Vikings Sack Newton 8 Times, Pound Panthers 22-10 to Move to 2-1

Minnesota Vikings v Carolina Panthers

The Minnesota Vikings keep finding ways to overcome injuries -and keep finding ways to win football games.

Sam Bradford threw a touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph, Marcus Sherels returned a punt for a score and the Vikings snapped the Carolina Panthers’ 14-game home winning streak 22-10 on Sunday.

The Vikings put the clamps on Cam Newton, intercepting the league’s reigning MVP three times and getting eight sacks, one of those resulting in a safety by Danielle Hunter. The eight sacks were the second-most ever against Newton.

“We have a great team — the best team I have been a part of,” said Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, who had three sacks. “We come from every area on the field and we get sacks.”

Said Newton: “They were dictating to us after they got the momentum.”

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Vikings at Panthers NFL Week Three Inactives

Vikings

WR Laquon Treadwell, RB Ronnie Hillman, LB Kentrell Brothers, C Nick Easton, DT Sharrif Floyd and TE MyCole Pruitt.

Panthers

G Tyler Larsen, CB Teddy Williams, DE Ryan Delaire, WR Damiere Byrd, WR Brenton Bersin, LB Jeremy Cash, RB Jonathan Stewart

Vikings Place RB Adrian Peterson on Injured Reserve

Adrian Peterson

Friday the Vikings placed Adrian Peterson on injured reserve, meaning the running back will officially be out until at least mid-November, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com reports.

Peterson had surgery Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee after he was injured in the third quarter of the Vikings’ 17-14 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.

Recovery from a torn meniscus typically takes three to four months, meaning Peterson could miss all or most of the Vikings’ remaining 14 games. The team can bring one player back off injured reserve after a minimum of eight weeks, and the NFL no longer requires clubs to designate a player for return upon placing him on IR.

Can The Minnesota Vikings Win The NFC North?

Although you wouldn’t know it by looking at the Minnesota Vikings’ first few games of the season, they’re in a precarious situation.

Minnesota Vikings Predictions : Minnesota Vikings Picks

First franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with a non-contact injury before the campaign even kicked off. He suffered a dislocated left knee and full ACL tear, underwent surgery and will be out until at least the start of next season. The Vikings acted swiftly, trading a 2017 first-round pick and 2018 fourth-round choice for quarterback Sam Bradford, who had fallen out of favor with the Philadelphia Eagles.

It’s a lot to pay for what could amount to a one-to-two season rental, depending on how long it takes for Bridgewater to get right. But the Vikings’ decision sent a clear message to the rest of the league: They aren’t folding on this season. They are still trying to win now.

And win they have, opening the 2016 crusade with a pair of victories over the Tennessee Titans and, most impressively, division rival and Super Bowl contender Green Bay Packers.

Still, those wins did not come without their losses. Adrian Peterson suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee, and his status for the rest of the season is uncertain. The Vikings have two solid and experienced backups with Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata, along with a top offensive line, but losing Peterson for any amount of time, let alone most of the year, comes as a crushing blow to an offense that currently ranks in the bottom five of passing attempts.

Minnesota Vikings Predictions : Minnesota Vikings Picks

So much of Minnesota’s livelihood is predicated on offensive ball control. Take away the running game, and that becomes exponentially harder to do. Bradford has shown he can air it out with frequency in the past, but volume-passing doesn’t burn time off the clock and control the pace of the game unless you have a top-notch quarterback under center. Though Bradford has received a bad wrap on many fronts, it’s impossible to put him in the upper echelon of the NFL’s flamethrowers.

And yet, the Vikings, following their victory over the Packers, have a firm hold on the NFC North division. Indeed, it’s still early but the Vikings defense is limiting offenses in every facet of the game: completions, passing touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and yards per play, irrespective of what type. That same defense is also forcing a ton of turnovers, which is a boon for even the most lowly offenses.

None of which is to say the Vikings have morphed into a Super Bowl favorite without Bridgewater. To the contrary, their odds are slotted at +1600, exactly double that of the Packers (+800). That says a lot about the shaky offensive foundation. The odds could improve if Peterson keeps playing, but a torn meniscus is no joke for a running back. At best, with him in the fold, their chances won’t move; at worst, they could plummet.

But, as previously stated, the Vikings are in position to secure their second straight division title. That’s huge. You have to figure the Packers’ offense will get better as the season goes on, but Aaron Rodgers has basically been struggling for an entire season now, and not one of his studly receivers—Jordy Nelson, DaVante Adams, Randall Cobb—is pulling his own weight at the moment.

