MINNEAPOLIS — Jarius Wright just had to make one good move. Then, he had plenty of room to run.
Wright’s 87-yard touchdown reception from Teddy Bridgewater in overtime gave the Minnesota Vikings a 30-24 victory over former teammate Percy Harvin and the New York Jets on Dec. 7.
After forcing the Jets to punt to start the extra period, the Vikings faced third-and-5. Bridgewater was blitzed and threw high on a bubble screen pass to his right. Wright jumped for the off-balance grab, slipped by Jaiquawn Jarrett and outran defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson the rest of the way.
Harvin had a 35-yard touchdown reception and a 47-yard kickoff return while finishing with 124 yards on six catches, but he hurt his ankle on a hard hit by Josh Robinson late in the fourth quarter and didn’t return.
This was his first game in Minnesota in more than two years after playing his first 3 1/2 seasons with the Vikings (6-7), who beat the Jets for the first time in eight matchups since 1975.
Gerald Hodges returned an interception thrown by Geno Smith for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, but the much-maligned second-year quarterback bounced back for the Jets (2-11) by going 18 for 29 for 254 yards and tallying 33 yards rushing on six attempts. Smith was just 7 of 13 for 49 yards against Miami in the last game.
Richardson had a safety among his three sacks, but Bridgewater wasn’t rattled by that big hit he took in his own end zone in the first quarter. He finished 19 for 27 for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Charles Johnson caught the first one for 56 yards and totaled 103 yards on four receptions.
Nick Folk’s fifth field goal tied the game at 24 with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter. That came after Wright had a 23-yard run on a reverse to set up a 20-yard make by Blair Walsh, who missed his two other attempts including a 56-yarder as time expired in regulation.
The Vikings, agitated by their increasing struggles stopping the run, were ready for the pounding and kept both Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson under control.
The Jets were still better with the ball than they’d been in a while. After crossing their opponent’s 20 only once each over the last two weeks, they made it that far three times in the first half. Ivory fumbled at the 2 midway through the second quarter, though, and their only touchdown of the game was Harvin’s haul in front of Josh Robinson.
Booed every time his name was announced, Harvin hobbled off the field after taking a hard hit from Robinson as he neared the sideline. Harvin’s last scoring reception was for the Vikings on Oct. 25, 2012, against Tampa Bay, also the last time he played in Minnesota.
Cordarrelle Patterson, the player the Vikings drafted last year to take Harvin’s place, was again a nonfactor with the offense and fumbled two kickoffs. He lost one that set up one of Folk’s field goals and on the other was ruled down by contact.
With the Vikings well off the cusp of playoff contention, Bridgewater’s progress has been quiet, but the strides have been clear. Deep-throw accuracy remains a question about the rookie, but there was Bridgewater tossing a perfectly placed ball into Johnson’s hands after his new go-to receiver broke free with a stop-and-go move on Darrin Walls.
Johnson almost scored again in the second quarter, when Bridgewater connected as he was hit for a 22-yard gain to the goal line. Johnson fumbled as he tried to reach across, but Jerome Felton dived between two Jets to recover it in the end zone and give the Vikings a 21-12 lead.
Bridgewater’s first incompletion didn’t come until 5:22 was left before halftime. He threw an interception, but that was a no-risk throw into the end zone on the last play before the break.
(DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Pro Football Writer)