Notebook: Not perfect, but getting better

The Vikings returned from the bye week looking to win their first game and maintain the same approach as they used to dig themselves out of an early-season hole last year. One game in, so far so good. Plus, get dozens of game-day notes that help tell the tale of the 28-21 win.

The Vikings have yet to have what every team strives for – a perfect game. The offense has been electric at times, but typically it has been accompanied by problems on defense. When the defense has been playing lights-out, the offense has sputtered. The special teams have been a headache all season long.

While Sunday's 28-21 win over the Houston Texans got the Vikings to .500 at the midway point of the season, the team came as close as it has to living up to the expectations coming into the season. The offense produced four touchdown drives. The defense created three turnovers and the special teams allowed Houston minus-1 yard on punt returns. It wasn't perfect, but it was close.

The players came back from the bye understanding they needed to have the kind of streak that propelled them in the second half of last season - a process they said came from taking opponents one game at a time and not trying to look at the bigger picture.

"We came back from the bye with a new attitude," said linebacker Ben Leber, who had a fumble recovery in the second half. "Everyone has bought into the ‘one game at a time' philosophy. That's what we focused on this week – just beating the Houston Texans. We didn't look down the road and we came out of it 1-0. Hopefully we can do the same next week and come out 1-0 again."

While it might sound like the same tired mantra coaches have spewed for decades, the Vikings are taking it seriously and, on Sunday anyway, it worked out well.

"You look at every team that is in our position and that is how they're going to view (each game)," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "It sounds cliché because it's right. I think its how everyone is going to handle the second half of the season. We're no different. We won one, but that doesn't mean anything if you don't win the next one."

While far from a perfect performance, the Vikings will take it because, in the end, the offense, defense and special teams all did their part to win the game.

"The coaches tell us that we have to play a complete game," safety Darren Sharper said. "Today was close, but we could do better. We're getting there. Next week (against Green Bay) would be the perfect time to have a complete game."


  • Adrian Peterson became just the second Viking to have more than 800 yards rushing at the midway point of a season in team history. The other guy? Also Peterson, who had 1,036 yards at the halfway mark of the 2007 season.

  • With his seventh sack of the season in the final minute of Sunday's game, Kevin Williams moved past Henry Thomas into fourth place all-time among Vikings defensive tackles with 41 career sacks. He trails only John Randle (58.5), Alan Page (54) and Keith Millard (53) on the all-time list.

  • The last time the Vikings had a 100-yard rusher and receiver twice in the same season prior to Sunday was in 2002, when Randy Moss and Michael Bennett turned the trick.

  • The Vikings are 3-0 in games in which Bernard Berrian has 100 yards or more receiving and 1-4 in the games he has had less than 100 yards.

  • The Texans quarterbacks combined to complete 32 of 45 passes for 363 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. Gus Frerotte completed 11 of 18 passes for 182 yards, but had three touchdown passes and one pick.

  • The Vikings dominated the rushing aspect of Sunday's game. Led by Peterson's 139 yards rushing, the Vikings had 35 carries for 177 yards (a 5.1-yard average). The Texans had 16 carries for 62 yards (a 3.9 average) – all by rookie Steve Slaton.

  • It was clear that Owen Daniels was the favorite target of Sage Rosenfels. Daniels finished the game with 11 catches for 133 yards – with eight catches and 101 yards coming in the second half, when Rosenfels was substituted in for starter Matt Schaub.

  • Sidney Rice has only four catches on the season, but two of them have gone for touchdowns.

  • Andre Johnson saw his chance at a pair of NFL records go by the boards Sunday. Last week he tied two league records with three straight games with 10 or more receptions and four straight games with 130 or more yards. Sunday he had four catches for 62 yards and a TD.

  • The Vikings have three players with four or more touchdowns and all of them scored Sunday – A.D. leads the team with six and Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe have four each.

  • Coming into Sunday's game, the Vikings were allowing opponents 18 yards per punt return. Thanks to kicking two punts out of bounds and having two others returned for minus-1 yard, that average dropped by a yard-and-a-half to 16.5.

  • With his two sacks Sunday, Jared Allen tied Kevin Williams for the team lead in sacks with seven. The last time the Vikings had two players with double-digit sacks was in 2004, when Williams had 11.5 sacks and Lance Johnstone had 11.

  • Allen had his shoulder packed in ice after the game, but said he doesn't believe the injury is serious.

  • In their first seven games, the Vikings had a total of just four interceptions. They added two to that total Sunday with Antoine Winfield and Madieu Williams each recording a pick.

  • Of his six punts, Chris Kluwe pinned the Texans inside their own 20-yard line four times.

  • The Vikings did a good job of containing DE Mario Williams, who had just three tackles and one sack Sunday, with the sack coming when he was shifted from the left side of the Vikings offense to the right side.

