Scoring the Offense: Analyzing the Vikings Week 15 Win over the Rams



Offensive Line

Grade: A

  • Sacks allowed – 2 sack, 22 yards

The offensive line held up well, but their competition was on a much lower level than they’ve seen in recent weeks. The Rams best defensive lineman, Chris Long, was contained well as the Vikings only allowed two sacks. Ponder often had more than enough time to stand in the pocket and analyze the field. The great news for the big men up front is that neither of the sacks were on them. The first sack was all on Ponder. He simply held the ball too long and, in the end, it was Toby Gerhart’s man that finished with the sack. On the second sack, Ponder play-faked to Peterson who overplayed the fake and consequently missed the block that led to this fumble/sack. Nothing the linemen can do about that, either.

  • Rushing yards gained – 213 yards on 33 carries (6.5 yards/carry)

These are great numbers. Numbers we’ve almost come to expect, but great numbers nonetheless. And while the O-line did a good enough job creating holes for All Day, these numbers can almost be entirely credited to Mr. Day. A majority (13 of 24) of Peterson’s runs were for two yards or less. The Rams did a good job smothering the line of scrimmage—it just wasn’t going to be enough to slow down Adrian on Sunday. On Peterson’s two biggest runs (82 and 52 yards), he managed to escape tacklers near the line of scrimmage before breaking out for long gains. Adrian turned a seven-or eight-yard gain into an 82-yard touchdown run and turned a three-yard loss into 52 yards with pure speed and incredible moves. Take nothing away from the offensive line, but this day belongs to AD.

Wide Receiver

Grade: D

Simpson led the wide receivers in snaps on Sunday and showed a little something by, you know, catching the ball most of the time it was thrown his way. But far too little, far too late.

Where’s this guy been? After disappearing into pure obscurity early this season, Burton was back on the field taking snaps away from Jarius Wright. Interesting. Vikings trying to see what they have or believing he may be on the same level as Wright? Either way, this wasn’t what they were hoping for.

Tight End

Grade:  F

It’s frustrating to watch defenses key in on Rudolph every Sunday, but it’s no secret. He’s our only decent weapon in the passing game, and he doesn’t have the speed to separate.

OMG John Carlson caught more than one pass! For more than 11 yards! Now that he finally got over the one-catch hump, I’m sure he will light it up the rest of the way. I mean, we’re talking big numbers here. Like possibly five or six catches for 30+ yards.


Running Back

Grade: A+

Here’s some “Adrian Peterson is awesome” stats for you, courtesy of ESPNStatsInfo




Grade: C

  • Christian Ponder – 17 for 24, 131 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, QB-Rating: 96.9, 4 carries, 6 yards, 1 TD

On the eve of his surprising nuptials, Ponder played much better than he has for most of the second half of the season. His completions and QB rating were up. He didn’t throw a touchdown, but he ran for one on this 3rd and goal play on the first drive of the game. That was a truly incredible play by Ponder. He avoided immediate pressure (Charlie Johnson completely missed his assignment) and dove for the end zone after scrambling through the pocket. Those are the kinds of plays we need to see from Ponder. He didn’t anticipate the rush prematurely, he just reacted to it when it was necessary. Perfect.

Ponder had his bad moments too. He held the ball for way too long on the play that led to the Rams first sack. He again missed on a deep ball to Jarius Wright, although this time it was because he stepped up and overthrew it (so that’s kind of an improvement). Ponder also threw two balls that should have been picked off. On both throws, he stared down Jerome Simpson running his route and fired. Those are the kinds of throws that a better defense would have eaten up.


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%
  • Week 12 at Chicago: 11- 26, 42%
  • Week 13 at Green Bay: 10-18, 56%
  • Week 14 vs. Chicago: 5-10, 50%
  • Week 15 at St. Louis: 14-17, 82%

YTD first and second down completion percentage: 188-292, 64%


Dec 16, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) breaks away from St. Louis Rams strong safety Craig Dahl (43) during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson

The amazing thing about this guy is that every year this guy comes in as the only reliable, consistent weapon the Vikings have and every opponent we face gameplans around stopping him and only him. Yet Sunday after Sunday he runs right over them like the captain of the varsity team playing Pee-Wee football. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Janoris Jenkins.

Sidenote: Janoris Jenkins was credited with a tackle on that play. Ha! Isn’t that cute?


Honorable Mention

(Note: It’s Christmas season. So I threw in some honorable mentions for holiday cheer.)

Blair Walsh

I know one thing. We will all be watching the next two games anxiously waiting for the moment that record is broken. Nine 50+ yard field goals in one season! Truly inspirational!

What? What did you think I was talking about?


Adrian Peterson’s 82-yard TD run

Even when you think you have him bottled up, he just turns on the jets for 82 yards and a touchdown. Love the look on Chris Long’s face after the play is over—watching the replay in awe.

Honorable Mention

Christian Ponder’s 5-yard TD run

The kid delivered the touchdown on the opening drive for the Vikings. That’s all we can ask for.

Dec 16, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) escapes from St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) and runs the ball in for a touchdown during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports


Matt Kalil

Another solid game by Kalil, this time against a less talented D-line. Up next: J.J. Watt – Get yo popcorn ready.

Jarius Wright

He only got 22 snaps and finished with one catch. Not exactly skyrocketing yourself up the depth chart, Jarius.

Blair Walsh

What can I say? Dude’s money.

·         vs. Stl: 5/5 FGs (38, 42, 50, 51, 53), 6 touchbacks

·         YTD FG Percentage: 29-32, 91%


The Vikings have the fourth-fewest penalties in the NFL.

Adrian Peterson has more rushing yards (1,812) this season than 24 NFL teams.

On the Fox pregame show, Terry Bradshaw predicted the rams would “shut Adrian Peterson down” and stop him from reaching the 100-yard plateau. It didn’t even take AD two quarters to reach 100 yards.

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