As I sit back and re-watch the Vikes win against the Rams on Sunday, we've rightly given most of the praise for Sunday's victory to WR Cordarrelle Patterson and a pass rush that harassed and harried Rams quarterbacks all day. Both are very deserving of the praise, but there was a moment in the game, towards the end of the first half, that's come to be the signature of the Mike Zimmer era, at least so far, and the turning point in the game.
The Vikings had been playing okay, but two drives had netted only two Blair Walsh field goals. It was late in the half, and the Vikings had just punted away to the Rams after a promising drive had fizzled due to a sack.
With 1:19 left, Rams QB Shaun Hill took the snap from the Rams from the Rams 19 and rolled right. Hill, nearing the sideline after coming under pressure from his left, threw the ball off his back foot in the general vicinity of TE Jared Cook. Cook was near the sideline, and when Hill initially threw the ball, it looked like it was meant to be thrown out of bounds. Cook seemed to think the same thing, and made what appeared to be a half hearted effort towards the ball.
From seemingly out of nowhere comes CB Josh Robinson. The same maligned, beaten down Josh Robinson who became the poster child for the 2013 Minnesota Vikings secondary. Why? Because he couldn't cover a baby in a crib with a blanket in his hand last year, that's why. The same Josh Robinson who apparently fell out of favor with Mike Zimmer, who when he famously said 'you can't make the club in the tub' comment, was referring to Robinson.
Robinson made an acrobatic, toe tapping, sideline walking, flat out RIDICULOUS interception. and the Vikings had the ball on the St. Louis 35 with 1:09 left. Normally, I would've just assumed the Vikings would've ended up kicking another field goal, and gone up 9-0 at half. Heck, I turned to my brother and said something to that affect, and he agreed that a field goal would be a nice way to end the half.
The Vikings went for the end zone, and after an Adrian Peterson run and a Patterson 13 yard reception, Matt Cassel found Greg Jennings in the back of the end zone for a TD, and the Jennings catch was just as just an acrobatic, toe tapping, sideline dancing catch as the Robinson pick was. The ultimate possession receiver made an acrobatic catch, and the quarterback didn't squander an opportunity to put points on the board after they had been given a short field by the defense.
It was 13-0 Vikings, you got the feeling that that score was huge, in more ways than one, and it changed the entire feeling of the game.
When the second half started, Shaun Hill had been benched and the Rams went with rookie Austin Davis. The game was, essentially, over. As the rest of the half unfolded, the Vikings took control of the game, suffocated the Rams, and left the city of St. Louis 1-0 in about as convincing a manner as you could imagine.
But the score was also huge in that you get the feeling that the 'same old Vikings' aren't, in fact, the 'same old Vikings', and it is one of many reasons to feel very optimistic about this team moving forward.
And it was all started by a guy who was warned by the coach that you couldn't make the club in a tub. He apprarently has taken those words to heart.