Vikings coach Leslie Frazier didn't want to hear about playing for draft position. Plus, get more than a dozen notes that help tell the tale of a wild game.
Thanks to a St. Louis Rams
loss Saturday, the Vikings are now third in the draft order. Both the Indianapolis Colts
and the Rams are 2-13 and the Vikings appear close to being locked into the third pick in the coming draft.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said the thought of playing for draft position never entered his mind in recent weeks.
"I want to win. I want to win and then I want to win next week," Frazier said. "(Draft position) never enters my mind. Win. We came here with one purpose and that was to win this game. We're going to line up next week with one purpose and that's to go out with a home win – pure and simple."
With the win, the Vikings are assured of not having the worst record in franchise history, but still need another win to assure not tying the hideous 1984 team's mark of 3-13.
The win marginalized one of the worst special-teams performances of the year for the Vikings. After taking a 10-0 lead, Ryan Longwell's kickoff went out of bounds and the Redskins used the short field to engineer a TD drive that cut the lead to 10-7.
After Longwell missed a 49-yard field goal, it gave the Redskins field position to quickly get in scoring range and tie the game before halftime.
After the Vikings took a 17-13 lead in the third quarter, the special teams allowed Brandon Banks to return a short kickoff all the way to the Vikings 43-yard line, which led to another touchdown.
Longwell then pushed an extra point wide right that could have been costly, turning what should have been a four-point lead into a three-point lead.
After the game, punter Chris Kluwe tweeted that the field conditions between the hash marks were among the worst he has seen.
Jared Allen retook the league lead in sacks with a sack Saturday that gives him 18.5 for the season. He passed Philadelphia's Jason Babin, who was playing in the late afternoon games.
Longtime Viking trainer and team patriarch Fred Zamberletti, who had never missed a game in the 51-year history of the Vikings, did not attend Saturday's game due to illness – snapping a streak that may never be matched in the annals of professional football.
Heading into Sunday's game, it was thought the RB matchup to watch would be Peterson and Washington's Roy Helu. But Helu was deactivated prior to the game and Peterson went down on the first play of the third quarter. Instead, it was Gerhart, who set a career best with 109 yards and Washington's fourth running back, Evan Royster, who ran 19 times for 132 yards.
Saturday's performance was the third time in the last four games that Gerhart has rushed for 90 or more yards.
The biggest play of the game may have come in the fourth quarter on a play that won't show up on the stat sheet. The Redskins called a reverse to Banks, who raced 59 yards for a touchdown that would have tied the game 30-30. Instead, a holding call brought the play back. On the next play, safety Mistral Raymond had an interception.
Raymond's interception snapped a 10-game streak without a pick, the longest such drought in 61 years in the NFL.
Rex Grossman threw an interception in his 11th straight game, tying a Redskins franchise record held by journeyman and one-time Viking Norm Snead.
Peterson had 970 yards on the season before his injury, which will break his record of consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards and leave him 64 yards short of the franchise career record held by Robert Smith.
Gerhart became the third Viking to post a 100-yard rushing day this season, joining Peterson (who did it three times) and Webb, who did it once.
With five catches for 65 yards Saturday, Harvin increased his career-best single-season total in receptions (77), tied his career high for receiving touchdowns (six) and is just 19 yards shy of his career high for receiving yards (871).
Harvin has more than twice as many receptions as any other Viking this season. Injured Michael Jenkins is still second with 38 and Visanthe Shiancoe, who didn't have a catch Saturday, is third with 36.
The Vikings linebackers were extremely active Sunday. Chad Greenway was in on 16 tackles and E.J. Henderson had 15, including 11 solo tackles.
The NFL's leading tackler, Washington's ageless wonder London Fletcher, was at it again Saturday, notching 17 tackles.
When the Vikings were trying to force the Redskins to call timeouts late, they burned just 12 seconds off the clock – a virtual impossibility given that all three plays were running plays that usually take time to stop and call a timeout.
At one point, Washington scored on five straight offensive drives and, in the second half, the teams combined to score on six straight drives.
The Vikings held the ball for 10:32 of the game's first 15 minutes, despite not getting the opening kickoff. They held the ball for a total of 19:02 in the game's final 45 minutes.
Earlier in the week, it was expected that the weather could be ugly, with snow/rain showers projected. Instead, it was 43 degrees and sunny.
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.