It was the streaking statistic that was updated weekly and used by local reporters to bash coach Leslie Frazier over the head with. To Frazier's delight, the streak is over. The Vikings finally intercepted a pass.
After going nine games without an interception – a record since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger – safety Mistral Raymond
actually caught a horrendously overthrown ball from Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman
in the Vikings' 33-26 win on Saturday.
"It felt so good," Frazier said. "I told the coaches on the headset, 'Hey, thank you. I don't have to deal with the interception questions going forward.'"
From Jamarca Sanford's interception in the closing minute of the Week 5 win over the Cardinals to Raymond's pick on Saturday, the Vikings went 593 minutes, 37 seconds of game clock without an interception. Opposing quarterbacks completed 209 of 296 passes (70.1 percent) for 2,640 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Frazier gave a game ball from Saturday's win to the team's former longtime trainer and current historian Fred Zamberletti. Zamberletti, 69, had attended every game in the team's 51-year history before missing Saturday's game because of illness. Including preseason, regular season and postseason, Zamberletti's streak was 1,049 games.
Frazier said Zamberletti told him, "Bring back a win.
"He said it with his voice breaking, and it was really emotional for me," Frazier added. "I shared that with our players. As you know, Fred is extremely loyal."
RB Adrian Peterson was 30 yards short of his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season when his season ended with a torn the ACL and MCL on the first play of the second half at Washington. He's also 66 yards short of Robert Smith's career franchise rushing record of 6,818. The Vikings are optimistic that Peterson can return in time for the start of the 2012 regular season.
WR Greg Camarillo most likely doesn't have a future with the team. The Vikings will need to significantly upgrade their receiver position, and Camarillo is an older veteran slot receiver. He does, however, give the Vikings everything he's got. He went up on Saturday and grabbed a ball before being upended and coming down hard. The catch, his only one of the game, went for 14 yards.
DE Jared Allen is one game from leading the NFL in sacks for a second time. He had 15.5 in 2007, his last year with the Chiefs. Heading into Week 17, he has 18.5 and leads Philadelphia's Jason Babin and Dallas' DeMarcus Ware, who have 18 apiece. Allen is 2.5 sacks from the team record of 21 set by Chris Doleman in 1989.
DE Brian Robison plays in Allen's considerable shadow. But he's quietly put together a good year in his first season as a starter. He holds his own against the run and also has a career-high seven sacks. He had a sack, strip and fumble recovery on one play against the Redskins. Other players in the league with seven sacks include Washington's Brian Orakpo and the Giants' Osi Umenyiora.
RB Caleb King, who once was a promising prospect out of Georgia, might get a chance to carry the ball some in Sunday's season finale. King was signed as an undrafted rookie after sitting out Georgia's 2011 season because of academics. The 220-pound back was promoted from the practice squad when Adrian Peterson was placed on injured reserve.
TE Kyle Rudolph, a rookie second-round draft pick, caught his third touchdown pass of the season. He is tied for fourth on the team with 23 receptions. He has 234 yards for a 10.2-yard average. Not great numbers, but he has shown enough to prove he's the team's tight end of the future. He's also, for what it's worth, the first player with the last name "Rudolph" to score a point in NFL history.
The Vikings' win made Leslie Frazier happy, but his team getting an interception – finally – was another source of joy.
The Vikings getting an interception – finally – was another source of joy for Leslie Frazier.