2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things to know from Vikings' win over Steelers

By MATTIAS KAREN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-30 03:19

LONDON (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings got on the jet back to the United States with newfound reasons to believe they can salvage this season.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, an unsuccessful London trip means it already could be time to start looking toward next year.

The Vikings and Steelers both arrived in Britain knowing that only a win would give them a realistic chance of fighting for a playoff spot. After Minnesota's entertaining 34-27 win at Wembley Stadium, the optimism is certainly back in the Vikings' locker room.

``There is a sense of relief, for sure,'' Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier said. ``We've had some tough losses. In the fourth quarter of every one of these ballgames we were right there. For whatever reason, it didn't work out for us.''

At Wembley Stadium, the Vikings' defense finally found a way of finishing the job. With the Steelers looking for a tying touchdown, Everson Griffen stripped Ben Roethlisberger of the ball on the 6-yard line with 19 seconds left and Kevin Williams recovered the fumble to seal the victory.

Greg Jennings and Adrian Peterson provided the offensive spark for the Vikings, with each scoring two touchdowns.

``It would have been a long flight back to take after a loss,'' Jennings said. ``It was a special day. To do this at Wembley Stadium is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.''

Here are five things we learned from the Vikings' win over the Steelers in London:

PONDERING PONDER: Matt Cassel made the most of his first opportunity to play for the Minnesota Vikings, and suddenly Christian Ponder's starting spot may not be all that secure. With Ponder sidelined by a rib injury, Cassel went 16 for 25 for 248 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, he had no turnovers - although he did fumble once but the ball was recovered by Jerome Simpson for a 10-yard gain. ``It was a great night for me,'' Cassel said, ``and I was really excited about the fact that I was able to contribute to the team.'' He was quick to add that Ponder ``is a heck of a quarterback,'' and that ``hopefully he gets healthy and comes back soon.'' As far as Frazier is concerned, there's no quarterback controversy. ``If you're asking, our quarterback is Christian Ponder,'' the coach said.

DOUBLE THREAT: Jennings finally showed off his play-making ability, and that could help take some of the burden off Peterson going forward. Having caught just 11 passes in the first three games with no touchdowns, Jennings broke off a 70-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter and added a second TD in the second half. It was the kind of performance the Vikings had been expecting when they signed the wide receiver from the Green Bay Packers in the offseason. ``Playing against that guy for a couple of years at Green Bay, I definitely knew what he had and what he could bring to the table for this offense,'' Peterson said. ``He was able to make a big play today that helped us win. So he's doing exactly what I expected.''

LONG BYE: The Steelers have two weeks to ponder the predicament they find themselves in. No team has made the playoffs after starting 0-4 since the 1992 San Diego Chargers. And if the Steelers don't improve dramatically, there's little to indicate they'll replicate that feat. ``Right now you could say we're the worst team in the league,'' Roethlisberger said. ``That hurts.'' The quarterback was hurting physically, too, after hurting the index finger on his throwing hand and being sacked five times by the Vikings. He said the finger wasn't broken and should be fine.

SAVED BY BELL? If there's anything positive for the Steelers to take back home from London, it was the performance of Le'Veon Bell. The rookie running back made his much-anticipated debut after a foot injury and gave the team its first two rushing touchdowns of the season. He first broke off to the right for an 8-yard score to make it 10-7, somersaulting into the end zone, and pulled Pittsburgh within 3 by plowing in from the 1-yard line in the third quarter.

BLOCK PARTY: Peterson has his favorite blocker back, and that makes him even more difficult to stop. Fullback Jerome Felton returned from a three-game suspension and provided key blocks on both of Peterson's touchdown runs. The league MVP finished with 140 yards on 23 carries, and said Felton was a big reason for that. ``It made a big difference,'' Peterson said. ``He's one of those guys that you know is going to bring it to the table.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dwayne AllenNov 23 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) is inactive Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Trent WilliamsNov 23 12:32p

Washington Redskins OT Trent Williams (ankle, knee) is not expected to play in Week 12 because of his injuries.

Danny LansanahNov 23 12:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah is moving from strongside linebacker to weakside linebacker in place of LB Lavonte David (hamstring). LB Orie Lemon will start at strongside linebacker.

Greg JenningsNov 23 11:52a

Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) is active for the team's Week 12 game.

Blidi Wreh-WilsonNov 23 11:52a

The Tennessee Titans have declared CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, QB Charlie Whitehurst, WR Kris Durham, CB Marqueston Huff, TE Richard Gordon, DL Ropati Pitoitua, OT Will Svitek inactive for Week 12.

