The new, more resilient Minnesota Vikings may take a little bit for fans to get used to, but if Sunday afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium is any indication, they're going to really like it after a while.
Fighting through wind issues and the loss of their quarterback following one of the most gutless cheap shots you'll ever see. . .or, as Rams' defensive coordinator Gregg Williams may refer to it, a normal occurrence. . .the Vikings got a 40-yard field goal from Blair Walsh in overtime to walk away with a 21-18 victory over the St. Louis Rams at TCF Bank Stadium.
Minnesota drew first blood, as they took advantage of a short punt from St. Louis punter Johnny Hekker and drove close enough to allow Blair Walsh to hit a 34-yard field goal to give the Vikings a quick 3-0 lead. They extended that lead on their second possession, as they marched 80 yards for a touchdown, capping the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run from Adrian Peterson to put themselves ahead 10-0.
St. Louis cut into the lead late in the first quarter, as Todd Gurley went across from one yard out to give the Rams a touchdown. For some reason, Jeff Fisher decided to roll the dice and go for two, but Gurley got stuffed by Harrison Smith and Linval Joseph, keeping the Minnesota lead at 10-6.
St. Louis chipped away in the second quarter, and eventually pulled out in front thanks to kicker Greg Zuerlein. Zuerlein deposited three field goals in the second quarter, one of which came from a ridiculous sixty-one yards away, and went into the locker room with a 15-10 halftime lead. The Vikings' offense really struggled in the second quarter, with Teddy Bridgewater having several bad misses that could have extended drives.
The Vikings turned the ball over on their first drive of the third quarter on a play that was originally called defensive pass interference, but the officials switched to offensive pass interference after discussing what happened. After forcing a three-and-out, the Vikings got the ball into the end zone on the next drive, with Bridgewater running it in himself from six yards out for a score. The Vikings elected to go for a two-point conversion, and Bridgewater ran that one in as well to extend Minnesota's lead to 18-15.
Early in the fourth quarter, Rams' cornerback LaMarcus Joyner laid an absolute cheap shot on Bridgewater as he went down for a slide. Joyner went right after Bridgewater's head, and Bridgewater was out cold on the field for a moment. He eventually went back to the locker room and got evaluated for a concussion, necessitating the Vikings bringing in Shaun Hill for the remainder of the game.
St. Louis had an opportunity to tie the game just after the two-minute warning, as they brought on Zuerlein again for a 48-yard field goal attempt. However, he could not keep his hot streak going, as he pushed the attempt wide to the right, giving the Vikings the ball back on downs and keeping them ahead 18-15. After a disastrous series for the Vikings, including an 11-yard sack of Hill, the Vikings had to punt the ball back away to the Rams with 1:14 left on the clock. St. Louis got themselves into position for Zuerlein to attempt a 53-yard field goal to tie with time running out, and he made the kick. . .but the Vikings called time out prior to the kick taking place, so Zuerlein had to kick it again. Unfortunately, Greg the Leg put it through the uprights on the second attempt to tie the game at 18 and send it into overtime.
The Vikings won the coin toss for overtime, but rather than take the football, they decided to play defense and have the wind at their backs. It worked out pretty nicely for them, as they immediately forced a three-and-out from the Rams' offense and Marcus Sherels brought the ensuing punt back to midfield. Minnesota matriculated the football down the field and got Blair Walsh in position for a 40-yard field goal. Walsh hit the field goal, his 15th in a row. . .not in this game, that would be a record. . .to give the Vikings their fourth straight victory, 21-18.
Before the cheap shot that took him out of the game, Bridgewater had completed 13-of-21 passes for 144 yards and an interception. In relief, Shaun Hill was. . .not good, completing 2-of-6 for 15 yards. Adrian Peterson carried the load for Minnesota for the most part, carrying the ball 29 times for 125 yards and a touchdown. Stefon Diggs was Minnesota's leading receiver on the day, even though he did only manage three catches for 42 yards.
For St. Louis, Nick Foles completed 18-of-33 passes for 168 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. The Vikings held Todd Gurley mostly in check, allowing him just 89 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Kenny Britt was the leading receiver for the Rams, hauling in three passes for 87 yards.
The Vikings move to 6-2 with their fourth consecutive victory, and have a trip out to Oakland next week to take on the Raiders. St. Louis drops to 4-4 on the year, and will host the Chicago Bears next weekend.
The Minnesota Vikings move to 6-2 on the season following a 21-18 overtime victory over the St. Louis Rams. Thank you to everybody that got their coverage of this week's game right here at The Daily Norseman!