2015 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

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group