Texans-Vikings running game blog

From the press box - 9:49 p.m.That's it for my in-game blog; I've got to head down to the field before the end of the game.

Tune into Texans TV immediately after the game for Coach Kubiak's live press conference from Reliant Stadium. Also, don't forget to watch Kubiak's press conference on Tuesday live on Texans TV at 3:30 p.m.

From the press box - 9:48 p.m.Rosenfels' first drive ended with a punt after six plays and 21 yards. He was 2-of-3 for 26 yards. The Texans forced the Vikings to punt from the 50-yard line, and will attempt to mount a drive for the tying (or winning) score from their own 12-yard line. Less than five minutes remain in the game.

Alex Brink is in at quarterback. Orlovsky finished 7-of-11 for 74 yard and a pick.

From the press box - 9:43 p.m.Paid attendance was just announced at 70,191.

From the press box - 9:42 p.m.Rosenfels slipped after taking the snap on his second play. Zgonina fell on him for his second sack; he now has three this preseason. The Vikings were penalized for delay of game before they could get off their next play, setting up third-and-18 from the 26. Rosenfels completed a pass for 19 yards to fourth-string tight end Garrett Mills for a first down.

From the press box - 9:40 p.m.Not the best series for Orlovsky. He sandwiched two incompletions around a run for zero yards by rookie Arian Foster. Orlovsky overthrew David Anderson on a deep pass down the right sideline on first down and threw a pass out of reach of rookie tight end James Casey on third down. The Texans punted, and the Vikings have the ball with 8:11 left in the game at their own 34-yard line.

Sage Rosenfels has entered the game for the VIkings. He handed hte ball off on his first play.

From the press box - 9:34 p.m.The Vikings were forced to punt from the Texans' 45-yard line after 39-year-old Jeff Zgonina picked up his second sack of the preseason on third-and-five. Defensive tackle Frank Okam got there first, but Jackson eluded his grasp and Zgonina ended up with the sack. He now has two sacks this preseason for a combined zero yards.

The Texans have the ball at their own 18 with 9:19 left in the game. They still trail 17-10.

From the press box - 9:31 p.m.The Texans were unable to get a first down in two plays after the timeout and punted, resulting in a Vikings touchback with 13:33 left in the game. The Texans had a near-touchdown coming out of the timeout, but Orlovsky overthrew a streaking Andre Johnson down the right sideline just in front of the end zone.

Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson entered the game for the first time, leaving former Texans backup Sage Rosenfels still on the bench. Brett Favre finished 13-of-18 for 142 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked twice and had a 113.7 rating.

From the press box - 9:22 p.m.Facing a second-and-five from the 50, the Texans just burned their second timeout of the half. They have one remaining with 14:20 still left to play.

From the press box - 9:20 p.m.At the end of the third quarter, the Texans trail 17-10. They have the ball at their own 45-yard line with a first down after Orlovsky ran up the middle for a one-yard quarterback sneak on fourth down.

Injury update on Eugene Wilson: He hurt his left knee, and his return is questionable

From the press box - 9:15 p.m.Boos rained down from the rafters here at Reliant Stadium after Favre took out safety Eugene Wilson's knees, diving shoulder-first into them while trying to block for Percy Harvin. Favre was lined up wide on the play because the Vikings were in Wildcat formation. He was penalized 15 uards for an illegal crackback block. Wilson appears to be OK.

On the very next play, Ryans exacted a measure of revenge by leveling running back Albert Young after a seven-yard gain. He now has 16 tackles.

Connor Barwin tipped Favre's pass attempt on third down, jumping up and batting it down to force a punt.

From the press box - 9:08 p.m.Orlovsky threw an interception at four-yard line, ending what had been an impressive drive. He tried to squeeze the ball to a heavily-covered Andre Johnson on a slant route. It was deflected by corner Marcus McCauley and caught by safety Madieu Williams at the four.

Orlovsky was four-for-four for 59 yards before the interception. Texans coach Gary Kubiak talked just last week about Orlovsky showing potential but needing to minimize his mistakes. The interception happened on a first-and-10 from the Minnesota 13-yard line.

Running back Chris Brown gained two yards on the previous play on fourth-and-one from the 15. He was hit
behind the line of scrimmage by defensive tackle Pat Wililams but powered his way forward for the first down.

