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Other Week 7 Game Recaps

Week 7 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 27

Minnesota Vikings

QB Brett Favre, Pass: 34 - 51 - 334 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0

Favre had a good game, despite the losing effort. For much of the game, the Steeler defense harassed him and forced him to make quick throws under pressure. However, the Steelers also seemed to take away the throws underneath the secondary, cutting off the typical dump off throws to Peterson and Taylor that Favre had used to beat people earlier in the year. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that he finally found his rhythm and had the team clicking. Unfortunately two long drives that ate up a ton of clock and could have given the Vikings the lead ended in turnovers that went for TDS the other way. Favre's fumble was due to the collapse of the pocket, and the ball was swatted out of his hand. On the INT, Chester Taylor miss-handled a short pass that tipped off of his fingers and was intercepted. Favre maintained his composure despite obviously being flustered early and had his team in a position to win the game multiple times in the fourth quarter. They just couldn't get it done.

RB Adrian Peterson, Rush: 18 - 69 - 1, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0

Peterson had a quiet game against a tough Steeler defense. He was stopped behind the line of scrimmage multiple times, and the defense was too fast and dragged him down from behind on several runs to the outside. He was even stuffed on the goal line multiple times. However, he kept chipping away at the defense and eventually broke a couple longer runs off tackle for big gains. His best play came on a short dump pass where he lowered his shoulders and just ran over DB William Gay for a big 26 yard gain. But the Steelers were tough, and Peterson definitely earned every yard that he ran. Ultimately it wasn't enough and the Vikings lost.

RB Chester Taylor, Rush: 3 - 14 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0

Taylor had a quiet game with minimal impact. He came in on the second and long and third and long situations, but the Steelers shut him down and he was not able to get open for those soft screens that burned so many teams earlier in the season. He finished with just four touches for 20 yards. He also miss-handled the short pass from Favre late in the game and tipped it to Pittsburgh for the interception and deciding TD. The pass was a bit high, but Taylor still should have come down with it. It was his most memorable play of the game.

WR Sidney Rice, Rec: 11 - 136 - 0

Sidney Rice cemented his role as the #1 WR for the Vikings in this game. He was all over the field, catching short sideline routes, crossing routes over the middle and deeper passes down the field in tough coverage. Favre looked to him early and often, and when Berrian went down with an injury, Rice became the 'go to' guy. Although he didn't officially reach the end zone, Rice did catch a TD pass in the fourth quarter but it was called back on a questionable tripping penalty. Earlier in that same series, Rice had a 35 yard gain called back due to a holding penalty. He finished the game as the top receiver in receptions and receiving yards.

WR Percy Harvin, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 3 - 42 - 0

Harvin showed now ill effects of the bad shoulder that plagued him the previous two weeks. He was rock solid on his kickoff returns and attacked the defense when he had the ball on offense. Harvin came up big early in the second quarter with a nice 26 yard reception on 3rd and 6. His biggest contribution was in the fourth quarter when the Steelers returned a Brett Favre Fumble for a TD, bringing their lead to 10 points. That could have broken the Vikings' back, but Harvin took the kickoff 88 yards, shaking off a tackle attempt by the kicker for the TD and put the Vikings right back into the game. Favre trusts him more and although they were not able to connect on any of them, Favre looked to Harvin on several deep passes throughout the game. With Berrian sidelined with a hamstring injury, Harvin will certainly see more of the offensive plays coming his way.

WR Bernard Berrian, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0

Berrian was the target of several nice quick screens in the second quarter that he turned into solid gains each time. However, he injured his hamstring shortly after that and did not return to the game.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe, Rec: 4 - 27 - 0

Shiancoe had a quiet game for the Vikings after being a Red Zone target for the last several weeks. The Steelers shut Shiancoe down and he was covered well for most of the game. When balls were thrown his way, he was challenged and they were frequently broken up. When he did manage to make a reception, he was immediately tackled or pushed out of bounds. He finished the game with four receptions, but had only 27 yards receiving and did not see any targets the two times that the Vikings were on the goal line.

Pittsburgh Steelers

QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pass: 14 - 26 - 175 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0

Roethlisberger was more of a game manager than a QB in this contest. The Vikings applied solid pressure up the middle and from the edge, and Big Ben was never able to get his leading receivers into the game. During the first half, both Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes finished with only one reception. It was only Mike Wallace and Heath Miller that saw any real action for most of the game. While Roethlisberger didn't suffer the same fate that Brett Favre did with the interception and the fumble, he was not without his miss-cues. Several incomplete passes could have been picked off and late in the fourth quarter, he had the ball knocked out of his hands but it was kicked out of bounds before it could be recovered. He finished the game with just 14 completions, for 175 yards and a TD. Not the typical numbers we are used to seeing from Big Ben, but good enough for a tough win.

RB Rashard Mendenhall, Rush: 10 - 69 - 0, Rec: 1 - -1 - 0

Mendenhall made the most of his limited opportunities, carrying the ball just 10 times for almost 70 yards. This is even more impressive when you consider the fact that half of his carries were for three yards or less. The play that everyone will remember however, is the second play in the fourth quarter. After a nice catch and run by Santonio Holmes to bring the ball inside the Viking 10 yard line, Mendenhall took a short handoff up the middle for a five yard gain but fumbled it away and the Vikings recovered. Instead of putting Minnesota away for good, the turnover gave them new life and they almost pulled out the victory. Mendenhall was benched on the following series and the Steelers never had another opportunity on offense.

RB Mewelde Moore, Rush: 4 - 14 - 0

Moore saw limited action in the first half, primarily on passing downs. He came in for Mendenhall in the fourth quarter after the costly fumble and had three short carries as the Steelers were trying to control the ball and run out the clock. He did not get a first down and the Steelers were forced to punt.

RB Willie Parker, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0

Parker's turf toe kept him out of action for this game. He had one carry for two yards in the first quarter and did not return after that.

WR Mike Wallace, Rush: 2 - 19 - 0, Rec: 3 - 72 - 1

Mike Wallace was the big offensive weapon for the Steelers in this game. With time winding down in the second quarter, he caught a nice pass over the middle for a 22 yard gain. Big Ben spiked the ball and on the next play, Wallace took a similar pass 40 yards into the end zone for a TD. He also had two solid running plays on designed reverses that went for good gains. He led the Steelers in total yards from scrimmage for the game.

WR Santonio Holmes, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 2 - 59 - 0

Holmes had a nice catch and run to start the fourth quarter, taking a short sideline route 45 yards to the Minnesota 9 yard line. Rashard Mendenhall fumbled the ball away on the next offensive play and Holmes was absent from the stat sheet after that. Holmes reached the end zone on a short 7 yard pass at the end of the first half, but he was only open because Heath Miller knocked down his defender and was flagged for offensive pass interference.

WR Hines Ward, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0

The Vikings were all over Ward the entire game. He had just one reception early in the first quarter and had a few targets that fell incomplete after that. He and Santonio Holmes were non factors in this game.

TE Heath Miller, Rec: 6 - 38 - 0

Miller was the check-down receiver for Big Ben in this game, and he was used a lot on second and long situations. The Vikings took away the outside routes, and were covering the RBs well out of the backfield. Miller found the soft underside of the defense multiple times and turned five second and long situations into five third and short situations. He never quite reached the first down marker, but he always put his team in a position to do it, and made the down and distance much more manageable for the Steelers against a tough, Minnesota defense.