Minnesota Vikings vs. St. Louis Rams: Instant Grades, Analysis for Minnesota

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Minnesota Vikings vs. St. Louis Rams: Instant Grades, Analysis for Minnesota

Final Score:

Minnesota Vikings 36 St. Louis Rams 22

The Vikings hold off the Rams late surge to win by two touchdowns.

Stay with us for final grades and analysis.

Minnesota Vikings 36 St. Louis Rams 22

Vikings rookie kicker Blair Walsh ties an NFL record with his 8th field goal over 50-yards on the season, converting from 51 yards and extending the Vikings lead to 14 points.

Adrian Peterson's 52-yard burst put the Vikings into field goal range.

Minnesota Vikings 33 St. Louis Rams 22

The St. Louis Rams do score quickly this time, aided by a crucial pass interference call against Josh Robinson.

Bradford finishes it off with a 6-yard strike to tight end Lance Kendricks for the touchdown. He then converts the 2-point conversion try to Danny Amendola to pull the Rams within 11 points with just under eight minutes to play. The rout is off. 

Minnesota Vikings 33 St. Louis Rams 14

Steven Jackson goes over the 10,000 yard mark rushing and Sam Bradford caps off an 80-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown throw to Danny Amendola.

The drive ate a lot of clock and the Vikings defense didn't give up a quick-strike touchdown which is the only thing that could hurt them at this point in the game.

End of the 3rd Quarter:

Minnesota Vikings 33 St. Louis Rams 7

The Vikings phenomenal rookie kicker Blair Walsh is good again, this time from 53-yards out and the Vikings are turning this game into a rout.

Halftime Score:

Minnesota Vikings 30 St. Louis Rams 7

The Vikings add three points to their best quarter of the season, Blair Walsh hitting his third straight field goal, this one from 42-yards out to put the Vikings up by 23 points at halftime.

Minnesota Vikings 27 St. Louis Rams 7

After a three and out from the defense, the Vikings ride Adrian Peterson and a couple of nice, short completions into Rams territory and Blair Walsh caps it off with his second field goal, this one from 38-yards and the Vikings are threatening to run away with this one.

Minnesota Vikings 24 St. Louis Rams 7

Defensive ends aren't supposed to be able to do that.

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen drops deftly into coverage, spying Sam Bradford the entire play, and then picks him off and looks like the running back he was in high school, taking the ball 29-yards for a touchdown.

Minnesota Vikings 17 St. Louis Rams 7

The Vikings convert off the game's first turnover, getting a 50-yard field goal from rookie Blair Walsh after Kevin Williams pounced on a muffed snap by the Rams offense. Walsh's kick would have been good from 65-yards.

Minnesota Vikings 14 St. Louis Rams 7

Eight carries might be as long as you can hold Adrian Peterson down. 

Peterson had just eight yards on eight carries in the first quarter. He now has nine carries for 90 yards.

Like a ticking bomb, Peterson finally goes off, straight up the middle of the line following his blocker and then bouncing quickly to the left before dropping it into fifth-gear and outrunning the Rams secondary.

Minnesota Vikings 7 St. Louis Rams 7

Rookie Brian Quick makes an outstanding play going up and getting a ball in the end zone. Cornerback Josh Robinson was right with Quick, but doesn't have the size to go up with Quick, who out-jumped Robinson and made a nice catch for a 4-yard touchdown.

End of First Quarter:

Minnesota Vikings 7 St. Louis Rams 0

The Minnesota Vikings draw first blood in St. Louis as quarterback Christian Ponder runs for a 5-yard touchdown on third and goal. Ponder was three for three on the first drive as the Rams have loaded the box to stop Adrian Peterson, who was stuffed for -3-yards on five carries.

Game Preview:

A year ago the Minnesota Vikings and the St. Louis Rams were jockeying for draft position, vying to see who could land the coveted second pick in the 2012 NFL draft that would either land Robert Griffin III, or the blue chip spot that would return a boat-load of high draft picks in a trade.

Back then nobody in their right mind thought the December 2012 matchup between the two cellar dwellers could possibly have playoff implications tied to it.

Such is life in the topsy-turvy, year-to-year world of the NFL. 

Not only are the Vikings (7-6) and the Rams (6-6-1) fighting for their playoff lives in the NFC, but the team that beat them both out in the "Suck for Luck" push at the end of last season, the Indianapolis Colts, are 9-4 and right in the thick of the AFC playoff race.

Sunday's matchup is essentially an elimination game for the Vikings and Rams, with the loser all but eliminated from the playoff hunt. It won't be an easy task for Minnesota, road games never are, as the purple are just 1-5 away from Minneapolis this year and 3-11 over the past two seasons.

The Rams are hot, having won three in a row, including a season-saving overtime win over the 49ers in their last home outing.

For the Vikings, once again opportunity is at hand. The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis provides a controlled environment in which Minnesota is clearly a better football team. Playoff contenders Washington and Seattle are also both on the road and the Cowboys face the Steelers at home, so this weekend might shake out the playoff picture a little bit.

For Minnesota it's pretty simple, win and you're still alive.

You can see the game on FOX at 1pm ET and stay with us all day long for instant grades and analysis, followed by final grades after the game.

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