Frerotte struggles, but remains poised

By Guy N. Limbeck

MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte was the first to admit that he played a poor game on Sunday against Green Bay. But the veteran showed his poise on the winning touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

Trailing 27-21 with 4:33 to play, the Vikings faced a third-and-1 from their own 40. The Vikings were down to one time-out at that point and appeared to be struggling to get the crucial third-down play off. And technology was part of the problem.

At that point the communication radio signal in Frerotte’s helmet went dead. Frerotte said that will happen "once or twice a game."


"You never know in a critical situation when that will happen," Frerotte said. He said teammates were yelling, "Just sneak it. Just sneak."

Instead Frerotte looked to the sidelines and got the play from third-string quarterback John David Booty. Frerotte quickly got the offense up to the line and flipped a 5-yard pass to Bobby Wade for a first down. Four plays later, the Vikings were in the end zone for the winning score.

Frerotte’s accuracy was extremely poor all day long and he threw to the wrong receiver on several occasions. He finished 15-for-28 for 151 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.

"In the end it was a sweet victory," Frerotte said. "I’m going to take it and run with it."

THE WINNING TD: Adrian Peterson sliced his way through the Packers all day on Sunday, but until late in the game, he hadn’t reached the end zone. On the Vikings’ next to last drive, Peterson fumbled the ball on a fourth-and-1 play from the Minnesota 41. The Vikings recovered, but the Packers took over on downs and converted a field goal to increase the lead to 27-21.

"The defense came out and held them to three and gave us an opportunity," Peterson said.

The Vikings cashed in, driving 69 yards for the winning score. Peterson accounted for 64 of those yards, 24 receiving and 40 rushing.

"The whole game the guys were telling me, ‘Be patient,’ " Peterson said.


On the winning TD he squirted through a hole created by linemen Ryan Cook and Anthony Herrera and then got a downfield block from tight end Jim Kleinsasser.

"I just pressed the hole and the front side was wide open," Peterson said.

His 192 yards rushing was the most ever by a Vikings back against the Packers. He also became the first Vikings player to rush for 1,000 yards in his first two seasons.

LAST DRIVE: After the Vikings scored to take a 28-27 lead, the Packers had a 31-yard kick return by Will Blackmon to the 31. That was followed by Aaron Rodgers’ 19-yard pass to Donald Driver after Vikings lineman Otis Grigsby tipped the ball in the air. But the Packers managed just six more yards and had to settle for a 52-yard field goal try, which Mason Crosby pushed just wide right.

"I thought they were going to try to get the ball closer," Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said. "That’s what I think most teams would do in that situation. Maybe they thought they were going to catch us off guard."

TAYLOR DELIVERS: Chester Taylor had his best all-around game of the season for the Vikings. The backup running back had a modest 29 yards rushing on 10 carries. But he caught four passes for 84 yards. No catch was bigger than his 47-yard touchdown with 10:31 left in the third quarter to give the Vikings a 21-10 lead.

On the play, Taylor took a short pass from Frerotte near the sidelines on a third-and-5 play. He deked a defender and raced down the sidelines for his first receiving TD of the season.

"I knew he was going to take it to the end zone," Peterson said. "I’ve seen that little jab stop (before)."


SACK MASTERS: The Vikings had back-to-back sacks of Rodgers to halt the second Packers drive. Linebacker Napoleon Harris had a sack on second down on a blitz and defensive end Brian Robison had a sack on third down. After that the young quarterback, making his first start in the noisy Dome, appeared rattled.

"That is your goal as a defense," Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway said, "to put a little fear in the quarterback and the receivers going across the middle." Greenway had a team-high seven tackles and one of the Vikings’ four sacks.

GORDON INJURY: Vikings cornerback Charles Gordon suffered a severe ankle injury when returning a punt with 7:35 left in the second quarter. Coach Brad Childress said Gordon needed a pin inserted into his ankle after his leg was twisted back awkwardly. He will likely be lost for the season.

BERRIAN BLANKED: Bernard Berrian entered the game with touchdowns in four straight games and more than 100 yards receiving in three of those games. But he was a non-factor.

Berrian was held without a catch in the game. He was wide open for a possible 71-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, but Frerotte badly overthrew him on the play.

"They are going to put guys man-to-man on receivers and they are going to take some of the things away," Frerotte said. "We were trying to work other people against them and it ended up being that our running game was the best part of the offense today."

Frerotte completed just four passes to wide receivers in the game for a mere 27 yards.

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