Jerome Simpson has already surpassed what he did last season for the Vikings, becoming a favorite target of Matt Cassel on Sunday. Plus, get two dozen notes that help tell the story of the Vikings' 34-27 win.
In four games, Jerome Simpson
has already surpassed his output from all of last season, one that started with a suspension and quickly went downhill with a lingering nerve injury.
On Sunday, during the Minnesota Vikings
' 34-27 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers
, Simpson was by far the favorite receiver for starting QB Matt Cassel
. Of Cassel's 25 passes, 11 of them were thrown in Simpson's direction.
He caught seven of them for 124 yards, his second 100-yard receiving game of the season.
Simpson leads the Vikings with 19 catches and 342 yards. All of last season, Simpson had only 26 receptions for 274 yards.
Simpson went over 100 yards receiving and Adrian Peterson
went over 100 yards rushing on the same drive in the third quarter, and Simpson added one of the biggest plays of the game when he recovered a Cassel fumble for an 11-yard gain, which helped the Vikings finish the game without a turnover.
GAME DAY NOTES
Greg Jennings had his most explosive day as a Viking. He caught just three passes, but they went for 92 yards and he scored his first career touchdowns (two of them) as a member of a team other than the Packers.
Adrian Peterson had a season-best 140 rushing yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns. It gives him 421 rushing yards, increasing his projected season pace to 1,684 yards.
Peterson also has six touchdowns on the season after rushing for two more Sunday, putting him on pace to score 24 touchdowns.
The Steelers effectively abandoned the run in the second half. Their three running backs (Le'Veon Bell, Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones) combined to carry the ball 20 times for just 67 yards.
Because of the lack of a running game, Ben Roethlisberger had to throw 51 times. He completed 36 of them for 383 yards and his aerial assault included 12 catches for Antonio Brown for 88 yards, five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown for Jerricho Cotchery, and six passes for 70 yards to Heath Miller.
Chad Greenway recorded a critical interception in the third quarter that helped give the Vikings a 17-point lead. He is one of three players with two interceptions, along with Erin Henderson and Harrison Smith. In 16 games last year, the Vikings defense had just 10 interceptions. They have seven through four games this season.
The Steelers outgained the Vikings 434 yards to 393, but they did it on 77 offensive plays, as opposed to just 51 for the Vikings.
In their first three games, the Vikings had just four sacks. They got to Roethlisberger five times, including 2.5 sacks for Jared Allen and a shared sack that was the first of rookie Sharrif Floyd's career.
The Steelers haven't created a turnover all season, making them the only team without a takeaway in the league.
The Steelers got in the Vikings' red zone six times, but came away with just three touchdowns. The Vikings got in the red zone three times and scored twice.
Pittsburgh dominated in time of possession, holding the ball for 36:27, including a huge edge in the first half. The Steelers had the ball for 20:32 of the game's first 30 minutes, but trailed 20-10 at halftime.
Blair Walsh continued one streak and saw another one end. He made a 54-yard field goal in the first half, improving his career mark to 12-for-12 on field goals of 50 yards or more. But he missed a field goal in the second half, ending a streak of 19 straight field goals made dating back to last season.
The Steelers got a scare in the fourth quarter when Roethlisberger had his hand hit by Everson Griffen in the fourth quarter. Griffen would end up bringing down Roethlisberger in the final seconds and forced a fumble that was recovered by Kevin Williams to ice the game.
The Vikings continually won the battle of field position. Of their 12 drives during the game, the Steelers started on their own 20, 25, 45, 23, 14, 20, 20, 16, 23, 35 and 22-yard lines.
The last time the Steelers started 0-4 was in 1968.
For the first time all season, the Vikings lost the battle of penalties, committing five. The worst of them was a 48-yard pass interference penalty on Josh Robinson that resulted in a Steelers touchdown after the ball was placed on the 1-yard line.
The Vikings outgained the Steelers 212-193 in the first half despite having the ball for just 9:28 of the half.
Peterson was steadier in the second half. In the first half he had nine carries for 84 yards, but 60 of those came on one touchdown burst. In the second half, he had 14 carries for 56 yards, but most of them were positive yardage to give the Vikings good down-and-distance situations.
Steelers offensive lineman Ramon Foster went out with a shoulder injury in the second quarter and didn't return.
The Vikings have led in the second half in all four of their games, but their 17-point lead in the third quarter was their first double-digit lead of the season.
The Vikings have scored on their first offensive possession of each game this season – with three touchdowns (including a kickoff return for a score at Chicago) and a field goal Sunday.
It was a chilly night in London with a game time temperature of 54 degrees that fell throughout the game in the Vikings' rare outdoor "home" game.
The Steelers got some bad news Sunday, as it was announced that Steelers defensive great L.C. Greenwood passed away this morning at the age of 67.
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.