To get things started at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 15 action, the Minnesota Vikings won the opening coin toss and elected to defer, giving the Indianapolis Colts the football first. Kai Forbath kicked the ball in the direction of former Vikings’ running back Jordan Todman, who returned the kickoff to the Indianapolis 24-yard line.
Indianapolis got a first down to start things out after three straight carries by Frank Gore picked up 13 yards, including a short gain on third down. The Colts got another third down conversion on a pass from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton, and then Luck found tight end Jack Doyle into Minnesota territory to move the chains again for the Colts. Things stalled out from there, however, and the Colts brought on Adam Vinatieri for a 48-yard field goal attempt. He split the uprights, and the Colts took an early 3-0 lead.
The kickoff by the Colts’ punter, Pat McAfee, went through the end zone for a touchback, giving the Vikings the ball at their own 25. Adrian Peterson did, in fact, get the Vikings’ first two touches with a 2-yard run and a 1-yard reception, but the Vikings could not convert on third down and called on Jeff Locke to punt the ball away. Locke got a 52-yard punt away, but the coverage broke down and allowed Chester Rogers to break off a 30-yard return to give the Colts very good field position at their own 48-yard line for their second possession.
Minnesota forced another third down to start the drive, but Luck found Hilton again for another big third down conversion, this one into Minnesota territory at the 18. The Colts converted another third down with a pass from Luck to rookie Chester Rogers, and the Colts had first-and-goal at the 3-yard line. Fortunately, the Vikings’ defense stiffened from there, forcing three straight incompletions to bring up fourth down. However, on the field goal attempt, Linval Joseph was called for a “leverage” penalty, which is an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and gave the Colts a first-and-goal at the 1. Joseph attempted to jump over the center, which went every bit as well as you think it did. Robert Turbin then took the ball in for a score, and with the Vinatieri extra point, the score went to 10-0 in favor of the Colts with 2:32 left in the first quarter.
McAfee’s kickoff went for another touchback, giving the Vikings the ball at their own 25 to start things out again. On the first play of the drive, Sam Bradford connected with Charles Johnson for a 17-yard gain to the 42-yard line. Shortly after, however, Stefon Diggs was flagged for a false start to put the Vikings into 3rd-and-long, and the Vikings were unable to convert. Locke came on to punt the ball away again, and the Colts took over on their own 17. As we move to the second quarter of play, the Colts are looking at a 2nd-and-5 from their own 22-yard line.
After one quarter of play in Minneapolis, the Vikings. . .who are in a fight for their playoff lives. . .trail the Colts by a score of 10-0. Can this team finally get something figured out and turn things around?