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Peterson Barred From All Team Activities

A day and a half after announcing that running back Adrian Peterson would be playing this upcoming Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, the Minnesota Vikings have opted to place Peterson on the Exempt/Commissioners Permission list. By doing so, the Vikings have barred Peterson from any team related activities until his legal matters are resolved.

How long will he remain exempt? Who knows, Minnesota could change their mind again and decide to activate him tomorrow for all we know. One thing is for sure, Peterson’s days as a member of the Vikings are coming to an end sooner than later.

Vikings Come Back To Reality In Loss To Patriots

If someone decided to watch the first series, and only the first series, on offense for both the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots, they would have thought the Vikings won this game in a blowout. However, that was far from the true ending result of this game as Minnesota suffered their first loss of the 2014 season to the Patriots by a score of 30-7.

The Vikings began the game with an 80 yard drive that ended with a 25 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Cassel to running back Matt Asiata to put the Vikings ahead 7-0. Minnesota’s defense followed up the offense’s impressive drive with one of their own and forced New England’s offense to punt after 3 downs.

The remaining 54 minutes and 35 seconds of the game would prove to be nothing like the first two drives put on the field by each of the team’s offenses. On the Vikings 2nd drive of the game, Cassel threw the ball into double coverage and was intercepted by Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty who then returned the ball all the way to the Minnesota 1 yard line.

Two plays later, New England tied the game at 7 thanks to a 1 yard touchdown run by running back Steven Ridley. After this score the Patriots and Ridley would never look back, scoring 23 more points to secure their first win of the 2014 season. New England’s win was also the 200th career win for their head coach Bill Belichick.

The Vikings and Cassel were never able to recover after the Patriots first score of the game. Cassel ended up throwing 3 more interceptions, tying his career high, as New England scored 17 points off of Minnesota turnovers (aka Cassel turnovers).

The play more than likely sealed the Vikings fate for this game came right before the end of the first half. Minnesota drove the ball down the field 52 yards in 11 plays and lined up to kick a 48 yard field goal to put the Vikings within a touchdown going into the second half. Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones had other ideas, as he blocked the field goal attempt and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown sending New England into the locker room up 24-7 at the half.

All week Minnesota’s fans heard about how the team had to prepare for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his accelerated passing abilities. It seems as though that was all the Vikings defense prepared for two as New England rushed for a total of 150 yards on 37 attempts including 101 yards on 25 carries from running back Steven Ridley. 

Minnesota’s defense did hold Brady to his lowest passing yardage total ever against an NFC North opponent with 149 yards. Brady had one pass completion over 40 yards while his 14 other completions went for 13 yards or shorter.

A week after holding one of the NFL’s best defensive lines in St. Louis to zero sacks, the Vikings offensive line gave up 6 sacks to a Patriots defense that only had 1 sack in their Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins. Of New England’s 6 sacks, 4 of them came courtesy of linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive end Chandler Jones as each of them sacked Cassel two times.

Minnesota heads to New Orleans next week to play the Saints in their home opener and if they have any chance at all they need much better play from Cassel and their offensive line. If Cassel continues playing like he did today against the Patriots, a certain rookie quarterback could be starting for the Vikings sooner than expected.

What You Don’t Know About The Vikings/Patriots

- The Minnesota Vikings have started their season by going 2-0 in 6 of the past 20 years. Of those 6 seasons, the Vikings have made the playoffs 5 times.

- The New England Patriots have not allowed a kickoff to be returned for a touchdown for 62 straight games. The last player to do so against the Patriots was CJ Spiller of the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 of the 2010 season.

- The Vikings had a total of 5 sacks last week against the Rams and if they keep up that pace for the rest of the season they will end up with a total of 80 sacks. The all-time team record for sacks in a season is 71 (1989).

- Since 2008, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is 5-2 against teams with Mike Zimmer (Bengals) or Norv Turner (Chargers and Browns) on their coaching staff.

- Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon likely to get more playing time against the Patriots on Sunday, the most rushing yards in a game by a Vikings rookie not named Adrian Peterson was when Chuck Foreman ran for 200 yards in 1976 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is 3-0 all-time against the Vikings and has averaged 284 yards passing while throwing 8 touchdowns and only 1 interception.

- Sunday will be the first time Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel has started a game against the Patriots, a team he last played for in 2008. 

- The Patriots have won 11 straight games against opponents hailing from the NFC North with the last loss coming in 2002 to the Green Bay Packers. The last time the Vikings defeated the Patriots came in 2000 when Culpepper, Carter, and Moss led the team to a 23-18 win.