  • Ray Edwards had a very solid game, recording nine tackles (six solo) to tie for the team lead with Greenway. Edwards also had a tackle-for-loss, two quarterback hurries, a pass defensed and a sack.

  • Madieu Williams became the eighth Viking to have an interception in his first game. Of the other seven, four came in the franchise's first game in 1961 – Charlie Sumner, Jack Morris, Dick Grecni and Clancy Osborn. The other three were Wyman Henderson (1987), Willie Offord (2002) and Darren Sharper (2005).

  • Williams made his presence felt with eight solo tackles Sunday.

  • Early in the third quarter, Peterson had a gain that gave him 2,071 yards for his first two seasons, surpassing the old team record of 2,060 yards in his first two seasons by Chester Taylor.

  • The Vikings held all the advantages at halftime – both on the scoreboard and on the stat sheet. The Vikings had 200 yards of total offense (60 rushing, 140 passing), while the Texans had 152 yards (33 rushing, 119 passing). Houston came in with one of the league's top offenses at converting third downs, while the Vikings were among the league's worst. In the first half, the Texans made good on three of six third-down opportunities, but the Vikings cashed in on five of nine opportunities (a 56 percent conversion rate).

  • Individually, Frerotte completed 8 of 12 passes for 148 yards with two TDs and an interception for a passer rating of 113.9 in the first half. Peterson had 15 rushes for just 36 yards and Chester Taylor had four carries for 22 yards. Bobby Wade caught three passes to lead the team, but Berrian's two catches for 104 yards were the big difference.

  • Matt Schaub, who didn't play in the second half due to a knee injury, completed 11 of 16 passes for 139 yards with no TDs and an interception. Slaton had seven carries for 33 yards and led the team with five receptions for 44 yards. Johnson had just one catch for four yards in the first half.

  • Schaub was injured in the first quarter, but continued to play with a noticeable limp the remainder of the first half.

  • Johnson didn't have his first catch until less than six minutes remained in the first half.

  • Berrian's 49-yard touchdown gave him a TD in four straight games – a first for his career. He had two catches at that point for 104 yards – the third time in four games that he has topped 100 yards.

  • Antoine Winfield's second-quarter interception was his 14th pick as a Viking and his 21st takeaway. The 21 takeaways ties him for sixth on the team's all-time list with former Vikings CB Audray McMillian.

  • Despite being tied 7-7 after the first quarter, the Vikings dominated the stat sheet. The Vikings held the ball for 9:59 of the quarter, outgaining the Texans 108-26. The Vikings had 78 yards passing and 30 yards rushing, while the Texans had just 14 yards passing and 12 yards rushing.

  • Individually, Frerotte completed four of seven passes for 78 yards with an interception in the first quarter. Peterson rushed nine times for 27 yards and Berrian had one reception for 55 yards. Schaub completed passes for just 15 yards, Daniels had two receptions for 15 yards and Slaton ran three times for 12 yards.

  • In the first quarter, Chad Greenway narrowly missed his second sack of the year. With the Texans pinned deep in their own end, Greenway came on a blitz to sack Schaub near the end zone. But the play had been ruled dead on a delay of game penalty that negated the sack. He would get his sack in the second quarter, however, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Ben Leber.

  • Ray Edwards made his presence felt in the first quarter with a sack and batted down a pass. Both plays helped kill Texans drives early.

  • The fans gave the special teams a thundering ovation on the Vikings' first punt, which was covered on the Houston 11-yard line. The Vikings defense would force a three-and-out on the ensuing drive.

  • It took the Vikings just two minutes and 12 seconds to get the first score of the game. Gus Frerotte launched a bomb to Bernard Berrian for 55 yards on the first play of the game and, from there, Adrian Peterson ran three times for 11 yards – the last being a 1-yard dive over the top to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead with 12:48 to play in the first quarter.

  • The play to Berrian was planned to be a big-hitter that worked to perfection. "We came in wanting to take a big shot," Frerotte said. "They gave us the look we wanted and Bernard was able to make a big play."

  • The Vikings won the opening toss, but, unlike the last two times they won the toss, they took the ball to start the game rather than defer to the Texans.

  • Among the inactives Sunday was WR Robert Ferguson. Given Sidney Rice's on-again, off-again ability to play, it seemed curious that Ferguson would be a healthy scratch. Among the other inactives were Garrett Mills, Marcus McCauley, Otis Grigsby and David Herron.

  • Former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders was in attendance at Sunday's game.
    The Texans' inactives included WR Andre Davis, RB Ahman Green, TE Mark Bruener and LB N.D. Kalu.

  • Former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders was in attendance at Sunday's game.

  • Former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders was in attendance at Sunday's game.
    The attendance was announced at 62,839 – the 110th straight sellout at the Metrodome.

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