Minnesota (9-6) scored on its first drive of the game when QB Christian Ponder hit TE Kyle Rudolph for a 3-yard touchdown. Those seven points were all the Vikings needed as the defense shut down Houston's offense all afternoon.
The Texans (12-3) managed just 179 total yards and 32 rushing yards, failing to capitalize on an opportunity to clinch the top seed in the AFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was held in check for the majority of the game. He finished with 25 carries for 86 yards and has 1,898 rushing yards this season, 207 yards shy of Eric Dickerson's single-season record.
It was Peterson's lowest output since a 38-26 loss at Washington on Oct. 14. However, the defense and K Blair Walsh compensated.
Walsh made all three of his field goals, including a 56-yard kick in the second quarter. He has made nine field goals of at least 50 yards this season, an NFL record.
Ponder threw for 174 yards and a touchdown while also running for 48 yards. Ponder made plays throughout the game, converting numerous third downs with his arm or his feet.
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported Foster told teammates and associates after the game that he is fine. The irregular heartbeat is not believed to be serious, and no further testing has been scheduled.
When the game turned: The Texans were driving early in the second quarter, trailing 7-3. Foster took a handoff on second-and-7 from Minnesota's 28-yard line. He seemed to have a decent gain, but Vikings LB Jasper Brinkley forced a fumble that was recovered by CB A.J. Jefferson. Minnesota proceeded to drive down the field to kick a field goal, and the Texans could not get back on track offensively.
Highlight moments: Walsh hit a 56-yard field goal in the second quarter, tying a franchise record for longest field goal in team history… Texans DE J.J. Watt sacked Ponder in the third quarter, forcing a fumble in the process. LB Bradie James recovered in Vikings' territory, but Houston's offense could not capitalize on the field position.
- Vikings K Walsh: 3 for 3 on field goals, connecting from 56, 41, and 39 yards
- Vikings QB Ponder: 16 for 30, 174 yards, 1 TD, 48 rushing yards
- Vikings TE Rudolph: 3 catches, 39 yards, 1 TD
- Vikings RB Toby Gerhart: 8 carries, 31 yards, 1 TD
- Texans WR Andre Johnson: 7 catches, 97 yards
- Vikings coach Leslie Frazier: "It's a huge win for our football team considering the circumstances. [The Texans were] playing to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. And here we are fighting for our playoff lives. And for our players to come out and play the way they did, I am so proud of that."
Vikings C John Sullivan on what the win means for the playoff hunt: “It's huge to come out and put two road games together in a row with a win, stay alive in the playoffs—I am not going to go though all the scenarios because I don't know them all—but we know that we're still in it and that we've got something to play for next weekend.”
What they said about Houston's offensive performance:
- Texans coach Gary Kubiak: “Offensively, it was probably about as bad as we've played.”
- Texans QB Matt Schaub, according to Nick Scurfield of HoustonTexans.com: “All the way around, start to finish, we just were not good.”
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Numbers you should know: The Texans were 1-for-10 on third down conversions… Peterson had 61 of his 86 yards on three carries with two rushes for 20 yards each and one for 21… Ponder was sacked just once, when Watt forced the fumble in the third quarter... Watt now has 20.5 sacks this season, two shy of Michael Strahan's single season record.
Injury update: Vikings -- No injuries reported. Texans -- Foster went to the locker room in the third quarter with an irregular heartbeat. OLB Brooks Reed reinjured his groin and left the game in the second half. Reed missed the previous three games with the same injury.
Going forward: Vikings -- Minnesota concludes its regular season with a home game against Green Bay. The Vikings lost 23-14 in Green Bay on Dec. 2. Texans -- The Texans travel to face the Colts in their regular-season finale. Indianapolis already has clinched a playoff spot with its win over Kansas City on Sunday. Houston could have more on the line with the top seed in the AFC still up for grabs.
Follow Texans blogger Sean Bielawski on Twitter @CBSTexans.