Nov 11, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) celebrates his 61 yard touchdown against the Detroit Lions in the fourth quarter at the Metrodome. The Vikings win 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE

Scoring the Offense: Analyzing the Vikings' Week 10 Win Over the Lions


Offensive Line

Grade: A

  • Sacks allowed – 1 sack, 7 yards

One of the best games I’ve seen from our offensive line as a whole all year, especially considering the talent Detroit has on their defensive line. Matt Kalil rarely let Kyle Vanden Bosch get anywhere near Christian Ponder and Phil Loadholt handled Cliff Avril easily.

Loadholt gave up the pressure on Nick Fairley’s sack but I don’t believe Loady deserves all the blame for the sack. Ponder just plain held on to the ball too long.

The majority of the pressure on Ponder came up the middle – no surprise given that the middle is our greatest weakness on the O-line (Brandon Fusco, Charlie Johnson) and their greatest asset (Ndamukong Suh) on the D-line. And of course, wouldn’t you know it, our worst lineman, Fusco, was matched up with their best lineman, Suh, all day. Fusco struggled against Suh, getting beat often in pass protection, but he never gave up a sack. However, Suh essentially ended one entire series by putting enough pressure on Ponder on consecutive second-and third-down plays to force incompletions.

On that note, here’s Lions Coach Jim Schwartz on Suh’s play on Sunday:

“I thought Ndamukong Suh might have played the best game since he’s been here.”

Although he was disruptive, there’s no way it was the best game of his career. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that Coach Schwartz believes Suh had the best game of his career while being matched up with our own Brandon Fusco. If that’s not a rousing endorsement of Geoff Schwartz, I don’t know what is.

  • Rushing yards gained – 189 yards on 35 carries (5.4 yards/carry)

Once again our offensive line was dominant in the run game. We found a few more yards on the outside than what’s been normal this season – credit some gameplanning away from Suh and Fairley. But even on the inside, our O-line was opening up big holes for Peterson all day long.


Wide Receiver

Grade: D+

  • Jarius Wright – 3 rec, 65 yards (5 targets), 1 TD, 1 carry, 3 yards

Nov 11, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright (17) carries the ball during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Lions 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

How about that for a debut? Lead the team in receiving yards. It was great to see him out there, and that 54-yard catch was huge for the team and especially Ponder. But let’s be honest about something, and I’m not trying to rain on any parades here, but there shouldn’t be any parades here. The guy had three catches and two of them were on the first drive. Wright’s third catch was in the second quarter, and he was never targeted again.

My guess? The Lions had a gameplan for Percy Harvin that was nixed after Harvin was declared out. Then Wright’s 54-yarder happened. So the Lions said, “okay, initiate the Percy Harvin defense.” – Wright: eliminated.

He was able to find a hole in the Detroit secondary and got agonizingly close to the end zone before getting tackled at the three-yard line. The drive stalled, the Vikings settled for a field goal and Aromashodu was never heard from again.

It turns out that Jerome Simpson is mediocre with or without Percy Harvin on the field.

But at least he can block, right?


Tight End

Grade: B+

For the first time in a month, Kyle Rudolph contributed to the offense. It was painfully clear he was the only viable option left in the passing game without Percy Harvin, but he stepped up and made plays. Ponder forced him a few throws, but Rudolph has the talent level to come down with those and he proved it Sunday.

However, Rudolph had a boneheaded false start penalty on the opening drive that moved us back from the one-yard line to the six. It didn’t cost us points that time, but those are the kinds of things that cost teams games in the long run.

Good thing John Carlson is back. Our offensive production was really suffering without his one catch per game.


Running Back

Grade: A+

  • Adrian Peterson – 27 carries, 171 yards, 6.3 yds/carry, 1 TD, 3 rec, 5 yards (4 targets)

Adrian has torn it up for four straight weeks and is only looking stronger and stronger with each game. He’s now on pace to have his best season as a pro. I don’t believe he has any shot at MVP honors, especially considering the Vikings current record and upcoming schedule, but if/when this season takes a turn for the worse (in the heart of our schedule against the Bears twice, Packers twice and Houston, four of six remaining games on the road), Vikings fans can still cheer knowing they are watching the most incredible comeback season in league history. And there’s still the Comeback Player of the Year award, although Peyton Manning is tough competition there.

