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In a game billed as a battle of two rookie quarterbacks, it was actually the two oldest players on the field at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday afternoon that determined the outcome of the clash between the Minnesota Vikings and the Carolina Panthers.
37-year old Ryan Longwell converted a 31-yard field goal with 2:47 left on the clock to give the Vikings a 24-21 lead over the Panthers. On the other side, 38-year old Olindo Mare was unable to convert from an identical distance with 29 seconds left, pushing his attempt wide to the left and allowing the Vikings to assume the victory formation for just the second time this season.
Things got off to a bit of an ominous start for the Vikings, as they got a 78-yard kickoff return from Marcus Sherels to get things started. But after doing nothing with their first three offensive plays, Longwell pushed a 45-yard attempt to the left, and the Vikings came away with nothing.
On the very next play, however, Vikings' linebacker E.J. Henderson came in on a blitz and hit Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Jared Allen at the Carolina 16. The Vikings handed. . .yes, handed. . .the ball to Percy Harvin twice, and the second carry was a 10-yard touchdown run to put the Vikings on top 7-0.
After the teams exchanged punts, the Panthers put together a drive starting from their own 10-yard line. Steve Smith, who has made a living of beating up the Vikings in his career, caught two passes on the drive for 46 yards, and had a 12-yard run on an end around as well. The drive concluded with Newton finding Jeremy Shockey from a yard out, and the game was tied at seven.
The Vikings proceeded to go three-and-out, and Newton went to work again. On a 2nd-and-10 play from the Minnesota 39, Newton found former Chicago Bear Greg Olsen running wide open down the field, and found him for a 39-yard touchdown strike to give Carolina their first lead at 14-7. The Vikings appeared to have an answer on their next drive, but as Percy Harvin moved the ball inside the 10 for the Vikings, he was stripped by Panthers' quarterback Captain Munnerlyn, and the Vikings gave the ball back to Carolina.
Carolina started to move back the other direction as the clock went under two minutes remaining, but on a 1st-and-10 from his own 42, Newton got sacked and stripped again, this time by Allen, and Chad Greenway recovered the fumble to give the Vikings a chance. Since the role reversal worked so well earlier on with handing the ball to Percy Harvin, Minnesota thought they would go the other way by throwing the ball to Adrian Peterson. A 19-yard completion from Christian Ponder to Peterson on a check down put the ball at the Carolina 20, and the next play was a screen to Peterson that saw the NFL's best running back simply outrun everybody to the end zone to tie the game at 14 going into the locker room.
The Panthers got the ball coming out of the break, and they wasted little time going 80 yards for a touchdown. The key play on the drive was a 22-yard completion from Newton to Legadu Naanee that was challenged by the Vikings, but ultimately upheld. Newton then followed that up with a 24-yard run off left tackle, and the Panthers got to the Minnesota 22-yard line when Smith struck again, catching a short pass from Newton and blowing past Asher Allen to turn it into a 22-yard touchdown reception and a 21-14 Carolina lead. It was Newton's third touchdown pass of the afternoon, the first time in his NFL career he has achieved that.
After the teams exchanged punts again, the Vikings put together one of their best drives of the season. The first five plays of the drive were all runs, with Peterson and Toby Gerhart combining for 48 rushing yards on those five plays. Ponder then came up big on a 3rd-and-10, finding Visanthe Shiancoe for 12 yards to keep the drive going. He then found Peterson again for nine more yards, and a defensive holding penalty on Munnerlyn put the ball at the Carolina 9. Peterson took it from there, finding the end zone for his ninth rushing touchdown this season, and the Vikings had tied it at 21.
The Vikings dominated the fourth quarter in terms of time of possession, holding the ball for 11 of the 15 minutes of the quarter, and it began to take its toll on the Carolina defense. Ponder continued moving the team down the field, and the Vikings kept converting on third downs. Ponder found Harvin for 11 yards on 3rd-and-7, hit Devin Aromashodu for 15 yards on 2nd-and-5, and Harvin for 22 more on 2nd-and-15 after a penalty. Peterson got a few more carries to get the Vikings down to the Carolina 13-yard line, and Longwell hit the field goal to make the score 24-21.
Newton and company still had a chance at the end of the game, however, and they made the most of it. They advanced to their own 40 when the two-minute warning came up, and after a sack by Husain Abdullah, a short completion to Jonathan Stewart, and an incompletion, the Panthers found themselves looking at 4th-and-15 from their own 35. Newton calmly dropped back and whipped a dart to Brandon LaFell, who turned the catch into a 44-yard gain and put the Panthers down at the Minnesota 21-yard line. A few plays later, a run by Newton on 3rd-and-3 appeared to have the Panthers down to their own 2-yard line, but a holding penalty of Steve Smith pushed the ball back. The Panthers picked up 5 yards on the subsequent 3rd-and-7, and that set them up for Mare's field goal attempt. The snap on the field goal try was a little high, but holder Jason Baker appeared to get it down on time. . .the veteran Mare just pushed it to the left, and Minnesota knelt out the clock for their second victory of the year.
