Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Vikings
December, 1, 2013
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 23-20 overtime win over the Chicago Bears:
What it means: After what easily was the Vikings' most bizarre victory of the season, they improved to 3-8-1 and are now 2-1-1 in their past four games. The game could have ended earlier in overtime, but Rhett Ellison's face mask penalty negated Blair Walsh's field goal and pushed the ball back 15 yards; two plays later, Walsh missed from 57 yards as the haze from the Vikings' victory fireworks still hung under the Metrodome roof. After Robbie Gould missed from 47 yards, Walsh got another chance and hit the winner from 34 yards out.
Stock watch: Rising: Matt Cassel. After Christian Ponder was knocked out of the game just before halftime with a concussion, Cassel ignited the Vikings' offense, completing 17 of 29 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown in the second half and driving the Vikings 79 yards for a game-tying field goal with less than a minute left. The Vikings might have won in regulation, too, if Ellison had been able to corral Cassel's pass near the goal line instead of deflecting it to Tim Jennings for an interception. Minnesota has considered Cassel a backup for most of the season, choosing to start Ponder and Josh Freeman, but Cassel might have changed that conversation with what he did on Sunday. He hit Greg Jennings for the receiver's third touchdown of the season -- all from Cassel -- and managed to get the Vikings' offense working quickly with a 10-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter.
Peterson hits 10,000 yards: The run that put him over 10,000 career yards was an Adrian Peterson classic: With the Vikings facing fourth-and-1 on the Bears' 31-yard line, Peterson surged for 19 yards, breaking tackles all the way down to Chicago's 12. It put him at 156 yards for the day, and made him the third-fastest to hit 10,000 yards in just 101 career games. And what's scary is Peterson could have had more if he'd been completely healthy; he looked on several runs like he didn't have his usual burst, missing opportunities to turn double-digit gains into long scoring runs. But Peterson still had his biggest day of the year, and made some history in the process.
Patterson makes history: Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson scored on a 33-yard run in the second quarter, becoming the first Vikings rookie to score a touchdown three different ways. He had his first receiving touchdown on Nov. 7 against Washington, and has run two kickoffs back for touchdowns this year.
Cook ejected: Cornerback Chris Cook was ejected in the third quarter for making contact with an official on Alshon Jeffery's 46-yard touchdown. Cook had given up Jeffery's 80-yard touchdown just after halftime, and was talking to officials two plays earlier, when he believed Jeffery should have been called for offensive pass interference while trying to break up an interception.
What's next: The Vikings (3-8-1) travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens next Sunday.