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Frazier wins Viking debut, top 'Skins 17-13

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By Howard Fendrich, AP Pro Football Writer

LANDOVER, Md.(AP) — After scrambling 10 yards on his creaky legs for a key first down, Brett Favre popped up with one of his shoulder pads flapping around and started leaping on teammates for hugs.

Moments later, the Minnesota Vikings' 17-13 victory Sunday over the Washington Redskins complete, Favre went over to new coach Leslie Frazier and handed him the football.

Favre was perfect on two scoring drives, and Minnesota won Frazier's NFL head coaching debut despite Adrian Peterson's early right ankle injury.

Favre went 3 for 3 on Minnesota's opening possession, which ended with Peterson's 5-yard touchdown run. The 41-year-old quarterback was 5 for 5 on the first drive of the second half, capped by a 5-yard TD from rookie Toby Gerhart, who took over after Peterson left in the second quarter.

Favre weaved around to run for a first down on third-and-8 right before the two-minute warning, allowing the Vikings (4-7) to run out the clock and end their nine-game road losing streak, which began in November 2009. It also made them winners less than a week after firing coach Brad Childress and promoting defensive coordinator Frazier, perhaps hoping for the sort of immediate bump the Dallas Cowboys got when they went from Wade Phillips to replacement Jason Garrett.

And they did it even though Peterson was stuck testing his injured right ankle on the sideline, and Favre was dealing with a litany of health issues.

Favre finished 15 for 23 for 172 yards - and for only the second game this season, he did not throw an interception. Gerhart carried 22 times for a career-high 76 yards and a score; his NFL total was 86 yards rushing coming into this game.

The Redskins (5-6) came in with a host of injuries, and after a solid opening drive, they weren't able to do much on offense. Donovan McNabb finished 21 for 35 for 211 yards, one TD and one interception, his career-worst 13th of the season.

After its successful start - McNabb was 8 for 8 on the 83-yard drive that ended with his 10-yard completion to Fred Davis - Washington's next seven possessions went like this: punt, punt, punt, end of half, punt, punt, interception.

It wasn't until a 65-yard kick return by Brandon Banks set them up at Minnesota's 28 that the Redskins added some points, on Graham Gano's 40-yard field goal that pulled the hosts within 17-10 about 1 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter.

On Washington's next drive, McNabb's 45-yard pass to a sliding Anthony Armstrong was followed by a 42-yard kick by Gano, making it 17-13.

Banks later had an apparent 77-yard punt return for a touchdown wiped out because of a blocking penalty on Perry Riley, and the Vikings held on by handing the ball to Gerhart.

Late in the first quarter, Peterson topped 1,000 yards for the season, something he's done in each of his four years in the NFL. But about five minutes into the second quarter, he was helped off, hobbling, with his helmet in hand, after getting crunched by tacklers on a 1-yard gain.

He got treatment on his right ankle on the sideline, and while the Vikings initially announced his return was probable, they later downgraded that to questionable. Peterson never did get back on the field. For a while, he stood on the sideline with his helmet on, testing his taped ankle by bouncing on it and occasionally sidling up near Frazier, as if trying to whisper, ''Psssst. Put me in.''

The Redskins had their own running back troubles and ran for only 29 yards. Clinton Portis went on season-ending injured reserve during the week, and his top replacement, Ryan Torain, was inactive with a hurt hamstring, so Washington unveiled some new wrinkles.

On their opening drive, they used a wildcat formation with direct snaps to Banks while McNabb lined up as a wideout. Banks ran twice for 6 yards on those plays. Later in the half, wideout Santana Moss lined up in the backfield and caught a swing pass for 11 yards.

Frazier wore a bright purple Vikings jacket with yellow piping, along with a Vikings baseball hat, and stood for much of the game with his arms folded across his chest, although he did greet Favre and Peterson with handshakes and backslaps after Minnesota's opening TD. At one point, Frazier pulled linebacker E.J. Henderson aside for a talking-to.

Maybe it worked, because Henderson later intercepted McNabb at Washington's 9, setting up Ryan Longwell's 31-yard field goal, putting the Vikings ahead 17-7 in the last minute of the third quarter.

Game stats

Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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