Newton finished the day having completed 22 of 35 attempts for 290 yards and three touchdowns, while Ponder completed 18 of 28 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown pass. Peterson wound up with 162 total yards, carrying the ball 21 times for 86 yards and catching five passes for 76 yards, with a score both on the ground and through the air. Jared Allen's sack was the tenth game in a row that he had registered a sack going back to last season, extending his own Vikings' team record.
The Vikings have next week off, as it is their bye week, and won't play again until November 14, when they travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.
The Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers traded offensive blows all day in an entertaining game starring a pair of emerging rookie quarterbacks. But the Vikings would have the last say in the matter, as kicker Ryan Longwell's 31-yard field goal with 2:43 remaining in the game would be the difference, pushing the Vikings to a 24-21 road win.
The game went back and forth much of the day as the Vikings quickly felt the presence of Percy Harvin back in the lineup after a rib injury. Harvin took a handoff and ran it in from ten yards out late in the first quarter to start the scoring.
After a pair of Cam Newton touchdown passes put Carolina in front, the Vikings tied it at 14-14 when Christian Ponder threw a touchdown pass of his own to Adrian Peterson. Peterson would tie the game up at 21-21 late in the third quarter in more familiar fashion by popping a run up the middle for a 9-yard touchdown.
After Longwell's field goal put the Vikings up for good, the Panthers had one more chance to at least push the game into overtime. A costly penalty negated a first down run by Newton with less than a minute to play which eventually led to a 31-yard field goal attempt to tie the game, but Olindo Mare couldn't convert.
The win moved the Vikings to 2-6 on the season.
After forcing the Panthers into a third consecutive three-and-out, the Vikings took over at their own 15-yard line. The Vikings then put together another long drive, taking 13 plays to move 72 yards, but having to settle for a 31-yard Ryan Longwell field goal to put them ahead 24-21 with less than three minutes to go.
We're now at the two-minute warning in Carolina, with the Panthers having the ball at Minnesota's 40-yard line with one time out remaining, and Cam Newton just took a huge sack on a safety blitz from Husain Abdullah to put themselves in second and long.
Can the Vikings hold on to this lead? We will have to find out. The Panthers are now looking at fourth and long in their own territory with 1:09 left to play.
After exchanging punts with Carolina, the Vikings forced the Panthers to go three-and-out, giving them the ball at their own 10-yard line. From there, the Vikings went 90 yards in 12 plays thanks to a nice combination of running from both Toby Gerhart and Adrian Peterson, as well as some opportunistic passing from Christian Ponder, who made several impressive third-down conversions on the drive.
The drive concluded with Adrian Peterson finding the end zone on a nine-yard run for his ninth rushing touchdown of the season to tie the score at 21.
Christian Ponder has been pretty impressive on the afternoon, having completed 13-of-21 passes for 183 yards and a score. Though Peterson has few yards on the ground, he is leading the Vikings in receiving with four grabs for 73 yards.
The Vikings are driving again early in the fourth quarter, and they are tied with the Carolina Panthers at 21.
Steve Smith has killed the Minnesota Vikings over the course of his NFL career, and today is not proving to be an exception to that rule.
Cam Newton found Smith for his third touchdown pass of the day, a 22-yarder that put the Panthers ahead of Minnesota by a score of 21-14 with 11:07 left in the third quarter of play. Smith now has six catches for 95 yards on the afternoon to go along with the touchdown. This is also Newton's first three-touchdown game of his NFL career, but I have a funny feeling that it won't be his last.
The Vikings are going to be forced to punt it away after going three-and-out to give the ball back to the Panthers, trailing 21-14. It's not time for the Vikings to start pressing yet, but they need to get things going in a hurry here if they want to keep themselves from getting too far behind.
Adrian Peterson hasn't gotten it going on the ground thus far, but he's having a pretty nice receiving day to this point.
After the Vikings' defense set the offense up on a short field with a Jared Allen strip/sack of Cam Newton, the Vikings needed just two plays to put the ball into the end zone from the Carolina 39-yard line. The two plays? Two completions to Adrian Peterson from Christian Ponder. The first came on a checkdown to Peterson in the middle of the field where Peterson made a few guys miss, and the second was a designed screen for the best running back in football where he bounced the play to the right and simply outran everybody to the end zone.
Peterson now has three catches on the day for 61 yards and a score, while only having eight carries for 14 yards on the ground.
