Victory is so sweet, especially when you work hard, change your approach to everything you do, and things just work out. Sunday the Vikings were looking for a fresh start after a miserable 2011 season when they finished 3-13.
Getting players to buy into what you’re doing takes positive results. For the Vikings, it started with winning at home and finding a way to somehow start turning this program around from the depths of the NFC North.
Jacksonville, like the Vikings, finished last in their division in 2011, so they looked at the Vikings as a great opportunity to get a win. Boy, did they come close.
The Vikings had Adrian Peterson back in a big way at running back after losing him to knee surgery eight months ago. His hard work and dedication to getting back on the field is evident — he ran 17 times for 84 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Peterson also became the all-time leading rusher in Vikings history, passing the great Robert Smith with 6,836 yards. Christian Ponder played solid at quarterback, throwing for 270 yards and no turnovers. The Vikings had a balanced offense with 389 total yards.
They did a lot of things well, but they still have a long way to go. They were fortunate to win, especially after cornerback Chris Cook got beat for a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter by Cecil Shorts of Jacksonville making a great diving catch of a 39-yard pass from quarterback Blaine Gabbert, erasing a 20-15 Vikings lead. This is what happened to the Vikings all last year — they could not finish what they started.
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier is a man of faith; he believes in himself and his football team. The Vikings, after having all these positives things happen for most of Sunday, did not lose their poise.
After the kick return, the Vikings started at the 31. Ponder quickly made a big-time throw of 26 yards to Devin Aromashodu. Peterson then ran for six yards and got out of bounds. The Vikings’ fate was in the hands of a rookie with four seconds left!
Blair Walsh did it: He kicked his third field goal of the game, a 55-yard kick and the second longest in Vikings history to tie the game at the buzzer 23-23. That kick could be the defining moment of the 2012 Vikings season.
In overtime, Walsh kicked the game-winner, another clutch field goal after the Vikings drove 55 yards in eight plays highlighted by two great Peterson runs of 10 and 20 yards and Ponder hitting Aromashodu for 17 yards. Walsh coolly kicked a 38-yard game-winning field goal and the Vikings get a much-needed, miracle-like win.
This week the Vikings go for win number two at Indianapolis against the NFL’s number-one pick, Andrew Luck, the man who replaced Peyton Manning.
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 protected], or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.