Running game firms up, Defense again stellar as Vikings move to 4-0...

Running game firms up, Defense again stellar as Vikings move to 4-0 with 24-10 win over Giants.

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Minneapolis- The list of top notch quarterbacks frustrated by the Vikings defense is starting to read like a who’s who of NFL signal callers. Top draft pick Marcus Mariota, MVP’s Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton. Two time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning? Take your seat on that bench as well. The Vikings defense didn’t record a sack but they harried and harassed Manning and kept all-pro Odell Beckham Jr. under wraps most of the night limiting the star wideout to 23 yards as the Vikings led start to finish in a 24-10 win at US Bank Stadium Monday Night.
The Vikings running game lampooned as puny and non existant with the lackluster play then injury of Adrian Peterson was jump started by the dynamic running of Jerrick McKinnon who rushed for 85 yards as the Vikings topped the 100 yard mark as a team for the first time this season. Sam Bradford continued to provide steady leadership with 262 yards passing and a touchdown. Once again the Vikings did not turn over the ball on offense making it four straight games without an offensive giveaway. Defensively the Vikings defense provided two turnovers and the offense turned them into 10 points.
The Vikings and Giants traded punts to start the game but the Vikings first punt after a three and out was the first turnover. As Giants Punt returner Dwayne Harris prepared to field the punt, he took his eye off the ball for a split second to locate gunner Cordarrelle Patterson and muffed the punt. Special teams ace gunner, Marcus Sherels pounced on the loose ball and the Vikings were back in business with the ball on the Giants side of the 50. The Vikings needed but 6 plays to score from there with Matt Asiata banging in from the 1.
The Vikings put together a solid 9 play 65 yard drive in the 2nd quarter highlighted by 21 yard pass to Stefon Diggs, two plays later Sam Bradford found Kyle Rudolph in the end zone and the Vikings were up 14-0 The Giants put together their best effort of the half in the closing minutes driving 11 plays and getting a Josh Brown field goal to make the score 14-3 at halftime.
The Vikings opened the second half with a solid 8 play 47 yard drive only to squander the scoring chance when embattled kicker Blair Walsh hooked a 46 yard attempt wide left. Still the Vikings defense continued to produce, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. miscommunicated on a long pass pattern the ball sailing long and Xavier Rhodes corralled the pass and rumbled back past midfield to set the Vikes up for another scoring chance. Walsh connected on a 44 yard field goal, and the Vikings had their 2 touchdown lead back again. After the Giants punted, the Vikings burned 6:29 on an 11 play drive. It got no points, as it stalled out at the 38. Coach Zimmer seemed reluctant to send Walsh out to try a 55 yard field goal, so Jeff Lockes 29 yard punt pinned the Giants inside the 10. But the G-Men put together a speedy 5 play 91 yard drive, the bulk of which coming on a 67 yard gain by Paul Perkins on a screen pass and several broken tackles. 2 plays later Orleans Darkawa bulled into the end zone and the Giants were back in the game at 17-10. But the Vikings responded with their best scoring drive of the game, an 8 play 76 yard drive that consumed 4:18 of the 4th quarter clock, highlighted by 40 yard bomb to Charles Johnson that put the ball on the Giant 4. Jerrick McKinnon scampered into the end zone virtually untouched and the Vikings were back up 2 scores 24-10. The Giants would lose the ball on downs in their last two possessions and the Vikes had the win.

Defensive Report
Harrison Smith had 9 Tackles (6 solo) to lead the team Captain Munnerlyn had 7 solo tackles more than a couple in the open field.

Special Teams
Blair Walsh was 1 of 2 on Field Goals making from 44 and missing from 46 He made all three extra point attempts. Jeff Locke averaged 44 yards on his 6 punts putting 3 of those inside the 20 with a long of 53. Cordarrelle Patterson had a 29 yard return

Game Balls
Offense Jerrick McKinnon gave the Vikes a fairly credible running presence, his 85 yards rushing included a long of 25 yard run. Kyle Rudolph continues to develop as a go to target for Sam Bradford catching his a touchdown pass for the 3rd consecutive week.
Defense: Xavier Rhodes got into Odell Beckham Jr’s head and took him by and large out of the game. He also had an interception and 3 pass defenses.

The Good
Sam Bradford continues his steady play, throwing for 262 yards with a touchdown and no picks. Charles Johnson is developing nicely into a credible deep threat. And was that a Cordarrelle Patterson sighting. He had 5 catches for 55 yards as well as doing grunt work as a special team gunner.

The Bad
The defense had no sacks and didn’t knock Eli Manning down all night. The 67 yard screen play was the first gain of over 40 or more yards this season

The Ugly
Blair Walsh continues to struggle on field goals, his 46 yard miss hooking badly to the left

Sounding the Gjallhorn call to arms
Viking legend WR Randy Moss, now an ESPN NFL Analyst blew the kjallhorn before the start of Monda

Quotable Quote
“I think this team likes to win, I just think they like to compete and go out there and prove that they can be talked about as one of the best teams in the league.” Coach Mike Zimmer as reported in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

That’s a Fact
The Vikes have won 13 straight games in which they have led at the half, the Giants have lost 19 straight in which they trailed at the half

Up Next
The Vikings host their first regular season daytime game with the Houston Texans coming to town. Kickoff is Sunday 1p EDT (Noon local) on CBS

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