Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vikings vs. Jaguars Analysis

Adrian Peterson scored to touchdowns
in his electrifying return to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Minnesota Vikings pulled off a captivating victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars 26-23 on Sunday at Mall of America Field.

The Vikings started the game slowly by going three and out on the first three possessions of the ballgame. Christian Ponder was very efficient, throwing 20 for 27, while adding 270 yards. The Vikings got on the board by an Adrian Peterson 3 yard touchdown plunge, which brought Vikings fans on their feet. Peterson successfully participated in his first NFL game since suffering ACL and MCL tears on December 25th of last year. In this contest, Adrian Peterson broke the Minnesota Vikings all-time rushing record, once held by running back Robert Smith.

Peterson was very ready to play and was in intense physical condition. His speed and cutting abilities looked as good as before the injury. This is an encouraging sign, as Peterson is a pivotal part of the Vikings offense.

Percy Harvin had a great game in today's contest, hauling in 86 receiving yards, as well as 18 yards in the backfield. He had great hands and was breaking the first tackle on nearly every reception. Kyle Rudolph was a key part of the Vikings offense, as he was split out wide in several situations and was used in "fade" goal line situations. His big body is a huge threat to opposing defenses.

The Vikings defense struggled early allowing several field goals and a touchdown across the middle of the field by Marcedes Lewis. The defensive line allowed too much time to throw, which lead to the Jaguars effectiveness to move the ball through the air. This must be fixed as this won't be an effective trait during more difficult opponents.

The Vikings secondary was the best it has been in many seasons. Josh Robinson was great in run-support and Antoine Winfield made all the tackles in run situations. Safety Harrison Smith made several hard hits and Mistral Raymond made a key deflection near the end of the ballgame, which stalled the Jaguars comeback attempt. Chris Cook struggled as he was terribly burned on a backside passing route. Cooks lone responsibility was to keep everything in front of him, which was a complete failure. This led to a Jaguars touchdown and a two point conversion which swung the lead to the Jaguars 23-20. With 20 seconds remaining the Vikings began a drive on their own 20 yard line. A pass from Christian Ponder to Devin Aromashodu brought the Vikings to the Jaguars 48 yard line. The Vikings used their final remaining timeout, with seven seconds remaining in the ballgame. Ponder connected with Rudolph, in which Rudolph sprinted out of bounds with 4 seconds remaining.

The game was all on the back of rookie kicker Blair Walsh. Walsh came on to attempt a 55-yard field goal. The Metrodome was extremely still as Walsh peered at the goal posts. Walsh booted the ball and with plenty of distance the ball spun through the goal posts to tie the game at 23-23.

The Vikings won the overtime coin toss and chose to receive. Adrian Peterson had several long runs, including a sprint for 20 yards into Jaguars territory. This led to an eventual game winning Blair Walsh field goal.

The Jaguars received the opportunity to match the Vikings field goal, but the Vikings defense, led by a key Harrison Smith deflection, finished a thrilling 26-23 victory.

The fans at Mall of America Field erupted as the Vikings had won their home opener. As a fan, it was great to see resilience from a group of Vikings players. We are so accustomed to seeing our team come out on the bad end of these types of games, it is so refreshing to final see our team get a much deserved victory.

We will keep you updated with the latest information leading up to next week's game in Indianapolis vs. the Colts.

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