From the press box - 8:59 p.m.Minnesota won the challenge, and 12 yards were lopped off of Johnson's catch. The 46-yard gain to the 24 still stands as the Texans' longest play from scrimmage of the preseason.

From the press box - 8:53 p.m.Orlovsky is in... and Orlovsky looks good. He just threw a 58-yard bomb down the left sideline to Andre Johnson, who outran cornerback Karl Paymah down to the 12-yard line. Before that, he completed a seven-yard pass to David Anderson and a two-yard pass to Vonta Leach. Orlovsky had great protection on the play and made a perfect pass, hitting Johnson in stride.

The 58-yard pass was the Texans' longest play of the preseason so far, though Minnesota challenged the ruling of the spot by contending that Johnson stepped out of bounds about 10 yards ahead of where the ball was spotted.

From the press box - 8:49 p.m.Dan Orlovsky has replaced Schaub at quarterback to start the second half. Coach Gary Kubiak told SportsRadio 610 that Schaub is fine, but he was going to to go with Orlovsky to start the half. Slaton and the rest of the Texans' starters are still in the game.

From the press box - 8:48 p.m.Halftime by the numbers:

17-10:The score, in favor of the Vikings
231-147: Total yards for both teams, in favor of the Vikings
138-39: Rushing yards for both teams, in favor of the Vikings
117: Yards gained by running back Adrian Peterson, on 11 carries
75: Yards gained by Peterson on the Vikings' first play from scrimmage
2.2: Average gain for running back Steve Slaton, on nine carries
108: Passing yards for Matt Schaub, on 10-of-14 passing with one interception
105: Passing yards for Brett Favre, on 9-of-13 passes with one touchdown
49:Receiving yards for tight end Owen Daniels, which leads all players
13: Tackles for linebacker DeMeco Ryans
2: Sacks by the Texans, by Ryans and Mario Williams

From the press box - 8:38 p.m.
The Texans go into halftime down 17-10 after Kris Brown hit a 46-yard field goal to end the first half. Schaub, who shook off his ankle injury, moved the Texans into scoring range on consecutive passes to David Anderson (20 yards) and Owen Daniels (16 yards). The drive started with only :22 seconds left in the second quarter.

It was just announced that Leach, who injured his knee on Slaton's touchdown run in the second quarter, also will return to the game. The Texans have had some ugly plays, but they're going toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the NFC. They will receive in the second half with a chance to tie the game.

Halftime by the numbers coming up shortly.

From the press box - 8:33 p.m.
The Vikings scored a touchdown on a 28-yard catch by Chester Taylor with :27 left in the half. They lead 17-7.

Taylor was wide open on a screen pass to the right and ran up the sideline untouched until Eugene Wilson gave a failed attempt to push him out of bounds at the five-yard line. Taylor did a stutter step, watched Wilson go by and trotted into the end zone. The play looked eerily similar to the wide-open touchdown catch that Saints running back Pierre Thomas made last week in the same end zone.

The drive covered 74 yards in only 3:11. The Vikings had a first-and-25 from the 50-yard line after two penalties, but Percy Harvin shook a joint tackle attempt by Adibi and Glover Quin on second-and-16 for a 13-yard gain. On the next play, Favre found Taylor for the touchdown, which caused Houston Chronicle writer John McClain (who is sitting right in front of me in the press box) to exclaim, "Terrible, terrible defense. Man, oh, man."

From the press box - 8:23 p.m.The Texans' scoring went 11 plays and 71 yards, taking up 7:00 of game clock. They converted five first downs on the last eight plays of the drive after getting only one first down through the first 19 minutes of the game. The highlight of the drive was Owen Daniels' leaping 15-yard catch at the 11-yard line. Daniels was rocked by safety Madieu Williams in mid-air, but he held on to the ball to give the Texans a first down.

Ryans has more tackles than anybody else in the league this week with two minutes still remaining in the second quarter. Three other players had 10 tackles in games played earlier this week.

From the press box - 8:19 p.m.Leach injured his knee and is going in to get it examined. Schaub sprained his left ankle; his return is probable. Schaub was being looked at by trainers on a training table on the sidelines, and Dan Orlovsky is warming up just in case.