If the Vikings can continue to create separation earlier in the season, they’ll be sitting pretty. And there’s no team on the upcoming schedule that suggests they can’t continue to soldier on at this pace.

Tough upcoming tilts against the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants await, but neither of these squads is unbeatable. Both have built rosters around their offense, and the Vikings’ defense is more than equipped to combat their points-piling depth.

Minnesota Vikings Predictions : Minnesota Vikings Picks

Things get more promising after the Vikings’ buy week (Week 6). They come out of the break to face the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins. Only the Eagles have looked good out of this group thus far, and it’s unrealistic to expect them to maintain their current success with rookie quarterback, Carson Wentz, at the helm.

From there, following a difficult matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota plays against the Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Packers and Bears. That Packers meetup, in Green Bay, is the lone scary outing of the bunch.

Worst-case scenario has the Vikings playing three games where they’re heavy underdogs. That’s a great place to be if you’re dealing with injuries at two key offensive positions. There is ostensibly nothing stopping this team from winning between 10 and 12 games—not even said injuries. The Vikings, in turn, remain a solid Super Bowl dark horse and most certainly a team to watch throughout the season.

Have a look at who the Vikings play next, scan their schedule, find out the best betting lines for every game and heed some tips on how to make more money from your Minnesota bets.

Vikings Ink Former Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman

ronnie-hillman

The Vikings signed running back Ronnie Hillman Wednesday to help a team that lost Adrian Peterson for perhaps the entire season, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reports.

“I’ve been in the league five years, and I’ve seen a lot of stuff,” Hillman said. “I just came out here to help the team win and try to go to the Super Bowl.”

Jerick McKinnon will start at running back in Sunday’s game at Carolina, according to coach Mike Zimmer said, who also admitted he’s not familiar with Hillman.

“I don’t know anything about him other than he signed today,” Zimmer said. “We played him last year. I have no idea.”

Zimmer said he didn’t sign Hillman because of that long run against the Vikings a year ago.

“I mean the scouts looked at it,” Zimmer said. “I honestly didn’t have a lot of time to do a lot of running back evaluations yesterday.”

Hillman lost his roster spot with the Broncos to rookie Devontae Booker, a fourth-round draft pick.

He reportedly worked out for the San Diego Chargers before signing with the Vikings on Wednesday.

“I was going to get an opportunity somewhere,” Hillman said. “It was just a matter of where and when.”

Vikings vs Panthers NFL Week Three Capsule

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (2-0) AT CAROLINA PANTHERS (1-1)

REGULAR SEASON SERIES

  VIKINGS PANTHERS
SERIES LEADER 7-5  
STREAKS 4 of past 6  
COACHES VS. OPP. Mike Zimmer: 1-0 Ron Rivera: 1-2
LAST WEEK W 17-14 vs. Green Bay W 46-27 vs. San Francisco
LAST GAME 11/30/14: Panthers 13 at Vikings 31. Minnesota QB Teddy Bridgewater throws 2 TD passes. Vikings return 2 blocked punts for TDs.
LAST GAME AT SITE 10/30/11: Vikings 24, Panthers 21. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson rushes for 83 yards with TD & adds 76 rec. yards with TD. Vikings DE Jared Allen has FF & sack.
REFEREE Jerome Boger
BROADCAST FOX (1:00 PM ET): Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 136 (Min), 83 (Car). XM: 384 (Min), 226 (Car).

STATS

PASSING Sam Bradford: 22-31-286-2-0-121.2 (2L) Cam Newton: 42-73-547-5 (T2L)-2-92.7
RUSHING Adrian Peterson: 31-50-1.6-0 Fozzy Whittaker: 19-113-5.9-0
RECEIVING Stefon Diggs: 16 (2L)-285 (1L)-17.8-1 Kelvin Benjamin: 13-199-15.3-3 (T1L)
OFFENSE 292.5 431.0 (2L)
TAKE/GIVE +5 (2L) +1
DEFENSE 289.5 (3L) 304.5
SACKS Danielle Hunter, Linval Joseph: 2 4 tied: 1
INTs Eric Kendricks, Trae Waynes: 1 4 tied: 1
PUNTING Jeff Locke: 38.6 Andy Lee: 53.6 (1L)
KICKING Blair Walsh: 18 (3/4 PAT; 5/7 FG) Graham Gano: 24 (1L) (6/7 PAT; 6/7 FG)

