM

LONDON -- Here's what we're seeing at halftime as the Vikings lead the Steelers 20-10 at Wembley Stadium:

The Good: Blair Walsh making a 54-yard field goal on the opening drive, salvaging a drive in which Matt Cassel threw incomplete on his final three passes, and extening his streak of 50-yard makes to start a career to 12. Walsh added a 37-yarder in the closing minute of the half. ... Greg Jennings making two defenders miss, splitting Pittsburgh's secondary and then outrunning two DBs, including Troy Polamalu for a 70-yard touchdown run, his seventh career 70-yard reception. ... Adrian Peterson's 60-yard touchdown run, which came with Jerome Felton leading him, and ended a streak of four consecutive three-and-outs by the two teams. ... Two possessions, 10 points to open a "noon" "home" game played at 6 p.m. 4,000 miles from the Metrodome. ... Jared Allen spanking left tackle Mike Adams. Allen has two solo sacks, one that was announced as half a sack with Sharrif Floyd. And he forced a holding call on Adams.

The Bad: Marcus Sherels negating a 67-yard punt return deep into Steelers territory by making a weak fair-catch signal. ... Josh Robinson having a poor first half, including giving up a 36-yard completion to Emmanuel Sanders to set up Pittsburgh's first touchdown. ... Giving up an eight-yard touchdown run to rookie Le'Veon Bell on an easy run around right end. The Steelers came in averaging 3.0 yards per carry, 30th in the NFL. This, however, is Bell's NFL debut after spraining a foot in the preseason.

The Ugly: Giving up two third-and-long situations on the Steelers' field goal drive late in the second quarter. Robinson gave up a 14-yarder to Antonio Brown on third-and-11. But the real killer was a 28-yard pass to Heath Miller. Safety Harrison Smith made that one much worse with a helmet-to-helmet hit that tacked on 15 more yards.

What we learned in the first half: Matt Cassel doesn't look much different than Christian Ponder. He's 0-for-2 on balls thrown farther than 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. Both were bad overthrows of Jerome Simpson. One should have been intercepted in the end zone, but Ike Taylor dropped it. Cassel also misfired on many other passes. and is 6 of 15 for 128 yards, one TD and no turnovers. But at least it appears Cassel's luck is better. He was stripped of the ball while scrambling. The ball shot forward and was recovered by Simpson for a 10-yard gain. The 70-yard TD to Jennings was a pass that traveled only seven yards.

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