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Minnesota opened up their season with an overtime victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars 26-23. Viking fans were extremely excited to welcome back a healthy Adrian Peterson after he suffered a gruesome knee injury towards the end of last season.
Peterson made his presence known with his quick explosive cuts in and out of Jacksonville’s defense. Peterson had 17 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings. Peterson punched in both of his touchdowns inside the Jaguars 5 yard-line.
Quarterback Christian Ponder ran the offense with much more authority compared to his rookie season. Although losing one fumble, Ponder completed 20 of 27 passes for 270 yards and had a 105.5 passer rating. Ponder connected with wideout Percy Harvin 6 times for 84 yards. Harvin was also featured at running back and had 5 carries for 20 yards.
As for the Jaguars, 2nd year quarterback Blaine Gabbert also stood behind center with the tons of confidence he lacked last season. Gabbert completed 23 of 39 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns, including one touchdown with 20 seconds left in the 4th to wideout Cecil Shorts that gave the Jaguars a short lived 23-20 lead. Gabbert also connected with tight end Marcedes Lewis for a one yard touchdown pass in the 2nd quarter. Lewis finished the game with 5 receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who sat out all preseason, was also effective offensively for the Jaguars. Jones carried the ball 19 times for 77 yards.
However, Vikings rookie kicker Blair Walsh, was definitely Sunday’s MVP. Walsh was 4/4 including a 55 yard bomb that tied the game 23-23 at the end of regulation to force overtime. Walsh was not done there: in overtime, Walsh hit a 38 yard field goal through the uprights to earn the Vikings the victory. Walsh’s other two field goals were from 20 yards and 42 yards out. Walsh was drafted in the 6th round out of the University of Georgia.
Defensively the Vikings were led by their linebacking core. Linebacker Chad Greenway led the team with 13 tackles, including 9 solo tackles. Linebacker Erin Henderson also had a great game grappling up 10 tackles, 6 which were solo, and one sack.
The Vikings will be back in action next Sunday, September 16 on the road against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
Image Courtesy of Minnesota Vikings