NOTES

VIKINGS: QB SAM BRADFORD passed for 286 yards & 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 121.2 rating in 1st Min start in Week 2…RB ADRIAN PETERSON has 3 TDs (2 rush, 1 rec.) in 2 career games at Car…WR STEFON DIGGS had 9 receptions for 182 yards & TD last week. Has 285 rec. yards in 2016, 2nd-most through 1st 2 games of season in Min history (GENE WASHINGTON, 324 yards in 1969). TE KYLE RUDOLPH has TD catch in past 2 vs. Car. Had TD in Week 2…DE EVERSON GRIFFEN had 2 sacks in last meeting. Had sack & FF last week. DE DANIELLE HUNTER had sack & FF in Week 2. Has 5.5 sacks in past 6. CB TRAE WAYNES had 1st career INT in Week 2. S ANDREW SENDEJO led team with 11 tackles last week. Has 10+ tackles in 2 of past 3. S HARRISON SMITH had 8 tackles & sack in last meeting…PANTHERS: QB CAM NEWTON passed for 353 yards & 4 TDs last week. Has 32 career games with both pass TD & rush TD, most in NFL history. Has 20 TDs (17 pass, 3 rush) in past 5 at home…RB FOZZY WHITTAKER had career-high 100 rush yards in Week 2…WR KELVIN BENJAMIN had 7 catches for 108 yards & 2 TDs last week. Has 100+ rec. yards in 3 of his past 4 at home. WR COREY BROWN had rec. TD in last meeting. WR DEVIN FUNCHESS has 4 rec. TDs in past 5 at home. Had TD Catch in Week 2. TE GREG OLSEN had 5 receptions for 122 yards last week, incl. 78-yard TD. Has 6 rec. TDs in past 8 at home…DE CHARLES JOHNSON had FF & sack in last meeting. Had FF in Week 2. LB LUKE KUECHLY had seven tackles & 2 sacks in last meeting. Since entering league in 2012, leads NFL in tackles (612). Had 11 tackles & INT last week. LB SHAQ THOMPSON had 9-yard FR-TD last week, 1st career TD. CB BENE BENWIKERE had FF in last meeting. CB JAMES BRADBERRY had 1st career INT last week.

Vikings Big Plays Pay Off in 25-16 Opening Day Win Over Titans

Minnesota Vikings v Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans made sure Adrian Peterson wouldn’t hurt them.

So the Minnesota defense took control.

Eric Kendricks returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter and Danielle Hunter scored a 24-yard TD off a fumble return and the Vikings beat Tennessee 25-16 in their season opener Sunday.

The Vikings forced three turnovers in the span of just under seven minutes and also had two sacks.

“The defense came through for us and made some big plays,” Peterson said. “They pretty much bailed us out today.”

The defending NFC North champs needed the help from their defense in scoring 25 straight points after being shut out in the first half with the NFL’s 2015 rushing leader smothered.

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Vikings vs Titans NFL Week One Capsule

MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT TENNESSEE TITANS

REGULAR SEASON SERIES

  VIKINGS TITANS
SERIES LEADER 8-4  
STREAKS 5 of past 6  
COACHES VS. OPP. Mike Zimmer: 0-0 Mike Mularkey: 0-1
LAST GAME 10/07/12: Titans 7 at Vikings 30. Minnesota QB Christian Ponder throws for 258 yards & 2 TDs. Vikings WR Percy Harvin has 108 receiving yards & scores 2 TDs (1 rec., 1 rush).
LAST GAME AT SITE 09/28/08: Titans 30, Vikings 17. Tennessee rushes for 3 TDs led by RBs Chris Johnson (2) & LenDale White (1). Titans’ defense forces 4 turnovers (3 FR, 1 INT) & records 4 sacks.
REFEREE Walt Coleman
BROADCAST FOX (1:00 PM ET): Dick Stockton, Chris Spielman, Krista Pink (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 136 (Min), 121 (Ten). XM: 226 (Min), 228 (Ten).

