Thursday, July 28, 2016

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158 yards and two touchdowns rushing from Adrian Peterson helped the Vikings knock off the Atlanta Falcons 20-10 improving their overall record to 8-3 on the season.

Anthony Barr forced two fumbles and Captain Munnerlyn and Terence Newman each intercepted Matt Ryan as the defense held the Falcons to 22 first downs and 329 total net yards.

Teddy Bridgewater connected on 20-of-28 attempts for 174 yards and 1 interception. Kyle Rudolph was his top target on the day grabbing 7 receptions for 53 yards while Stefon Diggs caught 4 balls for 33 yards. Bridgewater hit 7 different receivers helping the Vikings convert on 7-of-12 third down opportunities.

Peterson’s 1-yard touchdown run gave the Vikings an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter as the Vikings marched 78-yards on a nice 13 play drive on their second possession of the game.

Atlanta got on the board with a second quarter 31-yard field goal from Shayne Graham after Bridgewater was picked off trying to find Kyle Rudolph in the end zone on a 2nd-and-8 from the 22 yard line.

The Falcons took the opening second half drive all the way to the Minnesota 10 yard line. An incomplete pass and an Antone Exum -4 yard tackle for loss set up a big 3rd-and-14 in the red zone. Newman then picked off Ryan in the end zone deflating the Falcons drive.

The defense came up big again in the fourth quarter with the Vikings holding on to a 13-3 lead with 4:40 to play and the Falcons faced with a big 4th-and-1 from mid field. Atlanta lined up with a 5 receiver set and Zimmer blitzed Barr from the A gap up the middle and stripped sacked Ryan before he had time to set and fire the pass.

The Vikings offense may have won the time of possession battle, but it was an opportunistic defense that earned the win.

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Image courtesy of Chris Price

Just like the Minnesota Vikings, we here at VT have to make roster moves in an attempt to adapt to changing circumstances, and also are always on the lookout for ways to put the best possible product on your screen.

We have some changing circumstances on the horizon, and there will be more about that later this week, but we have decided to welcome Adam Patrick to our family here at Vikings Territory in an attempt to add even more high quality content for you to consume as the race to the playoffs picks up steam.

You might be familiar with Adam’s previous work at Pro Football Spot and, if Twitter is your game, you almost certainly follow him already for his on-the-spot analysis. You might even remember his excellent VT guest post from September where he talked about Charles Johnson and his unique route to the top of an NFL roster.

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Vikings Helmets On Lockers
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The Vikings will face the Atlanta Falcons today without a key piece of their defense, safety Harrison Smith. Smith, who injured his knee last week against the Packers, is a critical piece of the Vikings defense that is today faced with the task of containing one of the best wide receivers in the game, Julio Jones. Smith will be replaced by Anton Exum Jr. who will get the first start of his career alongside fellow safety Andrew Sendejo.

Rookie cornerback Trae Waynes is also inactive for today’s game. Although Waynes hasn’t played a huge role on defense, he has been a key contributor on special teams as a gunner. He will be replaced today by cornerback Josh Robinson who is active for this first time today since being placed on the physically unable to perform list this preseason.

Here are the rest of today’s inactives:

Vikings Week 12 Inactives 2015
Vikings Week 12 Inactives

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Harrison Smith 2015 vs Packers
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The Vikings have announced that they will be without both safety Harrison Smith (knee) and cornerback Trae Waynes (ankle) for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Smith hurt his knee early in Minnesota’s game last Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. He was able to finish the game, but needed to wear a brace on his knee to do so.

Waynes’ injury comes as more of a surprise, as his name did not appear on the injury report until Thursday.

The absence of Smith in the lineup comes as a blow to the Vikings defense that will look to prevent Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones from having a big day. Safety Antone Exum Jr. will likely replace Smith in Minnesota’s starting lineup, as he is listed behind Smith on the team’s depth chart.

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Vikings Injury Report
NamePositionInjuryWed.Thur.Fri. Status
Griffen, EversonDEHip/ShoulderDNPDNPLimitedQuestionable
Smith, HarrisonSKneeDNPDNPLimitedQuestionable
Waynes, TraeCBAnkle________LimitedDNPQuestionable
Barr, AnthonyLBHandFullFullFullProbable
Blanton, RobertSAnkleLimitedFullFullProbable
Bridgewater, TeddyQBLeft ShoulderFullFullFullProbable
Floyd, SharrifDTAnkleLimitedFullFullProbable
Kalil, MattTToeLimitedFullFullProbable
Kendricks, EricLBRibsFullFullFullProbable

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