JACKSONVILLE, FLA. — The Vikings will have plenty of corrections to make following their 30-12 victory over the Jaguars on Sunday but if there was one thing that seemed to leave the team satisfied it was this: After winning their first five games by an average of 4.6 points, the Vikings pulled away from the Jaguars and did not have this one come down to the wire.
The Vikings will now look ahead to their nationally televised Sunday night game against the Chicago Bears next week in the Metrodome. The Bears (6-5) also won Sunday and are tied with the Vikings (6-5) for the NFC North lead. If the Vikings are going to win this division for the first time this game will be huge. That’s because the Bears already own a victory over the Vikings and a series sweep would wipe out Minnesota in a tie-breaker scenario.
The Packers, of course, also are looking to keep pace. Green Bay will play on Monday night in New Orleans and a victory also would put them at 6-5.
A few things that stood out Sunday:
– Coach Brad Childress clearly wasn’t happy with quarterback Gus Frerotte’s attempts to make things happen instead of throwing the ball away. Frerotte was sacked three times and took big hits in two other instances. Near the end of the first half he threw an interception after being two by two Jaguars as he was rolling left. The ball, intended for Jim Kleinsasser, sailed well over the head of the tight end. Childress made it clear he had a “one-sided conversation” with Frerotte about his decision making. “I feel like a lot of that [Frerotte getting beat up] was self-inflicted,” Childress said. “I think when you get out of the pocket you’ve got to throw the football away. I told him so.” Frerotte, 37, didn’t seem upset by the criticism and said of Childress: “He’s the ultimate leader of this team and he’s got to tell me what to do.”
– Ryan Longwell set a team record with his fourth field goal of 50-plus yards. His 54-yarder was the longest ever in Jacksonville Stadium. He went 3-for-3 despite poor field conditions.
– Jaguars center Brad Meester admitted that he simply forgot quarterback David Garrard was lined up in shotgun on the first play. The ball hit his keister and fell to the ground. Napoleon Harris was near the line and showing blitz but was about to drop into pass coverage when he saw the ball lying on the ground.
– Punter Chris Kluwe said he got hit in the sternum on that nasty hit by Gerald Sensabaugh. Kluwe was able to laugh about if after the game, saying it tied for the hardest hit he has ever received.
– Adrian Peterson said he understood and accepted Brad Childress’ decision to bench him for two series for being late to a team meeting on Saturday. Peterson also sang the praises of Chester Taylor, who continued to be a valuable third-down receiver.
– Bernard Berrian said he was excited to return punts, which he hasn’t done since 2006 in Chicago. He said the coaching staff told him earlier in the week that they wanted to get him more involved so they also used him on two end-around runs.
– The Jaguars were five of seven on third down at one point. But they converted only one of their final seven chances. Conversely, the Vikings were 1-for-8 before going 3-for-3 on third down on the touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
– That was Pat Williams playing defensive end late in the game. He asked line coach Karl Dunbar to let him play that spot. He got around right tackle Tony Pashos, but Garrard hurried a throw that was intercepted by Madieu Williams. Pashos was called for holding four times.