2015 STATS

PASSING Sam Bradford (Phi.): 346-532-3725-19-14-86.4 Marcus Mariota: 230-370-2818-19-10-91.5
RUSHING Adrian Peterson: 327-1485 (1L)-4.5-11 (T1L) DeMarco Murray (Phi.): 193-702-3.6-6
RECEIVING Stefon Diggs: 52-720-13.8-4 Delanie Walker (TE): 94-1088-11.6-6
OFFENSE 321.2 311.8
TAKE/GIVE +5 -14
DEFENSE 344.2 342.2
SACKS Everson Griffen: 10.5 Jurrell Casey, Brian Orakpo: 7
INTs Terence Newman: 3 4 tied: 1
PUNTING Jeff Locke: 41.6 Brett Kern: 47.4
KICKING Blair Walsh: 135 (33/37 PAT; 34/39 FG) Ryan Succop: 71 (29/31 PAT; 14/16 FG)

NOTES

VIKINGS: Won NFC North last season, 1st division title since 2009…QB SAM BRADFORD passed for career-high 3,725 yards with 19 TDs last year with Phi. Set single-season Eagles records for comp. (346) & comp. pct. (65.03)…RB ADRIAN PETERSON led NFL in rushing (1,485 yards) & tied for NFL lead with 11 rush TDs last year. Is 1 of 3 in NFL history (HOFers MARION MOTLEY & CURTIS MARTIN) to lead NFL in rushing at 30+ years old…WR STEFON DIGGS led NFC rookies with 720 rec. yards & ranked 2nd with 52 catches in 2015. KR-WR CORDARRELLE PATTERSON led NFL with 31.8 KR avg. & 2 KR-TDs last year. Since entering NFL in 2013, leads NFL with 30.1 KR avg. & 4 KR-TDs…DE EVERSON GRIFFEN reached 10+ sacks (10.5) for 2nd consecutive season in 2015. LB ERIC KENDRICKS led team with 92 tackles last year. LB ANTHONY BARR had 67 tackles last year & has 65+ tackles in each of 1st 2 NFL seasons. CB TERENCE NEWMAN (12) led club in PD & INT (3) in 2015, his most INT in season since 2011 (4 with Dal.)… TITANS: MIKE MULARKEY was named 18th head coach in team history in Jan…QB MARCUS MARIOTA had 4 games with 3+ TD passes in 2015, tying PEYTON MANNING for most by rookie. Became only rookie in NFL history to have 2 games with 4+ pass TDs & 0 INTs…RB DE MARCO MURRAY makes Ten. debut. Since 2013, leads all active players with 28 rush TDs & is 2nd with 3,668 rush yards. RB DERRICK HENRY was selected No. 45 overall in 2016 NFL Draft. Won 2015 Heisman Trophy at Alabama…TE DELANIE WALKER set franchise TE records with 94 catches & 1,088 rec. yards last year. WR ANDRE JOHNSON joins Ten. & is active leader in catches (1,053) and rec. yards (14,100). Averages 76.2 rec. yards per game, 4th best mark in NFL history (min. 100 games)…Since 2013, DT JURRELL CASEY has 22.5 sacks, 2nd most by NFL DT. LB BRIAN ORAKPO has 47 career sacks & needs 3 to reach 50. S RASHAD JOHNSON joins Ten. from Az. Is only player in NFL with 15+ INTs (15) & 3+ INT-TDs (3) since 2012 (incl. playoffs).

Report: Vikings QB Bridgewater to Have Surgery on Thursday

Teddy Bridgewater

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is scheduled to have surgery Thursday to repair the torn ACL and other structural damage in his left knee, Ed Werder of ESPN reports.

The Vikings at this time believe Bridgewater will eventually make a full recovery and resume his NFL career, a source said, but more will be known after the surgery is completed.

Bridgewater suffered the season-ending injury without contact in a Vikings’ practice last week.

Vikings Make Deal with Eagles for QB Sam Bradford for Two Picks

Sam Bradford

The Vikings may have lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater last week, but clearly they have not given up on the season, as today the team found a new starting quarterback in former Rams and Eagles QB Sam Bradford.

Here’s the breakdown for the deal according to Adam Caplan.

In return, the Eagles will receive the Vikings’ first-round draft pick in 2017 as well as a conditional fourth-rounder in 2018.

Bradford re-signed with the Eagles in March to a two-year, $35 million deal with $22 million fully guaranteed.

The Eagles would be responsible for Bradford’s $11 million signing bonus. ProFootballTalk.com reported earlier this year that $5.5 million of the $11 million signing bonus was due March 18 and the rest of the bonus was due on or before Sept. 1. The rest of his contract — $20 million in base salaries and $4 million March 2017 roster bonus — would go to the Vikings.

Bradford was not a good fit for the Eagles, but hopefully due to his experience with Vikings tight ends coach Pat Shurmer, who was his OC in Philly, it will help with the transition to the Vikings offense.

There’s also this to ponder when it comes to the 2017 season.

No matter how you look at it, Bradford is the best QB as it stands today on the Vikings roster, and he will be their starter moving forward.