The sack for Allen was his tenth consecutive game with a sack, extending his own team record, and gives him 12.5 on the year. The NFL record for sacks in a season is currently held by Michael Strahan with 22.5, and Allen is definitely a threat to that one if he keeps up the way he has been thus far.
After forcing the Vikings to punt again, the Panthers needed just five plays to move 49 yards for a score, largely because the touchdown that was scored was a 39-yard connection from Cam Newton to former Chicago Bear Greg Olsen in which Olsen was wide open. It was Newton's second touchdown pass on the day, and he currently has 119 yards on 7-of-12 passing.
The Vikings still haven't gotten Adrian Peterson going, as he only has four yards on seven carries. The Vikings are driving, however, as they're at the Carolina 25-yard line as Christian Ponder has made a couple of very nice plays to keep the drive going.
With a little more than six minutes remaining in the first half at Bank of America Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings trail the Carolina Panthers by a score of 14-7.
After a nice punt by Chris Kluwe pinned the Panthers down at their own 10-yard line, Carolina went to work, mixing in passes from Cam Newton to Steve Smith with some nicely designed run plays. On an end-around to Smith, he appeared to have a hold of Cedric Griffin's face mask as he went out of bounds, but it was Griffin that was called for the 15-yard penalty instead. A couple of plays later, Newton and Smith appeared to connect for a 27-yard touchdown pass, but Smith was ruled down at the 1-yard line.
Two plays later, Newton found Jeremy Shockey in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown pass, and the Panthers had tied the Minnesota Vikings with 13:22 remaining in the first half of play. Adrian Peterson really hasn't gotten going, having only carried three times for minus-three yards, and Christian Ponder is just 2-for-5 for 35 yards, 22 yards of which came on a shovel pass to Peterson. It really has been all Carolina since the Vikings got their touchdown early.
With 13:00 left in the first half of play in Charlotte, the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers are tied at seven.
The Vikings got a 78-yard kickoff return from Marcus Sherels to begin today's festivities to set the Vikings up at the Carolina 27-yard line. However, a run by Adrian Peterson for no gain, an incomplete pass, and a sack of Christian Ponder left the Vikings to settle for a field goal try from Ryan Longwell. However, Longwell uncharacteristically missed the 45-yard attempt wide to the left, and the Vikings got no points out of what looked to be a promising drive.
On Carolina's first offensive play, however, the Vikings got to Panthers' rookie quarterback Cam Newton on a blitz, as E.J. Henderson smashed Newton and caused him to fumble. Jared Allen fell on the loose ball, and the Vikings were in business at the Carolina 16.
Percy Harvin did the work from there, as he lined up in the backfield twice and took two handoffs from Christian Ponder. The first carry went for six yards, and the second one was a 10-yard touchdown run for Harvin's first offensive score of the season.
The Vikings just forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but the Panthers fell on it to take over at their own 18-yard line.
With 12:26 left in the first quarter in Charlotte, the Minnesota Vikings lead the Carolina Panthers by a score of 7-0.
The Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers have released their inactive lists for today's game. Let's start with a look at Minnesota, who only needs to have six inactive players because they only currently have 52 players on the current roster.
Yes, Winfield sits again with his injured neck, which means he should be back after the bye. Percy Harvin is up for Minnesota, as was expected, although his ribs are likely still giving him some issues. Interestingly enough, seventh-round pick Stephen Burton, who was promoted from the practice squad just this week after Bernard Berrian's release, is up today for the Vikings as well.
Joe Berger will start at guard in Herrera's place.
Here is the list for the Panthers.
Claussen certainly has fallen off the face of the planet quickly. Pugh and Butler were both listed as "questionable" or worse on the Panthers' injury report, so it's no surprise that they're not playing today.
Check out the latest injury status update for the Vikings and Panthers at Daily Norsemen. Wide receiver Percy Harvin remains listed as questionable with a rib injury that has sidelined the Vikings' playmaker. Harvin participated in practices this week giving the impression he may be available to play today.
According to NFL Network reporter, Jason LaCanfora, despite Harvin's official status as questionable, he will be on the field for Minnesota when they play in Charlotte.
Vikings WR Percy Harvin (ribs) will play today at Carolina.
Seeing Harvin on the field should bolster rookie QB Christian Ponder's confidence by adding another dynamic player to the mix that the Carolina defense will have to account for when the Vikings have the ball. This news should also make Adrian Peterson smile since the running back has been carrying such a heavy load as the Vikings figure out to put Ponder in position to attack defenses without just handing it off to number 28.
Here's a list of the Vikings' inactive players: CB Antoine Winfield, RB / KR Lorenzo Booker, LB Xavier Adibi, G Anthony Herrera, OL DeMarcus Love, and DE D'Aundre Reed.
