In what may signal the start of a second Tarvaris Jackson era in Minnesota, and the end of Brett Favre's consecutive-games-started streak, the Vikings whooped the terrible Buffalo Bills at Mall of America Field Sunday afternoon for coach Leslie Frazier's second win.
In the opening drive of the game, Brett Favre injured his shoulder when Bills linebacker Arthur Moats hit him blind from behind, driving Favre into the turf with a thud (video below) and forcing an interception. Favre was taken out of the game and was questionable to return. He never did. He didn't really have to.
Tarvaris Jackson took over and pitched a Favre-like game (187/2/3), connecting with Sidney Rice for 105 yards and two touchdowns, and returning to the Vikings' bread-and-butter, the running game.
Adrian Peterson returned to form after three straight off weeks, going off in perhaps his best game of the season, and at a critical time for Minnesota. He rushed for 107 yards three TDs. Jackson also scrambled 22 yards.
The Viking defense pitched in as a hapless Bills offense gained a measly 41 yards in the first half, nine off the arm of Bills' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Their only score came when cornerback Drayton Florence intercepted Tarvaris Jackson and ran it back 40 yards for the pick-six with five minutes left in the first quarter. The Bills took the lead at that time, 7-0.
But it was the only real blemish in a solid and consistent first half managed by Jackson on 170 yards and two TDs, with one interception.
Following the Florence interception return, the Vikings rattled off six scores in a row. They finished the first half up 31-7, thanks to Rice's two TDs (one for 31 yards) and two of Peterson's rushing scores. They added a Longwell field goal from 38 before heading into the locker room.
Neither team scored in a third quarter of weak offense, both squads giving up the ball following short series three times.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick fumbled on the Buffalo 43. On the very next play, Adrian Peterson busted out a touchdown run for the Vikings' sixth and last score.
With five minutes left in the game, Bills' wide receiver David Nelson hauled in a garbage touchdown from Fitzpatrick. That would be the end of the scoring, as the Vikings win 38-14 and go to 5-7. The Bills' loss puts them at 2-10.
As we enter the fourth quarter of the season, the Minnesota Vikings still cling to playoff hopes. The Washington Redskins' loss to the New York Giants today helped a little bit, but the Vikings are going to need a lot more help than that. With four division leaders and four other teams with better records ahead of them, likely they will need to win out the rest of the season—and still require more than one team to fumble the ball.
Up Ahead for the Vikings
vs. NY Giants
vs. Chicago Bears
@ Philadelphia Eagles
@ Detroit Lions
Vikings Fantasy Spin
Remember Adrian Peterson's injury last week? Obviously no longer a concern. You still need Toby Gerhart on the bench, though.
The early word is Favre's shoulder injury might actually keep him out of next week's game, but it's still early and there is no medical news as yet. If you need a QB, you can find someone better on the waiver wire than Tarvaris Jackson right now, though his connections with Sidney Rice look promising.
As predicted last week, Rice had a big game. He's the main man of the receiving corps now and, though probably still not at 100 percent, looks pretty close. Then again, they did play the Buffalo Bills.
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