The 3-12 Minnesota Vikings showed that even without its star running back and starting quarterback, they’re still better than the Washington Redskins. Washington fell to 5-10 in a 33-26 home loss at FedEx Field on Dec. 24 in one of the most bizarre games of a ruined season.

They lost to a team that was on a six-game losing streak despite a 132-yard day from backup rookie running back Evan Royster and a 284-yard passing day from incumbent starter Rex Grossman.

Things were looking up when Kicker Graham Gano’s 26-yard field goal tied it at 10-all just seconds before halftime. The Redskins took the lead at the top of the third quarter on another Gano field goal before allowing Minnesota to run off back-to-back touchdown drives. By the time the third quarter closed, the worse team in the NFC had Washington on the ropes.

Minnesota lost running back Adrian Peterson to a knee injury and quarterback Christian Ponder to a concussion minutes into the second half but backup running back Toby Gerhart and second-string Joe Webb filled in admirably. Webb’s three second-half touchdowns kept the Vikings’ offense on schedule and sent a disgruntled FedEx crowd home for the holidays. Washington had a chance to tie when they were down by a touchdown with a 1:27 left but Grossman’s Hail Mary pass sailed long on fourth down.

Washington will travel to Philadelphia to close the season out against the suddenly resurgent Eagles, a team that defeated the Redskins earlier in the season. Next weekend could be Grossman’s last game as a Redskin with the team heavily expected to draft a quarterback in the 2012 NFL Draft.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO