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10/08/2012 5:33 AM EDT
Harvin, Vikings take down Titans 30-7 to go to 4-1
MINNESOTA 30, TENNESSEE 7
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Percy Harvin had the Tennessee Titans asking
There's no let-up in his game, though, and the Minnesota Vikings
aren't slowing down, either.
Harvin had one touchdown rushing and another receiving to help
the Vikings keep up their commanding start to the season with a
30-7 victory over the Titans on Sunday, their first three-game
winning streak in almost three years.
Harvin caught eight passes for 108 yards for the Vikings (4-1),
who have given up a combined 33 points in winning three straight
games. Christian Ponder threw his first two interceptions after
143 attempts without one this year, but he still finished 25 for
35 for 258 yards and two scores against the reeling Titans
(1-4), the latest team that couldn't contain Harvin.
"You're in awe watching him," Ponder said.
Harvin's second score put the seal on this one, a highlight-reel
catch and run to add to his already-impressive collection of
video clips. Grabbing a quick pass at the line of scrimmage --
it's called a "bubble" screen play -- Harvin used the same
hesitation move twice to get overeager defenders to fly past him
before bouncing into the end zone. He said afterward some of the
Titans players were pleading with him to slow down.
"Around here we count for every yard," Harvin said. "In all our
meetings, if you run out of bounds, you're going to have a coach
look at you funny. We want every yard. Every yard's precious.
The yard is hard to come by, so I want all of them."
Adrian Peterson charged his way for 88 yards on 17 carries for
the Vikings, another strong performance on his surgically
repaired left knee. That was a stark contrast to the 24 yards
Chris Johnson managed on 15 tries, often stutter-stepping at the
line, trying fruitlessly to find room.
"It doesn't look good right now. I know we're better than it
looks, but we are how we play," said Matt Hasselbeck, who threw
for one late touchdown pass in place of injured starter Jake
Locker. "The only thing I can say that I know for sure is I know
we can fix it."
The Titans host Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
"You don't have time to feel sorry for yourself," coach Mike
Munchak said, adding: "Maybe that's the best thing for us, that
we're playing in four days against a good team."
Hasselbeck was intercepted by Antoine Winfield in the second
quarter, setting up Vikings rookie Blair Walsh for the first of
his three field goals.
"It's hard to come up with answers when you keep getting the
same results," said tight end Jared Cook, who had the only
Ponder was picked off by Robert Johnson right in front of the
goal line near the end of the first half and by Jordan Babineaux
on the first play of the third quarter, but he went 12 for 13
after that, finding Kyle Rudolph in double coverage in the
fourth quarter to give the Vikings their highest score this
"I shook it off and moved on. That's part of the role," Ponder
Ponder didn't complete a pass longer than 29 yards in any of the
first four games, but he floated a perfect pass up the sideline
to Harvin for a 45-yard gain in the first quarter. The
fourth-year do-it-all wide receiver then took an inside handoff
and pounded his way into the end zone four plays later from 4
Throw in last week's opening kickoff return for a touchdown, and
Harvin is building a case to be a non-traditional Most Valuable
Player award candidate. Not bad for a guy who asked for a trade
during minicamp in June. Coach Leslie Frazier helped talk him
through his frustration this summer.
"To bring a championship to Minnesota, that's exactly what he
wants and that's what I want," Frazier said. "And as long as all
our players feel the same way, there are no problems that we
can't work through."
NOTES: Peterson rolled his left ankle on the second play of the
game, blaming that for distracting his focus. "I came out and
did all right in the second half, but I've just got to do
better," said Peterson, whose runs of 34 and 22 yards were his
two longest of the season. Backup Toby Gerhart had a 22-yard
gain, too, also his longest of the year. ... Titans RB Javon
Ringer hurt his left knee and left on a cart in the fourth
quarter. ... Vikings WR Jerome Simpson was bothered by soreness
near his left ankle that kept him from pushing off and didn't
have any catches. "He did a pretty good job, but he wasn't
himself," Frazier said. ... Titans WR Kenny Britt was active
despite being hampered all week by a sprained left ankle. He was
targeted five times but had just two catches for 23 yards. ...
Vikings SS Harrison Smith was ejected for shoving back judge
Steve Freeman out of the way after Freeman tugged Smith away
from a tussle with some Titans players. Smith apologized
afterward. "I should never have been there," he said.
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