Adam Vinatieri's late field goal spoils Vikings' rally, lifts Colts
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INDIANAPOLIS - Veteran Adam Vinatieri connected on a 53-yard field goal with 8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the Indianapolis Colts overcame a late Minnesota Vikings rally to pull out a 23-20 victory on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Vikings generated little offense until the fourth quarter - although wide receiver Percy Harvin continued to do everything in his power to provide a spark -- and made several costly penalties in suffering their first defeat of the season.
The Vikings were called for 11 penalties for 105 yards after taking five for 47 yards in a season-opening overtime win against Jacksonville a week ago.
Facing a team that won only two games last season and a 3-point favorite on the road, the Vikings moved 44 yards on 12 plays on the opening drive of the game and took a 3-0 lead on rookie Blair Walsh's 51-yard field goal.
The Colts came right back and Andrew Luck, the first pick in last April's draft, capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive by hitting tight end Dwayne Allen on a 3-yard touchdown pass to give Indianapolis the lead late in the first quarter. Donnie Avery's 41-yard reception at the Vikings 3-yard line - Avery was able to beat cornerback Antoine Winfield on the play - set up that touchdown.
The Vikings pulled within one point as Percy Harvin caught the ensuing kickoff by Adam Vinatieri 7-yards deep in his own end zone and went 50 yards to the Vikings 43. Harvin then gained 20 yards on the ground to the Colts 34.
The Vikings drive stalled at the Colts 11 and Walsh came on to kick a 29-yard field goal.
Indianapolis went three-and-out on its following offensive series and the Vikings had a chance to get momentum as they moved to the Colts 42. Facing a third-and-8, quarterback Christian Ponder lost the ball as he was sacked by linebacker Jerrell Freeman. Defensive end Cory Redding recovered at the Vikings 48.
That turnover resulted in a 26-yard field goal by Vinatieri.
The Colts weren't done for the opening half.
Marcus Sherels, not Harvin, returned the kick after Vinatieri's field goal and decided to come out of his own end zone from 8 yards deep. He got to the Vikings 15-yard line and Ponder threw two incompletions in the next three plays as Minnesota was forced to punt.
Indianapolis started from its own 36-yard line, and Luck appeared to have the Colts headed toward another field goal late in the half when he scrambled for a 7-yard gain to the Vikings 30. But on third-and-3, Luck found wide receiver Reggie Wayne over the middle for a touchdown with 7 seconds left in the second quarter.
Luck was 11 of 17 for 146 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the opening half.
The Vikings began to self-destruct in the third quarter.
A Colts drive early in the quarter stalled at the Indianapolis 45 and Pat McAfee came on to punt. Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo, who missed the opener because of an ankle injury and is expected to contribute on special teams, was called for a 15-yard roughing the kicker penalty on the punt and the Colts continued the drive at the Vikings 40.
On third-and-16 from the Vikings 46, Luck scrambled for 1 yard but was hit out of bounds by Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. That gave the Colts a first down at the Vikings 30 and the drive eventually ended with a 45-yard Vinatieri field goal that gave Indianapolis a 20-6 lead.
The Vikings began to rally in the fourth quarter and on fourth-and-4 from the Colts 7, Ponder threw a pass from the shotgun that was tipped by Redding at the line of scrimmage and then tipped again by tight end Kyle Rudolph. It landed in the hands of wide receiver Stephen Burton for a touchdown with 5:07 left.
The Vikings got the ball back with 2:50 left in the fourth quarter at the Colts 47. Harvin caught Ponder's first pass of the possession but continued to battle cramping in his legs and had to leave the game.
Ponder then hit on passes to Michael Jenkins for 9 and 8 yards. The second came on a third-and-2 from the Colts 39. On third-and-9 from the Indianapolis 30, Ponder found Adrian Peterson for a 20-yard gain that put the ball at the 10.
The Vikings tied the score as Ponder's pass over the middle found an open Kyle Rudolph for the touchdown.
The Colts started the winning drive with 31 seconds left and at their own 20.
Luck found Avery for 20 yards and Wayne for another 20 to put the ball at the Vikings 40. An offside penalty on the Vikings put the ball at the Minnesota 35 and Vinatieri hit the winner.
4: Consecutive victories for the Colts over the Vikings. The last time the Vikings beat Indianapolis was in 1997.
60: Rushing yards for Adrian Peterson on 16 carries. Peterson, who is coming back from reconstructive surgery on his left knee, had a long run of 6 yards.
195: Total yards for Percy Harvin, including 104 receiving (on 12 receptions), 13 rushing (on 2 carries) and 78 on kickoff retuns (two returns).
6:26: Time remaining in the third quarter when tight end Kyle Rudolph caught his first pass of the game. Rudolph had five receptions in the Vikings' season-opening victory over Jacksonville. He finished with three receptions Sunday.
24: Game-winning field goals for Vinatieri, who is in his 17th NFL season.
1: Victories for rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, whose Colts lost 41-21 in Week 1 at Chicago.
0: Sacks for Jared Allen in two games. Allen had an NFL-leading 22 sacks last season.
WR Jarius Wright was among the Vikings' inactives Sunday because of a sprained ankle suffered in the preseason finale at Houtson. Backup linebacker Marvin Mitchell (ankle) also was inactive for the second game in a row.
WR Percy Harvin struggled with cramps in the fourth quarter and had to leave the game on the Vikings' last and second-to-last series. He was able to return.
Vikings - Blair Walsh 51-yard field goal, 7:48. Drive: 12 plays, 44 yards, 7:12. Vikings 3, Colts 0
Indianapolis - Dwayne Allen 3-yard pass from Andrew Luck (Adan Vinatieri kick), 0:49. Drive: 13-80-6:59. Colts 7, Vikings 3
Vikings - Walsh 29-yard field goal, 11:38. Drive: 9-46-4:11. Colts 7, Vikings 6
Indianapolis - Vinatieri 26-yard field goal, 1:49. Drive: 9-40-4:13. Colts 10, Vikings 6
Indianapolis - Reggie Wayne 30-yard pass from Luck (Vinatieri kick), 0:07. Drive: 8-64-1:04. Colts 17, Vikings 6
Indianapolis - Vinatieri 45-yard field goal, 7:06. Drive: 14-53-7:54. Colts 20, Vikings 6
Vikings - Stephen Burton 7-yard pass from Ponder (Walsh kick), 5:07. Drive: 10-54-5:03. Colts 20, Vikings 13
Vikings - Kyle Rudolph 6-yard pass from Ponder (Walsh kick), 0:31. Drive: 9-47-2:19. Vikings 20, Colts 20
Indianapolis - Vinatieri 53-yard field goal, 0:08. Drive: 4-45-0:23. Colts 23, Vikings 20
The Vikings will be home next Sunday to face the San Francisco 49ers. That will mean the return of former Vikings star receiver Randy Moss, who is with the 49ers after being out of the game for a season. San Francisco, one of the top teams in the NFC, won its opener at Green Bay. The 49ers hold a 22-21-1 edge in this series.