Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Well, raise your hand if you saw that coming.
looks around the room
Liars, the lot of you.
Yes, the Minnesota Vikings rolled into the home of a team that was 12-2 and could have clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs with a win in the Houston Texans. . .and the Vikings dominated the Texans to the tune of 23-6 in front of an increasingly hostile crowd at Reliant Stadium.
Adrian Peterson's streak of 100-yard games came to an end at eight, as the Texans did a very good job against the NFL's best running back, holding him to just 86 yards on 22 carries. Nineteen of Peterson's 25 carries on the afternoon went for three yards or less, including six for no gain and eight that went for negative yardage. The Texans, like every other Vikings' opponent, clearly game planned for Adrian Peterson. . .and, unlike other teams, actually got the job done and stopped him.
That gives Peterson 1,898 yards on the season, leaving him 102 yards short of 2,000 for the season and meaning that he'll need 208 next week at home against Green Bay if he wants to pass Eric Dickerson's record.
Christian Ponder also played a decent enough ball game, going 16-of-30 with 174 yards and a touchdown, and again looked very good on the game's opening drive, finding Kyle Rudolph for a three-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown was Rudolph's ninth of the year, which is second in the NFL for tight ends to Rob Gronkowski. Ponder took a lot of what he was given on the afternoon, and had one bad turnover when he coughed up a fumble near midfield.
But the story of that drive. . .and the story of the whole afternoon for the Vikings, quite frankly. . .was the play of the defense. The Houston Texans entered Sunday's contest as the third-highest scoring team in the National Football League, averaging 28.1 points per game, and they got on the board first with a 51-yard Shayne Graham field goal. After that, though, Alan Williams' group was dominant in every facet of the game. Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub was frustrated all afternoon, going 18-of-32 for 178 yards and no scores. The Vikings also sacked Schaub four times on the afternoon. None of those four sacks was bigger than the one that came courtesy of the breakdancing king himself, Fred Evans, on a third-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line that forced the Texans to settle for their second field goal of the game.
Even more impressive was the job the Vikings did against Houston's rushing attack, holding the Texans to a measly 34 yards on 16 carries, including just 15 yards on 10 carries. Foster left the game in the second half with what was called an "illness," but that Texans' coach Gary Kubiak after the game said was an irregular heartbeat. Hopefully Foster is going to be okay. . .he's a heck of a player, but the Vikings had his number on Sunday, along with the numbers of the entire Texans offense.
And, once again, the Vikings won the turnover battle. . .Houston turned the ball over twice on the afternoon on fumbles, one by Foster that was forced by Erin Henderson and one from Texans' backup quarterback T.J. Yates by a blitzing Harrison Smith. With the Ponder fumble, that means they were +1 for the afternoon, and that also means they're 9-0 this season when they're even or better in the turnover battle.
So, for now, our focus turns to the game between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens. A victory for Baltimore over the Giants means that the Vikings will control their own post-season destiny going into the season finale next weekend against the Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome, with a win getting them a post-season berth and (likely) a rubber match against the Packers in the wild card round of the NFC playoffs.
The Minnesota Vikings have guaranteed themselves a winning season, thanks to a thorough domination of the team with the best record in the AFC. Nobody saw it coming. . .and, really, aren't those the best kind of wins?
Enjoy the rest of the day, Vikings fans. . .I'm guessing that Ted will be along with the Stock Market Report either this afternoon or this evening. Or maybe tomorrow. You know, it'll be up eventually. For now, it's time to watch even MOAR FOOTBALL!