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Updated: November 20th, 2011 3:17pm
Vikings fall to 2-8 with loss to Raiders; Adrian Peterson hurts ankle

Vikings fall to 2-8 with loss to Raiders; Adrian Peterson hurts ankle

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS. - Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder threw three interceptions and running back Adrian Peterson suffered a sprained left ankle in the first quarter as the Minnesota Vikings fell to 2-8 with a 27-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at the Metrodome.

Peterson was hurt late in the first quarter when Raiders safety Michael Huff landed on his lower left leg at the end of a run play. He was helped to the sideline and taken off on a cart after being examined. Peterson, who has missed three games in four-plus seasons, returned in uniform but with no helmet and did not play again.

Peterson said he could not have gone back into the game and he will undergo an MRI on Monday. X-rays done Sunday proved to be negative.

The Vikings rallied in the fourth quarter thanks in part to Oakland's complete lack of discipline(12 penalties) and mistakes. Ponder's final interception came when his pass into the Raiders end zone was picked off by cornerback Stanford Routt with 8 minutes, 18 seconds left.

That seemed to be it for the Vikings but Raiders running back Michael Bush fumbled on the Raiders' next possession and the ball was recovered by Brian Robison at the Oakland 38.

Ponder went right to work, completing a beautiful 37-yard pass to Visanthe Shiancoe despite the fact the tight end had two defenders on him. Ponder then hit Kyle Rudolph for the rookie's first career touchdown to make it 27-21.

The Vikings got the ball back a final time with 3:01 left but Ponder's fourth-down pass for Percy Harvin was broken up and the Raiders took over with 1:52 remaining.

"It's just the same song," Shiancoe said. "It's the same song over and over again. 'Vikings beat themselves. Vikings have too many mistakes.' We're not taking advantage of the opportunities. It's just every week. ... All these little penalties and all these little things, missed assignments and things like that. It's just a whole collective effort here."

There was a scary moment early in the fourth quarter when Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey suffered what appeared to be a serious neck injury after catching a 4-yard pass from Carson Palmer.

Heyward-Bey was hit first by Cedric Griffin and then linebacker E.J. Henderson. Henderson's knee hit Heyward-Bey as he was going to the ground and his head was bent awkwardly as his helmet came off.

Heyward-Bey was down for several minutes being attended to by doctors and athletic trainers. He was immobilized and placed on a stretcher before being taken from the field and transported to a local hospital.

Raiders coach Hue Jackson said Heyward-Bey had full use of all his extremities and the Raiders' hope was the wide receiver would be able to return to Oakland with the team. 

The skinny

The Raiders took a three-point lead on the possession after Peterson was injured.

The Vikings were driving after Ponder scrambled for a 28-yard gain on third-and-8 from his own 22.

A 24-yard reception by Percy Harvin helped the Vikings reach the Raiders 21-yard line, but Ponder's next pass for Harvin was intercepted by Oakland safety Matt Giordano at his own 5.

Giordano returned the ball 42 yards and Palmer capped the ensuing drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chaz Schilens in the corner of the end zone. Schilens beat cornerback Asher Allen for the score.

Palmer had two key completions on the drive, completing a 21-yard pass to tight end Brandon Myers and a 14-yard pass to wide receiver Denarius Moore.

It got worse from there.

Holder Chris Kluwe muffed a snap from Cullen Loeffler on what would have been a 49-yard field-goal attempt by Ryan Longwell and the Raiders took over at their own 43.

Bush's 28-yard run put the ball at the Vikings 26, and Bush finished the drive with a 2-yard run to give Oakland a 17-7 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Vikings' Lorenzo Booker was stripped of the ball by Myers and the Raiders recovered at the Vikings 16 with 1:14 left in the half. Four plays later, Palmer dived into the end zone from a yard out and the Raiders had a 17-point lead.

Janikowski increased the lead to 20 points with a 26-yard field goal with 51 seconds left in the third quarter. That came after Ponder's pass for Michael Jenkins was tipped by former Viking Lito Sheppard and picked off by defensive tackle Tommy Kelly.

Ponder led the Vikings to their second touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Ponder had a 42-yard completion to Devin Aromashudu to end the third putting the ball at the Raiders 26. Ponder then connected with Percy Harvin, who did most of the work to get into the end zone and make it 27-14. It was Harvin's first receiving touchdown of the season.

