MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Alfred Morris ran for 52 yards and Robert Griffin III threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon to give the Washington Redskins a 10-7 lead over the Minnesota Vikings after one quarter Thursday night.
Griffin completed 6 of 9 passes for 63 yards and Morris averaged a robust 7.4 yards per carry.
Adrian Peterson rushed for 38 yards and a touchdown for the injury-ravaged Vikings, who entered the game having lost four straight. Christian Ponder was 6 for 7 for 50 yards with an interception for Minnesota.
The Redskins had first-and-goal on the 1 on their opening possession, but couldn't punch it in. Morris was stopped on first down and Griffin threw incomplete on the next two plays to help the Vikings escape with a field goal.
The Vikings came right back, taking advantage of a roughing the passer penalty on a completion from Ponder to John Carlson to march down the field. Peterson capped the drive with an 18-yard run to put the Vikings up 7-3.
But Morris ripped off a 26-yard run off right tackle to set up Griffin's screen pass to Garcon.
This is right about the time the Redskins made their move last season, and they're hoping to follow a similar path this season. They lost six of their first nine games last season before ripping off seven straight victories to surge to the NFC East title. They came into the game Thursday night at 3-5, but in the underwhelming division where the Cowboys' 5-4 record is good enough for first place, a repeat is well within reach.
Griffin has been predictably up and down while coming back from a torn ACL. He said this week that he feels like he's getting closer to the dynamic dual threat he was when he burst into the league as a rookie last season.
As shaky has Griffin has been at times during his recovery, the Vikings would love to be in the Redskins' shoes when it comes to the game's most important position. As long as Griffin stays healthy, the Redskins have their answer at quarterback for the next decade.
The Vikings have no idea where they're going at quarterback. Ponder started the first three games of the season, all losses, sat out the fourth with an injury and eventually lost his job to backup Matt Cassel. Cassel was benched after two starts in favor of Josh Freeman, who was signed after being cut by the Buccaneers. When Freeman was abysmal against the Giants, the Vikings went back to Ponder, a dizzying QB carousel that shows no signs of stopping.
The embattled Ponder got off to a terrible start on the first drive, getting sacked and then throwing deep down the field into double coverage and getting intercepted by Brandon Meriweather. The crowd quickly booed Ponder and Kai Forbath put the Skins up early with a 20-yard boot.
The Vikings were missing five starters due to injury: cornerback Chris Cook, safety Jamarca Sanford, right tackle Phil Loadholt, left guard Charlie Johnson and tight end Kyle Rudolph and only had 45 players dress for the game.