Peterson has been so good, that Gerhart is nonexistent in the gameplan – the way it should be.



Grade: B+

  • Christian Ponder – 24 for 32, 221 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, QB-Rating: 114.2, 7 carries, 15 yards

Biggest number here? Zero interceptions.

Ponder had his best game since Week 2, and he did it without Percy Harvin on the field. So what are the Vikings waiting for? Come on, everybody, say it with me!

Cut Percy Harvin!

Okay, fine, be “rational” if you must.

But Ponder did have a great game and it all started with the opening drive where he calmly stepped up through the rush and delivered a ball down the field to Jarius Wright. That play kept the rabid Dome crowd at bay with their boos (less boos, more booze?) and gave Ponder the shot of confidence he needed (I prefer whiskey, but to each his own).

And now let’s go to ESPN for their take on quarterbacks and alcohol.


Ponder’s first and second down completion percentage goal75%

Weekly first and second down completion percentage:

  • Week 1 vs. Jacksonville: 17-20, 85%
  • Week 2 at Indianapolis: 17-22, 77%
  • Week 3 vs. San Francisco: 14-24, 58%
  • Week 4 at Detroit: 9-16, 56%
  • Week 5 vs. Tennessee: 21-28, 75%
  • Week 6 at Washington: 25-38, 66%
  • Week 7 vs. Arizona: 6-11, 55%
  • Week 8 vs. Tampa Bay: 14-23, 61%
  • Week 9 at Seattle: 9-17, 53%
  • Week 10 vs. Detroit: 16-22, 73%

YTD first and second down completion percentage: 148-221, 67%



Adrian Peterson

The first third of the season was Percy Harvin’s.

The second third of the season has been Adrian Peterson’s.


Who will be the offensive star of the final third of the season?

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Christian Ponder to Jarius Wright, 54 yards

Nov 11, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright (17) catches a pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

On the first drive of the game, the Vikings left themselves with a 3rd and 10. Ponder steps up through the pressure and delivers the ball down the field. Everything we have been waiting for since the beginning of this season. It was like we had a real live quarterback throwing the ball.

Ponder got a little happy-feetish (not to be confused with happy fetish) on the throw (probably because he finally saw a receiver that was actually open), and his awkward footwork created an underthrown pass, but he made the right move to escape the pressure and delivered the ball down the field. No complaints here.

The play was instrumental to the tone of the game and Ponder’s confidence, and two plays later, Ponder finished it off with a touchdown to Wright. Great way to open a game.



Matt Kalil

Check out Kalil on Adrian’s 61-yard TD run. The run is to the right and Kalil gets into the secondary to make a block on the right side of the field that helps spring Adrian loose. He then runs the whole length of the field with AD and is the first guy there to celebrate with Peterson in the end zone. Gotta love this guy.

Jarius Wright

Wright’s first career game was very good. He did his best to play the Percy Harvin role, but was quickly shut down by Detroit after the first drive. Looks like we have plenty to look forward to with this kid.

Blair Walsh

When was the last time you were nervous that the Vikings might miss a field goal? Exactly.

·         vs. Det: 4/4 FGs (23, 23, 33, 48 yards), 6 touchbacks

·         YTD FG Percentage: 23-24, 96%



Announcer John Lynch speaking of tight end John Carlson (four receptions this year) after he brought down his only catch on Sunday:

“This is a guy they really plan their offense around.”

Christian Ponder was nominated for NFC Offensive Player of the Week. He didn’t win (Jimmy Graham did), but how did Ponder get nominated? I mean, he had a good game, but NFC OPW? Really? Was Week 10 entirely devoid of good play on offense? Is the entire league so down on Ponder that when he actually has a good game they freak out and throw awards at him? Someone was clearly making a joke putting him on the ballot and Ponder got into the voting by accident. Maybe it’s the same guy that put George W. Bush on the presidential ballot in 2000..

Adrian Peterson has surpassed his 2011 season yardage total. He is also on pace to rush for more yards this year than any other year in his career.



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