MIN-OAK Grades: Peterson, strong defense propel Vikings
Here are the top takeaways and highest graded players from the Vikings’ 30-14 win over the Raiders:
– QB Teddy Bridgewater (+1.1) isn’t going to shake the game-manager label with performances like this one, but that’s not a problem for the Vikings – if careful helps get them wins, then careful is good enough. Bridgewater attempted two passes downfield (over 10 yards) and didn’t complete either, he threw the ball away five more times (he leads the league in that category), and for the fifth time this season he finished with less than 200 yards passing. All five of those games have been Minnesota wins.
– Giving up just three catches and 21 yards on 10 targets is a day to be proud of but when you add in a pair of interceptions and three other break-ups like Terence Newman (+7.3) did, you have a day that could rank among the career highlights for any corner. The 37-year-old vet was actually close to a three-pick effort but for the one that got away – a great break on the ball to undercut Marcel Reece at 11:13 of the third quarter left Newman with a PD, but just short of another INT.
– Coming down from his monstrous +11.4 last week, DT Linval Joseph still managed his fourth-best game grade of the season and his eighth straight in the green. A clean-up sack and five defensive stops top his sheet but he also forced Mychal Rivera to fumble after a short catch and picked up seven other wins against Raider linemen Gabe Jackson and Tony Bergstrom. After jumping up just in time to grab a spot on our midseason All-Pro Team, Joseph looks poised to maintain his grip.
CB Terence Newman (+7.3)
C Joe Berger (+5.3)
DT Linval Joseph (+4.1)
HB Adrian Peterson (+3.8)
G Brandon Fusco (+2.5)
– One of the season’s darlings, QB Derek Carr (-0.3) fell off a bit this week. Despite leading a first-half surge that saw the Raiders take a momentary 14-13 lead on his two TD passes, Carr forced a few balls into bad spots and came away a bit lucky having only a pair of his throws intercepted and a grade right at the average mark. He again performed well against the blitz (six of eight for 85 yards and a touchdown) and hit on two more deep shots (he’s now 13 of 33 on those) so all is not lost with him falling away from his six-game string of positive game grades.
– Oakland’s defense gave up an average of 83 rushing yards per game over the first seven games of the season, but has now been gashed for more than 450 in the last two outings. A large part of the reason for this week’s struggle in that area was inside linebacker Malcolm Smith (-5.7) being too easily and too often erased by Minnesota blockers. Smith was moved aside or swallowed up on run plays on 14 separate occasions – simply too much for the defense’s leading snap-getter to absorb.
– RT Austin Howard (+4.9) spent his first season with the Raiders as a guard and showed signs of settling into the new position in the second half of the year. This season’s switch back to tackle didn’t get off to a great start but he may be hitting stride for another late-season run. Howard has surrendered just a pair of hurries in 93 pass-blocking snaps these last two weeks and just four total pressures over the last four games. He has graded positively both in pass pro and in run blocking on his way to an overall grade of +7.1 in Weeks 9 and 10 after a sum of -2.8 through the first eight weeks.
RT Austin Howard (+4.9)
DE Mario Edwards (+2.6)
OLB Aldon Smith (+2.4)
LT Donald Penn (+2.3)
RG J’Marcus Webb (+2.3)