It seems the Minnesota Vikings remembered what happened the last time they visited the Bay Area, and were determined not to let their past discretions repeat themselves.
The Oakland Raiders have been trending up — a fast tempo offense has gotten them ahead early in games this season. That offense has covered ground for what at this point could be considered a low tempo defense. This time, the roles were reversed, and the Vikings had the Raiders treading for water, early.
Minnesota’s offense scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game. Overall, their offense recorded the first 13 points of the contest. They also received plenty of help from their special teams unit, which recorded half of the Vikings’ points on the board — Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kick 93 yards for a score. Running back Adrian Peterson — who was effectively shut down in Week 1 against the 49ers with a forgettable 31-yard rushing performance — finished the game with 203 rushing yards. An 80-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter was enough to cap his, and the Vikings, day at O.co Coliseum. It was the sixth 200-plus performance of his career, which ties a league record.
After the game, Peterson was content with the performance.
“I would say that I’ve been feeling more agile, more explosive and quicker with my vision,” Peterson said to CSNBayArea’s Scott Bair. “It’s a better vibe when I get out there and get into a rhythm. It’s like it’s coming on a different level, like a Super Saiyan-type level. It feels good.”
The Raiders knew containing Peterson would be difficult, but this is an Oakland squad that just weeks ago possessed the league’s second-best run defense. It worked in the first half, where Peterson recorded just 49 yards, but when Peterson is on his game, you’ll need a wall to stop him. “We beat ourselves today,” Raiders defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. said. “We were holding AP well early on, really throughout the first half. Then we started getting out of our gaps and he’s the type of back that will make you pay for those mistakes. We started off well, but we couldn’t close it out.”
It was the first time a Raiders defense surrendered 200 or more rushing yards since a 2012 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Up until Oakland faced off against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the defense hadn’t allowed a single 100-yard rushing performance.
Oakland linebacker Malcom Smith told the media his defensive unit might need to start being more mindful of what’s in front of them, and make some changes.
“You have to be sharp the whole game,” linebacker Malcolm Smith said. “Eventually, he (Peterson) made us pay. We have to be sharper and more detailed and finish better. To this point, that’s been our downfall.”
And that usual fast-tempo offense? It showed itself in bits and pieces Sunday, but not enough to defeat an NFL team. Highly touted 24-year-old quarterback Derek Carr threw two interceptions — and seemed well off his game. During the first, a forced throw to Amari Cooper landed square in the chest of Vikings cornerback Terence Newman. The second came during a pivotal fourth quarter drive when the Raiders were mounting a last-ditch comeback effort; once again, Terence Newman was terrorizing Carr, this time, 11 yards from the end zone.
This could have been a statement win against a team who know has a stranglehold on the NFC North. Instead, the Raiders are now faced with a 4-5 record, and have fallen under the .500 mark for the first time since Week 5.