Wrap-up: Vikings 26, Jaguars 23 (OT)
September, 9, 2012
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
A few thoughts on a wild day at the Metrodome:
What it means: You hate to call the season opener a must-win game, but losing at home to the rebuilding Jacksonville Jaguars would have signaled a very early end to the competitive portion of the Minnesota Vikings' schedule. It wasn't pretty and featured far too much drama, but the Vikings won't argue with being over .500 (even at 1-0) for the first time in three seasons.
WalshWatch: Rookie place-kicker Blair Walsh demonstrated a deep and accurate leg throughout training camp, but no one knew how that would manifest itself in the pressure of a game that counted. Well, here you go: Walsh might have been the Vikings' MVP on Sunday. He drilled four field goals, including a stunning 55-yarder at the end of regulation to tie the game and send it to overtime. His 38-yarder was the eventual game winner in overtime.
What I liked: Quarterback Christian Ponder had a mostly efficient day, completing 20 of 27 passes for 270 yards and committing one turnover. I thought he was really impressive getting the Vikings in position for Walsh's 55-yard field goal. The Vikings got the ball back with 14 seconds left, and Ponder found time to fire off a 24-yard completion to receiver Devin Aromashodu and a 6-yarder to tight end Kyle Rudolph. Meanwhile, his 17-yard pass to Aromashodu set up the game-winning field goal in overtime. Ponder kept his cool, and as a result, so did the Vikings.
What I didn't like: I'm all ears if you have an explanation for how the Jaguars caught the Vikings in single coverage with 20 seconds remaining in a 20-17 game. Sure, it was erstwhile No. 1 cornerback Chris Cook who was chasing receiver Cecil Shorts. If anyone was going to be in single coverage, Cook would be the guy. But when you're leading by three, you've got to have help deep, right? I don't get it. In the end, Shorts caught a 39-yard go-ahead touchdown.
PetersonWatch: I'll be the first to admit that tailback Adrian Peterson did much more than I thought he would. Peterson rushed 17 times for 84 yards and two short touchdown passes in his first game since tearing two knee ligaments Dec. 24. Backup Toby Gerhart rushed six times for 18 yards. The lesson: Always, always, always expect the highest end of performance for Adrian Peterson.
What's next: The Vikings make their first road trip of 2012 to play next Sunday at the Indianapolis Colts.