The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

September 29, 2013

Vikings hold on for first win of season

Jennings, Peterson have big days for Minnesota

LONDON — Greg Jennings showed that the Vikings have someone other than Adrian Peterson who can make big plays.

Jennings and Peterson provided the kind of 1-2 punch Minnesota had been hoping for when it signed the wide receiver in the offseason, and each scored two touchdowns in a 34-27 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at London's Wembley Stadium for the Vikings' first victory of the season.

"It would have been a long flight back to take after a loss," Jennings said. "It was a special day. To do this at Wembley Stadium is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Not so for the Steelers, who fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1968. That's a hole only one team has dug itself out of to make the playoffs, the San Diego Chargers in 1992.

So much for the city of Big Ben giving a lift to Ben Roethlisberger.

"We are in unchartered territories and the water is dangerous right now, so we have to stick together and get out of it," Roethlisberger said. "Right now, you could say we're the worst team in the league. That hurts."

In one of the most entertaining NFL games yet in the annual International Series in London, Jennings provided the biggest highlight — breaking several tackles on a 70-yard catch-and-run that opened up a 10-0 lead for the Vikings (1-3) in the first quarter.

"You throw a 5-yard hitch, and he goes 70 yards," said quarterback Matt Cassel, who started in place of the injured Christian Ponder. "It makes your job a lot easier. Those guys made plays all night."

Not to be outdone, Peterson ran for a 60-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

They still needed a big stop from the defense in the closing moments, when Everson Griffen stripped Roethlisberger of the ball on the 6-yard line with 19 seconds left and Kevin Williams recovered the fumble to seal the victory.

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