Quick Thoughts On The Minnesota Vikings’ Win Over The St. Louis Rams


Dec 16, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) hugs St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson (39) after a game at the Edward Jones Dome. Minnesota defeated St. Louis 36-22. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It is never as much fun to cover a team after a loss, but, on the other hand, there is usually a lot more to write. The St. Louis Rams essentially controlled their own fate heading into yesterday’s game, but failed to show up in the first half. Now, the season is all but over, at least in terms of the playoff hunt. So, what could possibly be taken away from the game…

1. First and foremost, a big congratulations to Steven Jackson for breaking the 10,000 rushing yard mark in his career. Jackson was apparently the only player on the roster that wanted to play in all four quarters yesterday, leading to him amassing 146 yards from scrimmage throughout the game. In that, he garnered 73 rushing yards, bringing his season total to 909 yards. Jackson will need to average 45.5 yards over the next two games to surpass 1,000 yards on the season, breaking another historic milestone with his 8th consecutive season with 1,000+ rushing yards. Only five players in the history of the NFL have accomplished that feat…

2. I genuinely hope that Christian Ponder is giving Adrian Peterson at least half of his weekly check, because without AP, the Vikings are sitting at the bottom of the league with the Chiefs and Raiders, and the Vikings are scouting a quarterback to select in the upcoming draft. Ponder was, at a minimum, effective against the St. Louis Rams, but still only accumulated 131 yards through the air, with an average of 5.5 yards per attempt. They had better hope Peterson can continue his outrageous pace if they plan on doing anything the rest of this season.

3. Speaking of Adrian Peterson… WOW! Through the first quarter of play, Steven Jackson was clearly the better running back in the game, with Peterson averaging 1.0 yards per rush on 8 attempts. One draw play later, Peterson has 9 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown. After that the game was all over. In all actuality, the St. Louis Rams defense did an above average job handling the leagues top rusher. However, missed tackles led to two huge run, one for a 82 yard touchdown, and the other for 52 yards in the fourth quarter. Those two runs alone accounted for 63% of AP’s total rushing yards, meaning that the Rams “held” him to 3.5 for the other 22 carries in the ball game. Regardless, the two massive runs still count for the overall total. Still, there are other ways to look at it, especially if you are searching for a silver lining. Ramblin’ Fan talked all week about how the St. Louis Rams defense could be the team to stop Adrian Peterson. That was clearly not the case…

4. Sam Bradford is both the goat of the game and the near savior, playing completely different football coming out of the locker room at halftime. The Vikings scored 16 points in the 2nd quarter alone, catalyzed by a fumble and interception courtesy of Bradford. Only one of the six first half drives ended in points on the board, leading to an insurmountable cushion for the Vikings. The second half was all Bradford, capping two consecutive drives with touchdown passes, before stalling out at the end of the fourth quarter. He ended the day with, arguably, his best passing performance of the season, going 35 of 55 passing for 377 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interceptions. Still, it was likely his play in the second quarter that doomed the team for the rest of the game.

5. Barry Richardson cannot be starting at the right tackle spot next season if the Rams hope to progress offensively. Period.

6. It was awfully nice of Brian Quick to make a brief appearance in the game, going up over the cornerback on a toss up in the endzone for this second touchdown reception of the season. That is why the Rams drafted him, but he needs to be doing it more often in the game.

7. Brandon Gibson continues to confuse St. Louis fans, with his off-and-on play on the field. Clearly, Bradford trusts Gibson to catch the ball and work after the catch to gain more yards. However, it seems like every time there is any expectations put on him, he either vanishes or makes a costly drop. Hopefully, Gibson can continue this current streak of good performances, showing some real progression from the past couple of seasons.

8. Going 3 of 13 on third down is not going to win many ball games in the NFL. With Amendola back, that number should have gone up, but it did not. The play calling was questionable, especially in the first half of play where Schotty would seemingly abandon the run after Jackson pickup up big chunks on a couple of consecutive runs. Still, the strength of the team early on in the season was their ability to convert on third downs; something that has been absent in the last two games.

9. Danny Amendola returning punts is much less heart stopping than Austin Pettis. Lets keep that trend going, please.

10. I really wanted to start and end with something pertaining to Steven Jackson. As a fan of the long-time St. Louis Ram, there is a small part of me that wishes he would have been traded to another team, one that is championship-caliber, minus a true, “feature” running back. However, watching Jackson over the last half of the season has shown that he still has plenty “left in the tank.” No one would complain if Jackson chose to void his contract and sign on as a free agent to another team. However, Jackson has openly expressed his desire to stick with the franchise where he has spent his whole career. In a way, it is a fairly courageous notion, putting all of your heart and effort into one organization, simply hoping that your contributions will pay off before your short “football life” has expired. That “the NFL is a business” crap is all well and good, but Steven Jackson has earned the right to finish his career with the St. Louis Rams, if he so chooses. I fully expect for the front office to negotiate some incentive filled, multi-year contract for Jackson at the end of the season…