Final/OT

Jaguars 23

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Vikings 26

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, September 9, 2012

Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, MN 

1 2 3 4 OT T
JAX 3 6 3 11 023
MIN 0 7 7 9 326

Top Performers

Passing: C. Ponder (MIN) - 270 YDS

Rushing: A. Peterson (MIN) - 17 CAR, 84 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: P. Harvin (MIN) - 6 REC, 84 YDS

Blair Walsh kicks clutch FGs as Vikings win in Adrian Peterson's return

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson's first carry of the afternoon was unremarkable in style, a simple 4-yard gain after a stutter step at the line of scrimmage.

But the Minnesota crowd realized the significance and cheered Peterson almost as loudly as when he sprinted out of the tunnel during the pregame introduction. The Vikings star returned without any trouble, rewarding his team's trust in his repaired left knee with a typical two-touchdown performance.

Rookie Blair Walsh kicked four field goals, including a 55-yarder as regulation ended and another in overtime, and Peterson returned a little more than eight months after reconstructive surgery to lift the Vikings to a 26-23 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Fittingly, Peterson was more upset about the hole he missed on his first run than relieved his first real rushing attempt ended without harm.

"I just went out and played. I knew the structure of the ligament was good," said Peterson, who finished with 84 yards on 17 attempts about 8 1/2 months after tearing his ACL. His runs of 10 and 20 yards set up Walsh's 38-yard kick after the Vikings won the overtime coin toss.

Blaine Gabbert's 39-yard touchdown and 2-point conversion passes with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter gave the Jaguars a 23-20 lead, sending a stunned silence over the crowd after the Vikings led for most of the second half.

"I thought he took a step forward today, because this is a tough place to play," said new coach Mike Mularkey.

But in overtime when the Jaguars had their chance to match -- the first time under the NFL rule installed last year that the first team to score didn't immediately run off the field a winner -- Gabbert was hurried into a fourth-down overthrow. After calmly completing a bundle of clutch passes earlier in the game, Gabbert misfired on all three of his throws on the final drive.

Coming off the worst passer rating in the league in his rookie year, Gabbert was much better, going 23 for 39 for 260 yards and two scores without an interception. But he dropped a snap in the third quarter that was recovered at the Jaguars 44 to set up Peterson's second touchdown run.

"The players are too talented in this league to kind of take a breath," Gabbert said. "So you've just got to fight through that."

Peterson's Superman-like leap over the line from 2 yards out gave the Vikings a 14-9 lead he celebrated with a somersault up from the turf. His first score helped wipe out a bad first half for the home team, bringing the Vikings within 9-7 with 41 seconds left.

This from a guy the Vikings refused to grant clearance, at least publicly, until the morning of the game.

"Knowing his mindset, if coach Frazier would've said no, I think he probably would've still dressed up and played," said quarterback Christian Ponder, who finished 20 for 27 for 270 yards and no interceptions, though he lost a fumble in the third quarter that led to one of Josh Scobee's three field goals.

Lost a little in the hubbub over Peterson's return was the fact that Maurice Jones-Drew was in the backfield for the Jaguars, too, one week after ending his contract-related holdout. After starter Rashad Jennings hurt his knee, Jones-Drew wound up with 77 yards on 19 carries.

"It was good to be out there, standing with them, be out on the pass game, block a little, get hit," said Jones-Drew, the NFL's leading rusher last season. "I just want to continue to improve, understand the offense more so Blaine doesn't have to tell me where to go half the time."

Peterson was feeling the same way on the other end of the hall, except he went home with a victory to savor as well.

"The boost that he gave us, and our fans' reaction when he was introduced, was outstanding and lifted our players," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "He's special, without question."

Game notes


Peterson passed Robert Smith to move into first place on Minnesota's all-time rushing list, with 6,836 yards in his 74th career game. The Vikings showed a videotaped congratulatory message from Smith, who played eight seasons for the Vikings, on the scoreboard. ... Vikings rookie LT Matt Kalil blocked Scobee's extra point in the second quarter. Kalil said he blocked seven kicks in his college career at USC. ... Jennings had 31 yards on eight carries. Mularkey said his injury wasn't serious. But RG Uche Nwaneri, LG Eben Britton and backup OL Cameron Bradfield all left the game with unspecified leg injuries. Nwaneri, bothered by ankle injury earlier in the week, had to be helped off the field in the first half. "Rarely do you lose as many linemen as we did," Mularkey said. ... The Vikings are 4-1 all-time vs. the Jaguars, losing here in 2001.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
JAX
MIN
1st Downs2220
Passing 1st downs
1214
Rushing 1st downs
76
1st downs from penalties
30
3rd down efficiency
9-182-10
4th down efficiency
1-20-0
Total Plays7558
Total Yards355389
Yards per play4.76.7
Total Drives1212
Passing242266
Comp-Att
23-3920-27
Yards per pass
5.99.2
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-182-4
Rushing113123
Rushing Attempts
3429
Yards per rush
3.34.2
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Penalties4-255-47
Turnovers11
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
00
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession37:4927:05

Passing Leaders

JAXC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Gabbert23/392606.7202-18
MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ponder20/2727010.0002-4

Rushing Leaders

JAXCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jones-Drew19774.1011
Jennings8313.9010
MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Peterson17844.9220
Harvin5204.009

Receiving Leaders

JAXRECYDSAVGTDLG
Shorts47418.5139
Robinson56613.2026
MINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Harvin68414.0020
Rudolph56713.4029

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERJAXMIN
jaxFG2:56Josh Scobee 19 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 17 plays, 77 yds, 9:22
30
SECOND QUARTERJAXMIN
jaxTD5:27Marcedes Lewis 1 Yard Pass From Blaine Gabbert (Josh Scobee Kick is No Good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 78 yds, 7:09
90
minTD0:45Adrian Peterson 3 Yard Run (Blair Walsh Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 59 yds, 1:47
97
THIRD QUARTERJAXMIN
minTD9:46Adrian Peterson 2 Yard Run (Blair Walsh Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 44 yds, 1:54
914
jaxFG4:44Josh Scobee 26 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 8 yds, 1:25
1214
FOURTH QUARTERJAXMIN
minFG14:12Blair Walsh 20 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 75 yds, 5:31
1217
jaxFG9:40Josh Scobee 47 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 51 yds, 4:34
1517
minFG5:38Blair Walsh 42 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 57 yds, 4:02
1520
jaxTD0:27Cecil Shorts 39 Yard Pass From Blaine Gabbert (Blaine Gabbert Pass to Justin Blackmon For Two-Point Conversion )
Drive info: 6 plays, 76 yds, 0:58
2320
minFG0:04Blair Walsh 55 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 3 plays, 32 yds, 0:20
2323
OVERTIMEJAXMIN
minFG11:11Blair Walsh 38 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 55 yds, 3:54
2326

Research Notes

Adrian Peterson gained 71 of his 84 rushing yards up the middle on Sunday. It was his highest percentage of yards gained up the middle (min 10 rushes) in a game since the start of 2008. Peterson averaged 4.6 yards before first contact when rushing up the middle on Sunday; he averaged 1.6 yards before contact up the middle from 2009-2011
  [+]
Blaine Gabbert completed 2-of-4 passes thrown over 20 yards downfield, including the go-ahead 39-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts with 20 seconds to go in the 4th quarter. Gabbert completed just 6-of-33 passes (18.2 percent) thrown that distance in his rookie season. Only Christian Ponder (17.6 percent) completed a lower percentage of passes in that distance category in 2011.

ESPN Stats & Information