Raiders lose to Vikings, drop below 500

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For the Oakland Raiders, this is a very different season than their last two. After eight games they found themselves with a 500 record. They have already improved over last season’s record.

The Minnesota Vikings were in a similar situation. Their record is six and two and they were challenging the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North Division. They would not know it until after the game, but a win in Oakland would put them in first place.

Wide Receiver Mike Wallace of the Minnesota Vikings
Wide Receiver Mike Wallace of the Minnesota Vikings

Injuries were the issue for Minnesota, as it is with many teams at this time of year, but their quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was cleared to play. For the Raiders, they were missing their starting center Jon Condo. Tony Bergstrom played and that would be pivotal for the running game.

It looked like it would be a great game featuring two good young quarterbacks: Bridgewater and Derek Carr for Oakland: plus two good running backs: Latavius Murray for the Raiders and Adrian Peterson for the Vikings.

This was a game the Raiders needed to have a winning record for the first time in years. For the Vikings, a win against Oakland would mean keeping pace with the Packers. But it didn’t start well for Oakland.

The Vikings scored twice in the first quarter: a touchdown pass from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to Rhett Ellison and then a field goal by Blair Walsh. The field goal was set up when Terance Newman intercepted a pass by Derek Carr and returned it to the Oakland 45 yard line.

Quarterback Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders
Quarterback Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders

The Raiders came back in the second quarter, scoring two touchdowns, the second after an incredible drive that saw Derek Carr throw three passes to get it done. At that point Oakland led, 14-13. But the Vikings came right back when kickoff returner Cordarelle Patterson ran back the kick for a 93-yard touchdown. The first half ended with a score of 20-13, Vikings lead.

Neither team scored in the third, but the Vikings increased their lead in the fourth, scoring a field goal and then an 80-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson who finished the day with 203 yards rushing. It was another interception of a Carr pass by Terrance Newman that set up the run for Peterson.

Peterson’s run also highlighted where Oakland needs great improvement: their defense. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers the week before, Oakland gave up 597 total yards, 195 on the ground. Against Minnesota the Raiders gave up 385 yards, 263 on the ground.

Carr had another good day passing, throwing for 302 yards, but the Raiders running game only had 84 yards; Latavius Murray only had 48 yards rushing. The Raiders back up center, Tony Bergstrom, was overmatched in the middle by Minnesota defensive nose tackle Linval Joseph and it had a big impact on the Raiders running game.

After the game Raiders safety Charles Woodson expressed disappointment with the defense and special teams. “They’re (the offense) not going to click every week, but you need the other areas to click.”

He shouldn’t feel too bad for the special teams. Even though they gave up that touchdown return, Keith McGill blocked Blair Walsh’s 39-yard attempt in the fourth quarter.

Mike Zimmer, head coach of the Minnesota Vikings
Mike Zimmer, head coach of the Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson and Terance Newman were the big stars for the Vikings today and now Minnesota is atop the NFC North because the Green Bay Packers lost to the Detroit Lions in Green Bay.

With his performance today, Peterson tied OJ Simpson’s record of 200-yard rushing games — six. Peterson will have many chances to break the record in his career.

The Raiders now have a record of 4-5 and are in second place in the AFC West, behind the Denver Broncos. Next week the Raiders will meet the Lions in Detroit. The Vikings are now 7 and 2 and have won five in a row. They will see the Packers at home in the Twin Cities.

L.A. Post-Examiner Staff contributed to this article

(All photos by Claudia Gestro)