Janikowski had his 49-yard field-goal attempt blocked by Letroy Guion right after Bey was taken off the field and the Vikings took over at the Oakland 40.

The Vikings took a 7-0 lead on Peterson's 12-yard run with 5:17 left in the first quarter.

That capped a 12-play, 77-yard drive that featured three personal foul penalties against the Raiders.

Oakland came back on its next drive to get a 29-yard field goal from Janikowski on a drive that stalled at the Vikings 11-yard line.

Turning point

The Vikings held a 7-3 lead when Peterson was injured but once that happened any life they had on their sideline, not to mention any life in the Metrodome, seemed to disappear. It was completely taken away when Ponder's pass was picked off by Giordano. When the Vikings did get their energy back it was too late.

Numbers game

• 43: Career rushing touchdowns for Peterson, a franchise record. Bill Brown had held the mark of 42.

• 10: Vikings players to have 50 career sacks, a list that now includes Kevin Williams. Williams' fourth quarter sack Sunday gives him 50.5 for his career.

• 23: Games between sacks for Kevin Williams, whose last sack before Sunday came in the second game of the 2010 season against Miami.

12-117: Penalties and yardage against the Raiders on Sunday. The Vikings were called for nine penalties for 50 yards by referee Jerome Boger's crew.

• 141: Consecutive sellouts at the Metrodome. Sunday's announced crowd was 62,748. It will be interesting to see if that streak continues in the remaining home games. The Vikings' final three opponents at home are Denver (Dec. 4), New Orleans (Dec. 18) and Chicago (Jan. 1).

Health watch

• Vikings weak-side linebacker Erin Henderson was among the inactives because of a hamstring injury suffered last Monday night at Green Bay. Kenny Onatolu, in his third season, made his first start.

• Also sitting out because of injuries were free safety Husain Abdullah (concussion) and right guard Anthony Herrera (knee). Tyrell Johnson replaced Abdullah and Joe Berger started in place of Herrera, who has missed the past three games.

Odds and ends

• Rookie safety Mistral Raymond, who saw time on defense in the Vikings' loss at Green Bay, was used in an occasional rotation with Johnson on Sunday.

• The Vikings healthy inactives were cornerback Chris Cook, tackle DeMarcus Love, wide receiver Stephen Burton and defensive end D'Aundre Reed. Cook remains away from the team while awaiting trial on a felony strangulation charge stemming from his Oct. 22 arrest for domestic assault after an incident involving his girlfriend.


SCORING PLAYS

First Quarter

Vikings: Adrian Peterson 12-yard run, 5:17. Ryan Longwell kick. Drive: 12 plays, 77 yards, 4:24. Vikings 7, Raiders 0

Oakland: Sebastian Janikowski 29-yard field goal, 0:57. Drive: 9-44-4:20. Vikings 7, Raiders 3

Second Quarter

Oakland: Chaz Schilens 11-yard pass from Carson Palmer, 9:10. Janikowski kick. Drive: 7-53-3:50. Raiders 10, Vikings 7

Oakland: Michael Bush 2-yard, 1:20. Janikowski kick. Drive 8-57-3:22. Raiders 17, Vikings 7

Oakland: Palmer 1-yard run, 0:08. Janikowski kick. Drive: 4-16-1:06. Raiders 24, Vikings 7

Third Quarter

Oakland: Janikowski 26-yard field goal, 0:51. Drive: 7-16-3:27. Raiders 27, Vikings 7

Fourth Quarter

Vikings: Percy Harvin 26-yard pass from Christian Ponder, 14:52. Longwell kick. Drive: 4-72-0:59. Raiders 27, Vikings 14

Vikings: Kyle Rudolph 1-yard pass from Ponder, 5:08. Longwell kick. Drive 2-38-0:50. Raiders 27, Vikings 21

Coming up

The Vikings will play the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

The Vikings are 16-10 all-time against the Falcons but have lost three of the past five games. That includes a 24-17 loss on Dec. 21, 2008 at the Metrodome.

This will be the Vikings' first trip to Atlanta since 2005, when they lost 30-10 in early October. That was followed by the bye week and the infamous Love Boat incident in Mike Tice's last season as coach.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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