Much praise to:
Tarvaris Jackson. It's not just that he threw 4 touchdown passes; it's that he threw two deep touchdown passes with touch and accuracy. Throughout the day he was accurate and smart. But it's the deep passes that are key: they're important plays to help the team gain yards, and they force defenders to account for the deep pass, opening up room for the running game. If Jackson can continue to play like this, he should continue to be the quarterback for this football team.
Bernard Berrian. He only made two plays, but an 82 yard punt return for a touchdown and a 41 yard TD reception (on 3rd and 15) were the key first quarter plays that put the Vikes out in front.
The Viking Defense. The pass rushers were able to consistently rough up Kurt Warner. But more than that, the secondary did a mostly superb job tackling today. The Cards throw a lot of short passes, and Viking defenders regularly tackled the receiver before he could gain significant yards (the 50 yard touchdown was a notable exception). It was a total defensive effort, but we should single out a few individual efforts:
Cedric Griffin made a lot of great plays today--tackles, deflections, an interception. It might have been his best game of the season.
Chad Greenway was also making a lot of positive plays.
Jared Allen was just one of many Viking pass rushers that was regularly hurrying and hitting Kurt Warner.
Adrian Peterson. 165 yards rushing, he churned out positive yards regularly, and he busted out for long runs. He's now firmly in control of the Viking single-season rushing record.
Bobby Wade. The 59 yard touchdown was notable, but Wade was often making good blocks on off-tackle runs.
Chester Taylor. 103 yards from scrimmage, he was again a big contributor to a Viking win.
Brad Childress. Let's give him credit. Today the Vikings dominated rushing the ball, but had effective passing plays. They played aggressive and well. On a lot of plays I would have thought they'd go conservative, they took shots. He just clinched his first winning season as an NFL head coach.
The Vikings move to 9-5, and finish the season 4-4 on the road. Today was exactly the game many of us hoped for at the beginning of the season: Tarvaris Jackson throwing rarely but effectively, Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor rushing for 200+ yards, the Viking pass rush dominating an opposing QB, and the Vikings winning by three touchdowns on the road against a winning team. Just spectacular. After an 0-2 and 1-3 start, the Vikes now sit at 9-5 with two remaining home games (against tough opponents). Since the bye week, they're 6-1. They won their last four games by 18, 20, 4, and 21 (three of those wins were on the road). Suddenly this team looks good.
What an ecstatic feeling. Skol!