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Updated: December 22nd, 2013 1:44pm
Halftime: Three turnovers have Vikings down 28-7 at Bengals

Halftime: Three turnovers have Vikings down 28-7 at Bengals

by Andrew Krammer
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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton took advantage of one of the NFL's worst pass defenses as he threw for two touchdowns and 180 yards in the first half.

The Minnesota Vikings trail 28-7 off of three first-half turnovers that led to 14 points for the Bengals.

Quarterback Matt Cassel accounted for three turnovers as the offense churned out just 100 total yards, the majority coming from 66 yards on the ground. Running back Adrian Peterson returned after sitting out last week due to a mid-foot sprain and averaged 3.4 yards per carry on 10 attempts.

Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap recovered a first-quarter fumble after Bengals safety Reggie Nelson came unchecked on a blitz to force the sack-fumble. The Bengals took a 7-0 lead after two plays from the Vikings' 4.

After a season-high 382 passing yards in last week's win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Cassel went 5-for-14 for 52 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the first half. His 36-yard touchdown to receiver Jarius Wright was his lone highlight as no other Vikings receiver has double-digit yardage.
Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey took Cassel's first interception 25 yards for the Bengals' 21-7 lead in the second quarter.

The Vikings are 0-for-7 on third down, contrasted by the Bengals' 4-for-7 conversion rate in which they converted on attempts from 7, 10, 10 and 11 yards in the first half. Dalton's second touchdown pass went to tight end Jermaine Gresham in the middle of a Cover-2 look for the 16-yard score and 28-7 lead.

• After the Baltimore Ravens elected to kick away from Vikings rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson last week, the Bengals gave up returns of 48 and 44 yards on his first two touches.

• Receiver Jarius Wright now averages 26 yards per catch across the last two games after a career-high 95 yards last week and a 36-yard touchdown reception in Sunday's first quarter.

• Linebacker Audie Cole (leg) exited in the first quarter and did not return. Linebacker Erin Henderson switched back into the middle and forced a fumble for the Vikings' lone turnover. The first-quarter fumble led to the Vikings' only score of the first half. Linebacker Marvin Mitchell is now the Vikings' weak-side linebacker in base packages.

Andrew Krammer covers the Minnesota Vikings for He previously covered the Gophers men's basketball team for the Minnesota Daily.
Email Andrew | @andrew_krammer