Whenever a team plays on the road in the NFL, getting off to a fast start is emphasized to take the crowd out of it. With the game tied 7-7 with 12:39 remaining in the first half, the Vikings used all three phases of their game to blow it open – creating a back-breaking four-minute turning point of the game.
After scoring on their first possession, the Vikings held a 7-0 lead as the game went to the second quarter, but the crowd at the Edward Jones Dome was in full throat following a 73-yard drive that culminated with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to Brian Quick to tie the game at 7-7 with 12:39 to play in the first half with momentum clearly on the side of the Rams.
It wouldn't take long for that to change.
Starting from their own 18-yard line, the Vikings weren't about to go away from Adrian Peterson despite him rushing for just eight yards on eight carries in the first half. He got the handoff on first down and followed fullback Jerome Felton straight up the middle through a big hole. When he bounced the run to his left, he split the seam between two defenders and, with eight Rams in the box at the snap, he was off to the races.
Peterson was untouched the rest of the way, tying his career long with an 82-yard touchdown run, giving the Vikings a 14-7 lead just 18 seconds after the Rams had tied the game. The Vikings' momentum would continue on the next series, as the Rams offense made matters worse for itself.
Faced with a third-and-2 on his own 28-yard line, QB Sam Bradford fumbled the snap and Kevin Williams fell on the ball to give the Vikings possession in scoring position. The Vikings wouldn't take full advantage of the turnover, but the team was close enough for rookie kicker Blair Walsh to bomb a 50-yard field goal with room to spare to give them a 17-7 lead and silence the fans in the dome.
With the panic button being pushed, Bradford was faced with a third-and-9 from his own 21-yard line following the field goal. As he looked over the middle, defensive end Everson Griffen, who dropped into coverage and wasn't seen by Bradford, made a leaping interception at the 30-yard line and raced into the end zone for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 24-7 lead with 8:25 to play in the half.
The Vikings came into Sunday's game knowing that, if they lost to the Rams, their season would, for all intents, be over. When St. Louis tied the game at 7-7 with 12:39 to play in the half, it appeared as though all the early momentum Minnesota had built had vanished. But, thanks to big plays from the offense, the defense and the special teams, the Vikings scored 17 points in four minutes to blow the game open and create a season-saving turning point.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Turning point: Season-saving fast 4 minutes
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