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“There were so many momentum shifts in the last couple of minutes, it seemed like the game would never end,” Cassel said.
Peterson, the NFL’s leading rusher and 2012 MVP, hurt his right foot in the second quarter after catching a short pass and being tackled near the sideline by linebacker Arthur Brown.
“We did X-rays, and it came back pretty clear,” said Peterson, who finished with 13 yards on seven carries. “The next step is to get an MRI done (Monday) and find out more.”
Gerhart gained 89 yards on 15 attempts. Cassel went 17 for 28 yards for 265 yards.
Flacco completed 28 of 50 passes for 245 yards and three interceptions.
“It was unlikely that we win this game today,” he said, “but we did.”
The Vikings took their first lead, 12-7, when Cassel threw an 8-yard pass to Jerome Simpson after an interception by safety Andrew Sendejo. Baltimore then moved to the Minnesota 21 before Vonta Leach was stuffed on a fourth-and-1.
That appeared huge, but the teams had plenty of time left to run up and down the sloppy field.
“You think you’ve seen everything and then a game like this happens,” Tucker said. “To sum it up in one word, it was pandemonium.”
Minnesota went to overtime in each of its previous two games. And then this.
“These losses, you don’t practice this hard to come up short,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “It’s tough for our guys, it’s tough for our staff, it’s very disappointing. You practice and work as hard as we do to get wins, and you’ve got to be able to make those plays to get those wins.”
Before the game and in the first quarter, small tractors with plows and workers with shovels tried to clear the snow, to no avail. After the snow let up, tractors moved it from between the hash marks and shovels cleared the yard lines.
The wet football and messy field had an immediate impact. Flacco underthrew his receiver and was intercepted by Chad Greenway to end the opening possession, and the Vikings‘ second drive ended when Gerhart fumbled. The ball was recovered by safety Matt Elam at the Minnesota 25, and Flacco slipped and skidded for 22 yards before passing to Ed Dickson for a 1-yard touchdown.
It became apparent early that scoring would be difficult, and more so for the Vikings after Peterson left. So Frazier kept his offense on the field on a fourth-and-3 at the Baltimore 38. The Vikings converted to set up a 39-yard field goal by Blair Walsh — a kick that followed a good deal of preparation by holder Jeff Locke, who used a towel to clear the placement spot.
Walsh added a 40-yarder in the third quarter after Cassel completed a 19-yard pass to Greg Jennings.
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