Just like last week, the Minnesota Vikings faced a team with an explosive offense that was coming off a three game losing streak.
By Jordan Wright
Thankfully, the Vikings were able to take care of business this week, beating the Atlanta Falcons 20-10.
Running back Adrian Peterson was the star of the offense, carrying the ball 29 times for 158 yards (5.4 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. Peterson also caught the ball twice for 29 yards. His 158 yards on the ground vaulted Peterson to number 19 on the all-time rushing yardage list, passing O.J. Simpson and Corey Dillon.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a mediocre game, but the plan was to feed Peterson early and often, so he wasn’t asked to do much. Bridgewater threw only 28 passes, completing 20 of them (71 percent) for 174 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Wide receiver Mike Wallace was held without a catch again, but he did draw multiple pass interference penalties, so he wasn’t a complete waste of space. Tight end Kyle Rudolph had a good game for the second week in a row, leading the Vikings with seven catches for 53 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Anthony Barr was a one man wrecking crew. Barr finished the game with eight tackles, one sack, one pass defended and two forced fumbles. With star safety Harrison Smith out because of injury, Antone Exum Jr. got the start and played well. Andrew Sendejo started in his normal spot, but was injured half way through the game, opening the door for Robert Blanton to see the field, and he didn’t disappoint, leading the Vikings in tackles with nine.
The player of the week is the entire Vikings offensive line. I thought about putting Adrian Peterson or Anthony Barr in this section, but they did what we have all come to expect from them. The offensive line, however, really stepped up their game on Sunday. A week after giving up six sacks and 11 quarterback hits to the Green Bay Packers at home, the Vikings escaped Atlanta without giving up a single sack and only three hits to Bridgewater. The line also opened up holes in the run game, allowing the Vikings as a team to rush 39 times for 191 yards and 4.9 yards per carry.
I had a hard time coming up with a player who needs the most improvement, as there weren’t many bad things that stuck out to me. However, there was something I noticed that needs to be cleaned up, and that is the run defense. Even though the Falcons only ran the ball 24 times, they were able to tally 116 yards on the ground for a 4.8 yards per carry average. If the Falcons had their starting running back Devonte Freeman, this could’ve been a much different game.
Looking ahead, the Vikings are home to face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Dec. 6. The Seahawks and the Vikings are two very similar teams, with both teams having a stout defense and a strong running game. At the time of this writing, the Seahawks are 5-5 and entered week 12 ranked 26 in the league in passing yards per game, and first in rushing yards. Their star running back Marshawn Lynch will be out for this game, but his back up Thomas Rawls has produced very well in his place. If the Vikings can control the ball on the ground with Adrian Peterson, as well as contain Russell Wilson and Thomas Rawls, this will be a close game and the Vikings should come out on top.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me at facebook.com/ skoljwright, or on Twitter @skoljwright. Skol!