Grading the game: Rams

The Vikings were good to average in many phases of the game, but that was easily good enough against a self-destructing St. Louis Rams team. We take a unit-by-unit approach to the report card.

PASSING OFFENSE: B — Brett Favre did not perform his heroics of the past two weeks, but then again he didn't have to going up against the dreadful Rams. Favre threw for 232 yards, completing 18 of 24 passes with one touchdown, one interception and a very respectable 101.4 passer rating. It marked the third time in five starts that Favre has had a rating of better than 100. Favre continues to develop chemistry with his wide receivers and completed passes to eight different receivers on Sunday, including one to himself for a 2-yard loss. Percy Harvin and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe both had four receptions with the latter catching the only touchdown pass of the day. Favre was extremely sharp early in the game, completing four of five passes on the Vikings' opening drive. That drive ended with Adrian Peterson's 5-yard touchdown run.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C — This has become a familiar story for the Vikings and they probably don't mind one bit. With Favre able to make teams pay for putting an emphasis on stopping the run, the Vikings have turned into a more balanced offense. That means that Adrian Peterson isn't putting up the type of numbers that many had become accustomed to seeing in his first two seasons in the league. Peterson rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries, a very respectable 4.6-yard average, and two touchdowns on Sunday. The 15 attempts tied Peterson's season low and his yardage total was his second-lowest of the year in five games. Meanwhile, Chester Taylor had a season-high nine carries for 20 yards and a touchdown. His workload increased in part because the Vikings had a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter.

PASS DEFENSE: C — Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier had made it clear in the past that he's willing to sacrifice yardage totals as long as it means those yards come in short chunks and not on big gains. That being said, Frazier would probably like to see the Vikings avoid giving up passing yardage like they have the past two weeks. After Aaron Rodgers passed for 384 yards last Monday, the Rams' Kyle Boller and Marc Bulger combined to pass for 297 yards (27 of 38) on Sunday against the Vikings. The Rams' longest pass play went for 35 yards and St. Louis did not get a touchdown in the air until the fourth quarter when the Vikings held a comfortable lead. In fact, backup left cornerback Karl Paymah was in for Antoine Winfield when Donnie Avery caught the scoring toss from Bulger.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus — The Rams became the second team this season to go over 100 yards on the ground against the Vikings. Steven Jackson rushed for 84 yards on 21 carries but was held to a long of 15 yards with no touchdowns. St. Louis had 73 of its 122 yards rushing in the opening half. While Pro Bowl defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams continue to anchor the middle of the line for the Vikings, they do rotate Fred Evans and Jimmy Kennedy into the middle at times and also use defensive end Brian Robison in the middle in nickel situations.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B — The Vikings were solid with punter Chris Kluwe having a second consecutive strong performance. Kluwe had only two punts but both were inside the 20-yard line. He had a gross average of 51.5 yards and a net average of 48.5 yards. Kluwe has been asked this season to increase his hang time and not worry as much about distance so his coverage units will have more time to get in place and so far it seems to be working. Kicker Ryan Longwell also is having success with moving his kickoffs around in an attempt to keep return men guessing about where the ball will end up. Longwell was successful on his only field-goal attempt Sunday, making one from 47 yards.

COACHING: B — The most important bit of coaching Brad Childress did came before the Vikings ever took the field against the Rams. Childress reminded his team on Saturday night that it's most important game wasn't the previous one — an emotional victory over the Green Bay Packers — or the upcoming game against the much tougher Baltimore Ravens. In doing so, Childress was able to keep his team focused on playing against an awful Rams team. The blowout also enabled to get Brett Favre and several regulars out in the fourth quarter to get them some rest.


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