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(Saturday, December 24th)
Final Score: Minnesota 33, Washington 26
Landover, MD (Sports Network) - Toby Gerhart and Joe Webb came up huge for the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday.
After losing running back Adrian Peterson and quarterback Christian Ponder on the first two plays of the second half, Gerhart came in and rushed for 109 yards on 11 carries, while Webb threw for 84 yards two touchdown passes, while also running for a score, leading the Vikings to a 33-26 victory over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.
Peterson was lost to a left knee injury after taking a helmet-to-knee hit from Redskins safety DeJon Gomes. He was helped off the field and carted to the locker room once on the sideline. Peterson ran for 38 yards and a score before leaving.
An MRI Saturday night confirmed Minnesota's worst fears - a torn anterior cruciate ligament for Peterson.
Ponder suffered a concussion after being slammed to the turf on a combined sack by London Fletcher and Adam Carriker. He finished with 68 yards on 8- of-13 passing.
Both players did not return to action.
Percy Harvin caught five passes for 65 yards and a score and Kyle Rudolph also caught a touchdown pass for the Vikings (3-12), who snapped a six-game losing streak, their worst skid since the 1984 campaign.
"It was a great job by our guys, just a terrific win by our team to come on the road in the month of December," Vikings head coach Leslie Frasier said. "We battled right to the end and I was very appreciative of the effort we gave today on a short week."
Rex Grossman threw for 284 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 26- of-41 passing for the Redskins (5-10), while Evan Royster had a huge day on the ground, running for 132 yards and on 19 carries.
"I was pretty happy with the way I played," Royster said. "I think we did a great job up front and I think we played pretty well on offense, we just have to capitalize in the red zone."
Graham Gano kicked four field goals, while Jabar Gaffney caught six passes for 77 yards and a touchdown, and Donte Stallworth caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.
With the game tied at 23 early in the fourth quarter, Minnesota began its eventual game-winning drive from the 28, and efficiently went 72 yards in six plays before Webb found Harvin on an eight-yard touchdown strike to put the Vikings on top, 30-23.
A 23-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell with 4:05 to play in regulation put Minnesota up by 10, 33-23, and Gano was good from 47 yards out to cut it to seven, 33-26, but the Vikings held on for the win.
On the Redskins' second possession of the game, Minnesota's defense came up with a big play as Grossman was sacked and lost the ball. It was recovered by Brian Robison at the Washington 20.
Faced with a short field, Minnesota was unable to punch the ball into the end zone, running three plays for a total of two yards. Longwell connected on a 36-yard field goal to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead.
Minnesota bridged the first and second quarters with an impressive 13-play, 68-yard drive, which was helped by a neutral zone infraction on Washington on 4th-and-4, giving the Vikings a fresh set of downs. Peterson capped the march with a one-yard plunge up the middle for the touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
Washington responded on its next possession with a seven-play, 60-yard drive. Grossman connected with Stallworth on a five-yard touchdown strike to make it 10-7 with 10:46 left until half.
A 26-yard field goal by Gano with 1:02 remaining knotted the game at 10.
Washington began its first drive of the second half from the Vikings' 39, but could only make it to the 35 before Gano was true from 53 yards out to give the Redskins a 13-10 lead.
After a disastrous first drive for the Vikings, in which they lost Peterson and Ponder on consecutive plays, Webb and Gerhart stepped up for Minnesota on its second drive of the second half.
Starting from their 25, Gerhart broke a huge 67-yard run down to the Washington 8, and Webb scrambled nine yards into the end zone two plays later to put Minnesota up 17-13 with 9:23 to go in the third quarter.
But Washington responded on its next possession with a seven-play, 43-yard drive, capped by a four-yard strike from Grossman to Gaffney to give the Redskins the lead again, 20-17.
Minnesota then came up with an answer of its own on the next drive, going 73 yards in six plays before Webb connected with Rudolph on a 17-yard touchdown pass to swing the lead back to the Vikings, 23-20, with 2:41 to go in the third.
Gano was good on a 25-yard field goal to finish off a 10-play, 79-yard drive to tie the game at 23 early in the final quarter.
The all-time regular season series between the teams is tied at eight games apiece...Minnesota converted 4-of-11 third down opportunities, while Washington went 3-for-10 on third down...Washington outgained Minnesota, 397-389...The Vikings were 4-for-6 in the red zone, while the Redskins were 2- for-4 inside the 20...Vikings defensive end Jared Allen finished with one sack, bringing his season total to 18 1/2.
12/24 23:24:08 ET