The Minnesota Vikings rallied from a 13-point second half deficit – despite the loss of starting quarterback Christian Ponder to injury – and held off the Washington Redskins on a last second goal line stand to earn their first victory on American soil this season.
Robert Griffin III’s fourth down pass to Santana Moss from the Minnesota 4-yard line was incomplete as Moss couldn’t gain possession in the corner of the endzone before falling out-of-bounds to give the Vikings a 34-27 victory on Thursday night.
The Redskins scored 17 straight points to take a 27-14 lead in the third quarter. Griffin hit Jordan Reed for an 11-yard touchdown and Logan Paulson for a 1-yard score in the final six minutes of the second quarter. Kai Forbath added a 40-yard field goal just six minutes into the second half to extend the lead but Washington wouldn’t score again.
Ponder connected with John Carlson for a 28-yard touchdown to pull within a score and led the Vikings back to the Washington 1-yard line before getting injured diving for the endzone. Adrian Peterson capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 28-27 lead. Matt Cassel replaced Ponder at quarterback and led two field goal drives for the Vikings to give Minnesota a seven-point lead with 3:36 left to play.
But the Redskins would get one more shot. Griffin kept the ball on a read-option on 4th and 1 near midfield to keep their drive alive. The Vikings curiously took a pair of timeouts on defense to stop the clock for the Redskins after Griffin hit Roy Helu across the middle for a 6-yard gain and again after a handoff to Helu moved Washington to the Vikings’ 4-yard line. Washington had no timeouts remaining of their own.
Minnesota managed to make it work anyway. Griffin’s second down pass to Jordan Reed slipped from his grasp in the endzone and ensuing incompletions to Pierre Garcon and Moss dashed the Redskins’ hopes for overtime.
The Vikings only victory prior to Thursday night had come in London against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4.