PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus — There was nothing great here, but it was a major improvement for Brett Favre, who didn't throw an interception or have a turnover. It was only the second game this season in which Favre did not throw a pick. Favre completed 15 of 23 passes for 172 yards and had an 87.6 passer rating. That came after he posted back-to-back passer ratings of 44.5 and 51.2 in losses to Chicago and Green Bay. Favre had four interceptions in those two games, including three against the Bears. WR Percy Harvin's five catches led the Vikings, and TE Visanthe Shiancoe's 54 yards receiving were a team high. With offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell calling the plays and Brad Childress gone as coach, Favre was allowed to roll out more than he had been.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B — Adrian Peterson got off to a solid start, gaining 36 yards on six carries, but he suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter and was unable to continue. The Vikings, though, did not abandon the run. Rookie Toby Gerhart assumed the role as the lead running back, and he ran 22 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings accumulated 137 yards on the ground on a season-high 38 attempts in part because the offensive line had one of its better games, despite the fact Ryan Cook started in place of the injured Anthony Herrera at right guard. The Vikings also had the luxury of running the ball after taking a 14-7 lead in the third quarter.
PASS DEFENSE: C-plus — The Vikings rebounded from a brutal performance against Green Bay a week earlier to surrender 211 passing yards to Washington's Donovan McNabb. The Vikings got enough pressure on McNabb to sack him four times, and TE Chris Cooley had four of his five catches in the first half as the Minnesota defense gave up only two field goals in the second half. Asher Allen got the start at the right corner, and veterans Lito Sheppard and Frank Walker split time in the nickel package at left corner when Antoine Winfield would slide inside. Rookie Chris Cook (knee) did not play after struggling and being benched against Green Bay.
RUSH DEFENSE: A — The Redskins were without Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain, making life much easier on the Vikings, but the defense still was stout against the run. Washington had only 29 yards on 13 carries — by comparison McNabb threw 35 passes — and James Davis finished with a team-leading 11 yards on six carries. The 29 yards were the fewest the Vikings' run defense has given up this season. DT Kevin Williams was credited with only three tackles, but he caused havoc inside for much of the day and had one of his better games of the season.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B — The Vikings got a huge break here or else this grade would have been much lower. With Minnesota leading 17-13 in the fourth quarter, the Redskins' Brandon Banks returned a Chris Kluwe punt for what appeared to be a 77-yard touchdown. However, Washington's Perry Riley was called for an illegal block in the back against the Vikings' Everson Griffen that negated the touchdown. The Redskins then went three-and-out. Ryan Longwell made a 31-yard field goal, and Kluwe averaged 43.7 yards gross and 40.9 net on seven punts.
COACHING: B — Leslie Frazier did an outstanding job in his first game as interim coach, and much of the work was done before the Vikings ever took the field. Frazier's philosophy once he was named the interim coach the previous Monday was to have his team put all of its focus on the Redskins. Distractions that had been so rampant around the Vikings this season were put in the rearview mirror. That approach seemed to work, and players also appeared much more relaxed with Frazier at the helm instead of Brad Childress. Fred Pagac, who doesn't have the coordinator title but has replaced Frazier as the guy making the defensive calls, did dial up more blitzes than Frazier had when he was defensive coordinator.
Grading the game: Redskins
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