Warrant Issued For Adrian Peterson’s Arrest

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted today in Montgomery County, Texas on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child, as reported by numerous media sources. A warrant for Peterson’s arrest has been issued and it is being reported that he will turn himself in to authorities.

The Vikings have deactivated Peterson for Sunday’s game in Minnesota against the New England Patriots. Matt Asiata and rookie Jerick McKinnon are the only other active running backs on the Vikings current depth chart.

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Young Vikings Shine In Week 1 Rout Of Rams

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Unlike the early weeks of the 2013 season, the Minnesota Vikings did not have to worry about their defense giving up a game winning score in the final 2 minutes to the opposing offense. This season, the Vikings first regular season game against the St. Louis Rams was sealed early in the 2nd half and ended with Minnesota defeating the Rams 34-6.

The win in St. Louis is the Vikings first Week 1 victory since 2012 at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars and also their first Week 1 road victory since 2009 when they defeated the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland. Although it is only the first game of the 2014 regular season, things already seem to be moving in a good direction in Minnesota.

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The Vikings were lead by wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, quarterback Matt Cassel, and an outstanding performance from the new-look Minnesota defense. Cassel threw for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns on 17-25 attempts and did not turn the ball over once to the Rams.

Patterson, not running back Adrian Peterson, led the team in rushing Sunday and ended with 102 yards on only 3 carries including a 67 yard run for a touchdown. In only his 2nd year in the NFL, Patterson is looking for 2014 to be his coming out party and he could not have gotten off to a better start than he did against St. Louis.

Even though he did not lead the team in rushing or score Week 1 touchdown for the first time since 2011, Peterson still had a solid game finishing with 71 yards on 21 carries and 2 catches for 18 yards. It was obvious that the Rams defensive priority for the game was to stop Peterson, and that was just about the only thing that St. Louis was able to do well on Sunday.

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With the Rams putting most of their focus on Peterson, other members of the Vikings offense were able to step up and succeed. Tight end Kyle Rudolph caught a 7 yard pass for a touchdown from Cassel to put Minnesota ahead 27-3 early in the 4th quarter. Veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings led the team in receiving for the day catching 6 passes for 58 yards including an 8 yard touchdown catch with time winding down in the 1st half.

While the Vikings offense scored most of the points, they can thank the defense for their win in St. Louis. Minnesota ended the game with a total of 5 sacks and forced the Rams to turn the ball over twice. Both St. Louis turnovers were interceptions, the first coming in the 2nd quarter by Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson and the second interception was returned for a touchdown in the 4th quarter by Minnesota safety Harrison Smith.

Of the 5 times the Vikings sacked the Rams quarterbacks on Sunday, 2 of them came courtesy of defensive end Everson Griffen. Griffen, who signed a big money contract with Minnesota in the offseason now has 4.5 sacks in his last 3 games dating back to 2013.

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Tied for the team lead in total tackles on Sunday with 7 (with safety Robert Blanton), rookie linebacker Anthony Barr showed the Vikings flashes of why he was worth their first pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. Before training camp began in July, Minnesota did not envision Barr starting for the team in Week 1 let alone leading the team in tackles.

If Sunday’s performance was any indication of how the defense will look for the rest of the season, the hiring of head coach Mike Zimmer will prove to be a worthy one. However, Zimmer is the kind of coach that knows it is only Week 1 and there is no time to celebrate because he has to get the Vikings ready for next week’s game against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

What You Don’t Know About The Vikings/Rams

- Mike Zimmer is the 2nd Minnesota Vikings head coach to lead the team to an undefeated preseason in their first season. Dennis Green did the same in 1992 and the Vikings ended up making the playoffs after going 11-5 in the regular season.

- The St. Louis Rams have not made the NFL Playoffs in 9 seasons. That is the 4th longest playoff drought currently in the NFL today, only behind the Oakland Raiders (11), Cleveland Browns (11), and Buffalo Bills (14). 

- In 15 seasons as a head coach/coordinator in the NFL, new Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offenses have ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in passing attempts 6 times, passing yards 11 times, and passing touchdowns 9 times.

- No defense in the NFL has sacked opposing quarterbacks more in the past 2 seasons than the Rams with their total number equaling 105. Defensive end Robert Quinn has led the team with 29.5 sacks since 2012.

- The last 3 seasons in which Vikings running back Adrian Peterson carried the ball over 300 times (2008, 2009, 2012) were also the last 3 times in which Minnesota made the playoffs.

- Since wide receiver Torry Holt’s last season with the Rams in 2008, 5 different players have lead the team in receiving and none of them have gained more than 700 yards.

- After only having 5 different head coaches in the first 40 years of the franchise (including 23 playoff appearances), Mike Zimmer is the 4th head coach to be hired by the Vikings in 13 seasons.

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