The Vikings put together another complete team effort on Sunday, using complementary football and timely playmaking to register a convincing 30-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders. The win is the team's fifth straight and their third on the road, and it propels them to first place in the NFC North standings.
Here are five reasons the Vikings came out on top in Oakland on Sunday…
1. The defense did its thing
For a long time, Vikings fans watched from afar while Mike Zimmer coached up great defenses in Dallas and Cincinnati. Now, Zimmer is coaching up a good-looking defense in Minnesota. The Vikings will enter their Week 11 showdown with Green Bay boasting the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense, surrendering only 17.1 points per contest. Oakland came into Sunday's game with a streaking offense that had scored at least 34 points in each of its last three games. Against the Vikings, though, Oakland managed just 14 points and they were shutout in the second half.
2. Adrian Peterson, ground game dominated
**If anyone had any doubts before Sunday's game, there should be none now. Adrian Peterson is still the best RB in the game. There are a lot of young up-and-comers, but they are still looking up at No. 28. Norv Turner continued to dial up the running game, as Peterson and his blockers (FBs and TEs as well as the OL) punished the Raiders defense. When all was said and done, Peterson finished with 26 carries for 203 yards, including an 80-yard TD with 1:50 to play that served as the exclamation point in the win. As a team, the Vikings rushed for 263 yards.
3. Special teams was a weapon
It wasn't a perfect showing, but Sunday was yet another example of a game in which the Vikings special groups made plays that helped the team win the game. Blair Walsh missed a 53-yard FG right before halftime and had another try blocked, but he was good on three other FG tries and his 34-yarder with 3:50 to go put the Vikings ahead by two possessions. Before that, though, Cordarrelle Patterson provided one of the game's bigger plays when he returned a kickoff 93 yards for a TD to retake the lead just moments after the Raiders scored their second TD of the game to go ahead 14-13. Another big special teams play came in the 3rd quarter when Jeff Locke blasted a punt 53 yards from his own 22 and Marcus Sherels made a tackle after a return of zero yards, flipping the field position and making the Raiders start from their own 25 after what looked like a defensive stop that would yield the offense quality starting field position. In the end, the Vikings special teams accounted for 18 of the team's 30 points, surrendered 2 return yards on 3 punts and helped the Vikings win the field position battle with an average drive start of the -30 and an opponent average drive start of the -24.
4. Two picks for Terence
**The Vikings have been playing stifling defense all season, but the turnovers haven't been there consistently. Terence Newman put an end to that. He intercepted Raiders QB Derek Carr twice, including one late in the 4th quarter that setup Peterson's 80-yard score. Newman's first interception came in the 1st quarter and gave the offense the ball at the OAK 41. The Vikings wound up with a FG on that drive. In total, the Vikings scored 10 points off of Newman's 2 interceptions and the veteran CB was credited with 5 pass breakups on the afternoon.
5. Discipline, resiliency, execution
There are several coaches on the Vikings staff who have been where the rest of the team is trying to go. That's a big reason why this year's Vikings team plays with such discipline, doesn't panic in big spots and instead displays resiliency and then executes when the game is on the line.
Discipline: The Vikings had only three penalties for 15 yards enforced against them.
Resiliency: After opening up 13-0, the Vikings watched the Raiders come back and take the lead late in the first half. But it didn't last long, as Patterson raced to the end zone on a kickoff return and the Vikings reclaimed the lead and never looked back.
Execution: Late in the game, Walsh converted a 34-yard FG and the defense followed that up by turning the Raiders over via a Newman interception. The offense then chipped in when Peterson got loose for his 80-yard TD.