Vikings vs. Texans, Week 16: Minnesota's defense catches attention in rout of Houston

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The offense was adequate, but it was the play of the Viking defense, which held Houston to 178 yards, that carried the day in the Minnesota's 23-6 rout of Houston.

The Minnesota Vikings pulled off a major upset Saturday, dominating the Houston Texans, 23-6, at Reliant Stadium in Houston. If you were to look only at Minnesota's offensive stat line, you would come away unimpressed. Adrian Peterson was held to only 86 yards rushing, ending a streak of eight straight 100 yard games. The Vikings gained a pedestrian 345 yards of total offense. It wasn't a bad performance, just not one you'd think of as good enough to go on the road and outscore one of the best offenses in the NFL.

However, it was Minnesota's defense that really impressed. The Vikings' defense bottled up the Houston run game for 54 yards rushing, and allowed only 187 total yards. Houston, playing at home and needing a win to clinch the top seed in the AFC Playoffs, managed to score just two field goals. Needless to say, Christopher Gates of The Daily Norseman was more than happy with the performance of the Vikings' defense:

But the story of that drive. . .and the story of the whole afternoon for the Vikings, quite frankly. . .was the play of the defense. The Houston Texans entered Sunday's contest as the third-highest scoring team in the National Football League, averaging 28.1 points per game, and they got on the board first with a 51-yard Shayne Graham field goal. After that, though, Alan Williams' group was dominant in every facet of the game. Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub was frustrated all afternoon, going 18-of-32 for 178 yards and no scores. The Vikings also sacked Schaub four times on the afternoon. None of those four sacks was bigger than the one that came courtesy of the breakdancing king himself, Fred Evans, on a third-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line that forced the Texans to settle for their second field goal of the game.

Even more impressive was the job the Vikings did against Houston's rushing attack, holding the Texans to a measly 34 yards on 16 carries, including just 15 yards on 10 carries. Foster left the game in the second half with what was called an "illness," but that Texans' coach Gary Kubiak after the game said was an irregular heartbeat. Hopefully Foster is going to be okay. . .he's a heck of a player, but the Vikings had his number on Sunday, along with the numbers of the entire Texans offense.

Minnesota improved to 9-6 with the victory, keeping them alive for a playoff berth. They host the Packers next week in the season finale, scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on FOX.

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