Redskins shut down Vikings
By By JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS — Sean sure would be proud.
Playing the kind of hard-nosed, harder-hitting defense that fallen teammate Sean Taylor was famous for, the Washington Redskins shut down Adrian Peterson and set up two early touchdowns with interceptions to take control of their playoff fate with a 32-21 victory over the sloppy Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night.
Todd Collins was 22-for-29 for 254 yards and two touchdowns and Clinton Portis had 124 total yards, threw a TD pass and ran for another score for the Redskins (8-7), who can clinch the final NFC playoff spot with a win over Dallas next week.
Peterson had nowhere to go all night, gaining just 27 yards on nine carries. Tarvaris Jackson’s rebound from a disastrous start came too little, too late for the Vikings (8-7), who could have clinched a playoff berth with a win.
With homefield advantage already locked up, the Cowboys could rest many of their key players, and a Redskins playoff berth would give Webster a new definition for resilience.
Taylor, the prototype free safety for the new millenium and a revered figure in the Washington locker room, died on Nov. 27 after being shot by burglars at his Florida home.
His death rocked the organization from top to bottom, and the Skins suffered a crushing last-second loss to Buffalo days later — their fourth in a row — to fall to 5-7.
Washington also lost a laundry list of starters to injury this season.
Yet, here they are, winners of three straight thanks to an unrelenting defense and the steady play of Collins, who started his second consecutive game after spending most of the previous 10 years on the bench.
In his first full season as a starter, Tarvaris Jackson has been much more erratic for the Vikings. He was injured and ineffective in the first half of the season as Minnesota got off to a 3-6 start, but poised and efficient in four straight wins following a 34-0 loss at Green Bay.
He took a step back last week, throwing three interceptions and fumbling a handoff with Peterson in a 20-13 win over the Bears. That regression continued this week.
Jackson threw two early interceptions and failed to move the offense as the Vikings fell behind 25-0. He threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jim Kleinsasser in the third quarter and scored on a 6-yard run with just over 10 minutes to go in the game that cut the lead to 25-14.
The Vikings appeared to have new life when Collins fumbled a snap and Kevin Williams recovered near midfield, but Joe Gibbs challenged the play, and the Redskins retained possession when replays showed the Vikings had 12 men on the field.
Jackson added a 1-yard TD run with 1:58 to play, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a first half that couldn’t have gone much worse.
His first pass sailed over Robert Ferguson’s head and into the waiting arms of former Viking Fred Smoot, who returned the interception 47 yards to the Vikings 8.
Mike Sellers was stuffed on fourth-and-goal from the 1, but the Redskins defense responded on the next play by stopping Tony Richardson in the end zone for a safety.
After the free kick, Collins threw an easy 33-yard touchdown pass to Chris Cooley for a 9-0 lead.
Jackson’s second interception, a careless throw when he was under pressure that was picked off by Shawn Springs, set up a 32-yard scoring pass from Collins to Santana Moss.
Portis capped the dominant first half with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Antwaan Randle-El that gave Washington a 22-0 lead at halftime.
Jackson finished 25-of-41 for 241 yards and now his Vikings need some serious help. They need to win at Denver next week and have the Redskins to lose to the Cowboys to make the playoffs.
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