1. Zach Line's the 'Fantasy Vulture'
Zach Line has two carries for 2 yards and two touchdowns this season. "Well," he said, "It helps having No. 28 [Adrian Peterson] lined up behind you." Peterson is a great running back and a pretty good decoy as well. With him lined up deep, a power formation with three tackles, two tight ends and a fullback still can be unpredictable at the 1-yard line. And successful, especially when Line hits the hole with the ball as hard as he did in the third quarter of Sunday's 31-14 victory over the Chargers at TCF Bank Stadium. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner joked in practice this week that he has Line on his fantasy team. Asked about his stock as a fantasy player, Line said, "I'm the fantasy vulture. I think everybody has Adrian and I get a touchdown here and there."
2. Barr's unusual skills
Anthony Barr punished Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers via coach Mike Zimmer's dedication to overloading the gaps between the guard and center. Barr had six solo tackles, a strip sack and two bone-rattling hurries. The strip sack, which came at the San Diego 13-yard line and led to a 3-0 lead, was vintage Barr. Because of his unusual size for a linebacker, he was able to take on 310-pound center Chris Watt and push him backward. Barr then slid to his right and was met by 320-pound left guard Orlando Franklin. At that point, Barr used a spin move with the kind of quick feet commonly found in smaller players. In doing so, he was able to stick out his arm and strip Rivers. "Our main focus on Rivers was to get to a certain spot," Barr said. "He likes to step into his throw about 5 yards behind the line. We just tried to get as many bodies around his legs as possible. We did that a lot."
3. King a pawn to Griffen
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen moved Chargers left tackle King Dunlap all over the field like his own personal 6-9, 330-pound pawn. "Being tall doesn't have anything to do with the game of football," the 6-3 Griffen said. "It's about leverage. It's coming off the ball and being strong." Griffen had 1 ½ sacks and a whopping five quarterback hurries against Dunlap. He pushed Dunlap into Rivers for one knockdown and essentially threw Dunlap at Rivers on the interception that Chad Greenway returned 91 yards for a touchdown. "I picked him up and dumped him on his back," Griffen said. "He fell into Rivers, Rivers fell down, Chad got the pick."
4. Dropped TD 'eats at' Rudolph
Teddy Bridgewater had a first-quarter interception that never should have happened. That's because it came one snap after tight end Kyle Rudolph dropped what would have been a 24-yard touchdown reception in the end zone. "I was in between jumping up and going over the defender and catching it, or letting it come down," Rudolph said. "I let it come down and it went between my hands and my stomach. I misjudged it. Unfortunately, we didn't have many opportunities in the pass game after that. When something like that happens, it eats at you for a long time." Rudolph caught only two passes for 14 yards but wasn't complaining. "When you have 28 [Peterson] in the backfield, that's your identity," Rudolph said. "When it's working, you don't stop."
5. Asiata sacrifices body for Vikings passing game
The play-by-play sheet says Mike Wallace caught a team-high 19-yard pass from Bridgewater on third-and-9 from the Vikings 46-yard line early in the second quarter. It makes no mention of the collision that running back Matt Asiata took from a blitzing linebacker to give Bridgewater time to make that perfect sideline throw. "I had my eye on the guy the whole time because I knew he was coming hard," Asiata said. "When I saw him come, it's just keeping a sound base and trying to do whatever it takes to keep him away from Teddy." Anyone who thinks Asiata isn't useful should pop in a tape of that particular pass protection. "I'll sacrifice my body for a first down," Asiata said. "That's what you do for the team." Six plays later, the Vikings scored a touchdown to take a 10-0 lead.