Arian FosterNov 23 11:42a

The Houston Texans have declared RB Arian Foster, WR DeVier Posey, OT Jeff Adams, S Josh Aubrey, CB Kareem Jackson, LB Max Bullough, QB Tom Savage inactive for Week 12.

Andre BranchNov 23 11:42a

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, LB Jeremiah George, WR Mike Brown, OT Sam Young, RB Storm Johnson, CB Teddy Williams, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 12.

Crezdon ButlerNov 23 11:42a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared CB C.J. X. Wilson, CB Crezdon Butler, DL Da'Quan Bowers, OT Kevin Pamphile, LB Lavonte David, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron inactive for Week 12.

Jordan CameronNov 23 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared TE Jordan Cameron, LB Karlos Dansby, WR Marlon Moore, CB Pierre Desir, DB Robert Nelson, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 12.

Rex BurkheadNov 23 11:42a

The Cincinnati Bengals have declared CB Chris Lewis-Harris, WR Dane Sanzenbacher, WR Greg Little, DL Margus Hunt, RB Rex Burkhead, OT Tanner Hawkinson, LB Vontaze Burfict inactive for Week 12.

Dwayne AllenNov 23 11:42a

The Indianapolis Colts have declared TE Dwayne Allen, OT Gosder Cherilus, CB Greg Toler, DL Kelcy Quarles, C Khaled Holmes, OG Lance Louis, NT Zachariah Kerr inactive for Week 12.

Arian FosterNov 23 11:33a

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) is out Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Brandon WattsNov 23 11:32a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared OT Austin Wentworth, LB Brandon Watts, OG David Yankey, RB Matt Asiata, LB Michael Mauti, DL Sharrif Floyd, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 12.

Dennis KellyNov 23 11:32a

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 12.

Josh GordonNov 23 11:22a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not receive a fine or suspension for pleading guilty to driving under the influence charge in North Carolina, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 23 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) was not spotted during early warmups Sunday, Nov. 23, and he's unlikely to play in Week 12.

Lavonte DavidNov 23 10:52a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Lavonte David (hamstring) will miss the first game of his career Sunday, Nov. 23, as he's out for Week 12.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 23 10:32a

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) 'needs a miracle' to play Sunday, Nov. 23, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIINov 23 10:12a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's point of emphasis is to get the ball out quickly Sunday, Nov. 23. Head coach Jay Gruden has dumbed down the offense to [ More ]

Julius ThomasNov 23 10:02a

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) is unlikely to play Sunday, Nov. 23, in Week 12.

Ben TateNov 23 09:52a

Minnesota Vikings RB Ben Tate will be active Sunday, Nov. 23, and have a role in Week 12. RB Matt Asiata will be inactive.

Lamar MillerNov 23 09:52a

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (shoulder, knee) will play Sunday, Nov. 23, according to a source.

Josh GordonNov 23 09:22a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is expected to play 20-30 snaps Sunday, Nov. 23.

Jonas GrayNov 23 09:22a

New England Patriots RB Jonas Gray will play Sunday, Nov. 23, after being late to practice Friday, Nov. 21. He'll split carries with RB LeGarrette Blount in Week 12.

Reggie BushNov 22 05:32p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is likely out for Week 12 and is targeting the Thanksgiving Day game Thursday, Nov. 27, to return.

Marcel ReeceNov 22 04:42p

Oakland Raiders FB Marcel Reece earned more carries after his performance in Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 20. Reece rushed for 46 yards during a crucial 17-play, 80-yard drive late [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 22 04:22p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) is highly unlikely to suit up Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Josh GordonNov 22 01:32p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon was officially activated from the exempt/commissioner permission list Saturday, Nov. 22. In a subsequent move, the team waived LB Keith Pough.

A.J. JenkinsNov 22 12:42p

The Kansas City Chiefs have placed WR A.J. Jenkins (shoulder) on the Reserve/Injured list.

Charles ClayNov 21 05:52p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and he is doubtful for Week 12 against the Denver Broncos. Clay suffered a setback in practice [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 21 05:32p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is questionable for Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Bill O'Brien said Foster would [ More ]

Jason AvantNov 21 04:52p

The Kansas City Chiefs will sign free-agent WR Jason Avant (Panthers), according to a source. Avant worked out for the team Friday, Nov. 21.

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