The Minnesota Vikings have finally gotten over the hump and now have their first victory of the 2013 season. This came against a winless Pittsburgh Steelers team in London, England, and despite losing their last two games on late drives the Vikings’ defense stepped up and sealed the win for the team’s first win.
The Vikings were up by just seven points with the Steelers driving down the field late in the game when Everson Griffen forced Ben Roethlisberger to fumble the ball, which was eventually recovered by the team in purple. Griffen also recorded one of the defense’s five total sacks in his limited playing time as the Vikings proved today they are still a scary pass rushing team. Jared Allen had the biggest day of the defensive linemen as he was credited with 2.5 sacks and made an additional tackle on a runner as well.
While it was the defense that sealed the game for the Vikings, it was the offense that impressed the most. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has been credited with having an unimaginative offensive scheme by me as well as others, but on Sunday against the Steelers the Vikings threw the ball down the field despite having second-stringer Matt Cassel in and accumulated almost 400 total yards on offense.
Cassel looked good in his role replacing the injured Christian Ponder, and his 248 passing yards and two touchdowns on the day likely has him penciled in as the starter coming off the team’s bye week next Sunday. The run game flourished as well as Adrian Peterson broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run early in the game and finished with 140 yards rushing and two scores.
The Vikings’ secondary was tested continuously on Sunday as Roethlisberger threw the ball a total of 51 times. Even though he piled up 383 passing yards, certain players shined in coverage. Rookie Xavier Rhodes broke up a possible touchdown catch late in the game which was crucial, and although Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown caught the ball 12 times, the Vikings did a nice job limiting him to just 88 yards.
The Vikings now stand at 1-3 on the year after a convincing 34-27 win over the Steelers, but with the team entering a bye week now all the focus will be on who starts at quarterback against the Carolina Panthers on October 13 and if the Vikings can continue to roll on offense.