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Vikings Blitz Less, Cover More for Shutout in 2nd Half

The Minnesota Vikings defense knew they had a tough task heading into Oakland.

The Raiders boasted one of the NFL's top offenses, led by two stand-out receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.

Neither Cooper nor Crabtree had a particularly big day. Cooper was held to 79 receiving yards on five receptions while Crabtree recorded four catches for 55 yards.

Still quarterback David Carr kept the game tight, throwing two first-half touchdowns to tight end Clive Walford and wide receiver Andre Holmes.

Minnesota trailed 14-13 with 1:52 remaining in the first half, but the Vikings defense pitched a shutout the rest of the way.

"We knew we had to come out and play better in the second half," cornerback Terence Newman told the media after the game. "We made some adjustments, our coaches made some adjustments, and we were able to rise to the occasion."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said his team "didn't blitz near as much in the second half."

"We played more coverage. We tackled better," Zimmer said. "We were stopping the run good, so if you stop the run you can play more coverage, and we did that. The other part of it was we let (Carr) get outside the pocket a couple of times and it hurt us. We cleaned that up a little bit coverage-wise.

Halftime adjustments have been characteristic of the Vikings through Week 10. In nine third quarters this year, Minnesota has only given up a total of 13 points.

"I think it's toughness – mental toughness, physical toughness," safety Harrison Smith said. "It's guys not getting down about anything, guys knowing some phase is going to make a play and then the next phase is going to make a play."

While the defense does deserve plenty of credit for their second-half dominance, all three phases contributed to the Vikings fifth-straight win.

Once the Vikings trailed, wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson returned the kickoff 93 yards to begin the comeback.

Newman recorded his second interception of the game in the end zone with Oakland threatening late.

Adrian Peterson capped things off with a game-clinching 80-yard touchdown run, and the Vikings left Oakland with a 30-14 win.

"It's big any time we get a win," linebacker Anthony Barr said. "Obviously, they've been putting up points moving the ball a lot. It was a complete team win like we've been doing."

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