The 1-6 Minnesota Vikings visit the 2-5 Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium. Neither the Vikings nor the Panthers are pleased with their record as they approach they mid-point of the season, but both teams remain intriguing as they look to the future by starting rookie quarterbacks.
Minnesota's Christian Ponder didn't have the easiest assignment in his first start last week against the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings lost and Ponder struggled against the aggressive Green Bay defense at times, but he also show the ability to make plays and develop into a nice threat to play alongside Adrian Peterson. Of course, the Panthers are all in this season with rookie sensation Cam Newton at quarterback and they'll be trying to build on last week's impressive win over the Washington Redskins that saw Newton throw for 256 yards and rush for 59 yards.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, October 30, 12:00 p.m. CT
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
TV Schedule: FOX
Announcers: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Radio: KFAN FM 100.3
It looks like running back Adrian Peterson will get to play on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. He appeared as probable on the Friday injury report and fantasy owners everywhere and breathing a sigh of relief. It looks like he'll be good to go and, more than that, it looks like he'll actually have a more expanded role in the team's offense:
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said Peterson's pass-catching role might elevate after the coaching staff discussed how to get him even more involved and help early-down efficiency.
Really, what this means is that the Vikings want to keep the offense moving with better first- and second-down efficiency. It's true that the team wants to get Peterson touches because he's a playmaker and you're always better off when your best offensive player has the ball, but it's also likely because of rookie quarterback Christian Ponder.
More than they want to just get a few yards here and there and put the ball into Peterson's hands, they want a way for Ponder to dump the ball off and move it down the field. The rookie needs to gain confidence as he plays, and the short passes that go for big gains do just that. If Peterson can keep his hands on them, then it will likely work. He's never been much of a receiving back, but it just might be what Ponder needs to keep this offense moving and follow-up on the progress made last Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Adrian Peterson scared some people when he was listed as out due to the ankle injury he sustained last week. The injury apparently healed just fine, however, because Friday's Minnesota Vikings injury report listed Peterson as probable for the Carolina Panthers game after being a full participant in the week's final practice.
Peterson slowly but surely progressed throughout the week. On Wednesday, after tweaking has ankle during the Vikings game versus the Green Bay Packers, he sat out the entire practice. Peterson then participated in individual drills on Thursday and finally was a full participant in Friday's practice, earning him the probable tag for this week's game.
The only player definitely not playing this weekend is guard Anthony Herrera. Percy Harvin is questionable with his rib injury, Antoine Winfield is questionable with his neck injury and back-up running back Lorenzo Booker is as well due to concussion symptoms.
Adrian Peterson is a key component of the Minnesota Vikings offense, to put it lightly, so any game time he might miss due to injury puts the team at even more of a disadvantage than it already is with just one win on the season. That said, good news came on Thursday's injury report as the running back returned to practice -- albeit in a limited role.
Peterson said of his absence on Thursday that his "ankle got a little tweaked up during the game so I had to give it a little rest."
A little rest was all the ankle needed, apparently, as 1500 ESPN reports a bright outlook for the weekend.
Meanwhile, running back Adrian Peterson (ankle) and wide receiver Percy Harvin (ribs) took part in individual drills after sitting out all of Wednesday's session. They were listed as limited Thursday on the injury report. Frazier said Peterson, "moved around pretty good," and should be good to go but that Harvin still had soreness in his ribs.
Anthony Herrera and Visanthe Shiancoe were held out of Thursday's practice again, however, and Lorenzo Booker was a new addition to the guys missing practice altogether as well as he deals with concussion-like symptoms.
The only other player that didn't practice at all on Thursday was Jared Allen, though that wasn't due to injury concerns but rather his gave birth due to a baby girl.
The Minnesota Vikings have been lucky they haven't really had to deal with any offensive injuries as the unit has struggled while healthy this season. The team released its opening injury report for the game against the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday, however, and it included bad news for both Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, among others.
The Vikings had four players that couldn't practice on Wednesday due to injury, which doesn't sound all that terrible, except for the fact that three of the players that sat out are skill position starters on offense. Peterson was out with an ankle injury, Harvin missed due to the rib injury he suffered last week and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe didn't practice because of a foot injury. Guard Anthony Herrera was the only other player not to practice due to injury concerns as he heals from a knee injury.
As far as other important players are concerned, linebacker E.J. Henderson was limited with a knee injury and Antoine Winfield the same with his neck injury. Defensive backfield members Hussain Abdullah and Jamarca Sanford both participated fully in practice despite appearing on the report.
Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings visit Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. It should be a fun battle of rookie quarterbacks on teams with losing records.
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