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Vikings' players of the week: Week One

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Posted Sept. 12, 2011 @ 6:14 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Here are the Vikings' top offensive, defensive and special-teams players in Week One.

Offense: RB Adrian Peterson

Sixteen carries isn't nearly enough, but he totaled 98 yards, including a sidewinding 46-yarder to set up the short TD pass to Michael Jenkins. The fact that the Vikings had so many short drives contributed to the fact that Peterson had a mere 18 touches after getting nearly 19 rushes per game last season. Despite the offensive line's rough afternoon, Peterson ran hard and ground out yards, especially early.

Defense: DE Jared Allen

Kudos to Antoine Winfield (10 tackles, interception, forced fumble), E.J. Henderson (nine tackles, three for losses, one sack) and Brian Robison (three tackles, half a sack, pass defensed), who made a number of plays in the first three quarters. But it was Allen who had the best day overall with several outstanding plays. In the first quarter, he dropped in coverage on a zone blitz, sniffed out the drag route to TE Antonio Gates and dropped him like a bad habit. A play later, Allen put a hard upfield move on OLT Marcus McNeill, a former Pro Bowler, and cut back inside to take down Philip Rivers along with Robison, splitting the sack. In the third quarter, Allen made his best play of the game. He followed RB Ryan Mathews out into the flat on a wheel route, step for step, fooling Rivers after the initial upfield rush and made an acrobatic interception. Allen finished with six tackles.

Special teams: RS Percy Harvin

It was a one-off performance by Harvin, who begged the coaches to be on the kickoff-return team and rewarded them with a 103-yard score to start the game, but what a play it was. Harvin took the ball three yards deep in the endzone, ran straight up the middle where the blocking scheme was set up, broke through one tackle attempt, cut to the left and broke through two more before it was off to the races. Yes, that was his only attempt on the day as Lorenzo Booker ran one back and Everson Griffen took a kick when the Chargers pooched one. But the effect was felt on a day that the Vikings struggled mightily offensively.

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