Despite losing star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a concussion early in the fourth quarter, the Vikings won their fourth-straight game 21-18 in overtime over the St. Louis Rams. Kicker Blair Walsh again kicked the 40 yard game winning field goal.
The game featured two of the top running backs in the NFL. “I thought it was a really hard-fought game,” said Mike Zimmer. “I know we played very clean on our side of the ball. It was great. It shows our team has a lot of heart, a lot of fight.”
The two star running backs, Adrian Peterson and Rams rookie Todd Gurley, have helped power their teams into playoff contention. Peterson ran for 125 yards on 29 carries and scored a touchdown. Gurley was impressive also with 89 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also grabbed three passes for 20 yards.
The Vikings were clinging to an 18-15 lead when Bridgewater was hit in the head by an elbow from Rams cornerback Larmarcus Joyner. Bridgewater had scrambled to his left and found a lane and slid — Joyner hit Bridgewater while he was on his back and was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.
It was early in the fourth quarter; Bridgewater appeared to be out cold. He was later helped off the field. I did talk to him after the game and he said he was OK. He is in concussion protocol being monitored and tested daily. Asked if he thinks the Rams targeted Bridgewater, Zimmer said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that there is a history there of their defensive coordinator. I’ll leave it at that.”
Rams Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams was a part of the famous Bounty Gate, when the New Orleans Saints were hit by the league years ago for targeting players for injury. Williams was suspended for one year.
The Vikings have caught up with the Packers at 6-2; both teams share first in the NFC North. It’s the first time the Vikings have been 6-2 since 2012.
Peterson carried the load and met the challenge of the rugged Rams defense before and after Bridgewater went down and helped the Vikings sustain what they started. “It felt good, a tough win for us,” Peterson said. “We were able to come out and do what we talked about doing this week in preparation, running the ball, and being productive in the passing game. Mixing it up and taking advantage of opportunities that are presented to us and get the W at the end of the day.”
Peterson has rushed for 758 yards in eight games, and the Vikings are getting better every week. Walsh has kicked 15 straight field goals. The Vikings lost linebacker Audie Cole to injury, a fractured right ankle, and linebacker Anthony Barr had his right arm in a sling. Cornerback Terrence Newman sustained a concussion also.
Next the Vikings travel to Oakland and the 4-4 Raiders. Then they return home November 22 at TCF against the Green Bay Packers. The league has three 8-0 teams, unbeaten New England, Cincinnati and Carolina for the first time in history. The last undefeated NFL team was Miami, 17-0 in 1972. The next-best records are 6-2 Arizona, Green Bay and the Vikings.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to email@example.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.