Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Vikings
December, 8, 2013
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
BALTIMORE -- A few thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 29-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens:
What it means: The Vikings have had plenty of wild finishes this year, but on a wet, snowy day in Baltimore, nothing could compete with this one. Minnesota fell behind on a fourth-down score with 2:07 left, took the lead back 38 seconds later on Toby Gerhart's 41-yard romp, gave up a 77-yard kickoff return touchdown on the ensuing play, regained the lead two offensive plays later on Cordarrelle Patterson's 79-yard touchdown and still managed to lose in the final 45 seconds, after Joe Flacco moved the Ravens 80 yards in five plays. Five touchdowns were scored within the game's final 2:05.
Stock watch: Rising: Patterson. He already had 62 receiving yards and 67 kick-return yards before the final minute of the game, when Patterson took a screen pass from Matt Cassel and saved his most electrifying moment for last. He followed a key block from John Sullivan, cut across the field and raced 79 yards for a touchdown. We've wondered at different points this season why the Vikings weren't trying to get Patterson the ball on more screen passes, and on a slippery track that made it hard for defenders to adjust to him, Patterson showed -- once again -- how good he can be with the ball in his hands.
Peterson leaves with ankle injury: Running back Adrian Peterson left shortly before halftime with a right ankle injury, and reportedly left the stadium in the third quarter to get more tests after an X-ray. But Peterson was back on the sideline in the fourth quarter, standing up without crutches or a boot on his ankle, and told ESPN's Josina Anderson in a text, "I'm good." We'll get more information about Peterson's health after the game, but for now, it appears the Vikings might have avoided a major scare.
Secondary allows late TDs after strong showing: The Vikings' secondary had one of its stronger games of the season in the first three and a half quarters, collecting two of Minnesota's three interceptions on Flacco and stalling the Ravens' passing game in the snow. But once again, a late-game touchdown burned the Vikings; Flacco found Dennis Pitta on fourth-and-1, and he hit Torrey Smith for a two-point conversion when Marcus Sherels and Robert Blanton got caught on a crossing route. Blanton committed a key penalty for the third week in a row, getting called for a 36-yard pass interference penalty that moved the Ravens to Minnesota's 17. And on the Ravens' final drive, an 18-yard interference penalty from Chad Greenway loomed large.
What's next: The Vikings (3-9-1) host the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.