From the press box - 8:12 p.m.Touchdown, Texans, with 3:38 left in the first half. Steve Slaton scored on a four-yard touchdown run up the middle on second-and-three from the four.

Fullback Vonta Leach was on the ground with an injury after the play. He got up after about a minute and limped walked gingerly off the field under his own power but with medical staff at his side.

Notes on the drive and an update on Leach in a second. Schaub also was limping on the drive. We'll see if it was just a cramp or something worth noting.

From the press box - 8:02 p.m.The Texans' defense held the Vikings to six yards in six plays, a drive that ended with a 36-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell. The Vikings now lead 10-0 with 10:38 left in the first half.

Ryans added three more tackles on the drive. There was only one play on the drive that ended in a tackle where Ryans wasn't involved (Zac Diles made a solo tackle on that play). Xavier Adibi deflected Favre's pass over the middle on third-and-goal from the 18, and Ryans dove and nearly made an interception near the goal line.

It looked like the Texans' defense was going to pull off a three-and-out before that, but Adibi was flagged for roughing the passer on third-and-six from the 20. The crowd was not pleased with the call, especially after a replay went over the videoboard. But the Vikings were backed up two plays later by an offensive pass interference penalty on Vikings receiver Bobby Wade.

Texans receiver Kevin Walter injured his right hamstring. His return is questionable.

From the press box - 7:52 p.m.Schaub threw an interception on the second play of the Texans' drive. He attempted a short pass over the middle to Owen Daniels, who was draped in double coverage. Ben Leber made the interception at the 24-yard line.

From the press box - 7:49 p.m.
Ryans sacked Favre for a six-yard loss on a blitz off the right guard on the first play of the second quarter. He made a tackle on the next play, a six-yard run by Chester Taylor on third-and-12. Jacoby Jones called for a fair catch on the 14-yard line on the Vikings' ensuing punt.

Ryans now has eight tackles and a sack. There is still 13:45 remaining in the first half.

From the press box - 7:46 p.m.With 0:27 left in the first quarter, the Texans punted again on their second three-and-out through three series. Running back Chris Brown gained three yards on his first carry. The other plays on the drive (aside from a six-yard Brown run that was nullified by offsetting penalties) were two incomplete passes by Schaub.

The first incompletion came on a play that looked exactly like the Dan Orlovsky fumble at the goal line last week. This one ened in intentional grounding instead of a fumble. Schaub faked a handoff and looked to roll out left to pass to Daniels, but as soon as he turned around, Jared Allen was right there in his face on an unimpeded path to the quarterback. Schaub dumped the ball off in vain just before getting hit and was called for the penalty.

The Vikings outgained the Texans 136-33 in total yards in the first quarter.

From the press box - 7:40 p.m.The Vikings punted after a six-play drive with only a couple of minutes left in the first quarter. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans had five tackles in the six plays, including tackles on three consecutive plays to end the drive.

Ryans has six tackles through 13 Vikings plays. He and Williams, who had a drive-killing sack on the Vikings' second possession, are showing out in front of the primetime viewing audience.

The Vikings are making a concerted effort to get the ball to rookie receiver Percy Harvin. They've thrown him a pass, handed off to him on a reverse and used him at quarterback in the Wildcat formation.

From the press box - 7:30 p.m.The Texans punted after a six-play, 25-yard drive. They got their first first down of the game on a nine-yard completion from Schaub to Andre Johnson on third-and-three from the 22. Schaub also completed passes to Owen Daniels and Steve Slaton for seven yards apiece on the drive. The Vikings are bringing steady pressure on Schaub, already with one sack and a couple of knockdowns through two possessions.

The Texans have been unable to run on the Vikings' top-rated rushing defense so far. Slaton has only four carries on seven yards (1.8 avg.).
From the press box - 7:23 p.m.Super Mario to the rescue. Mario Williams sacked Brett Favre on third-and-two from the Houston 34-yard line, stifling the Vikings' second drive and forcing them to punt. Williams was lined up at right end on the play and looped all the way round the opposite side of the line to come off the right tackle and take down Favre for a six-yard loss.

On the previous play, the Vikings brought out a Wildcat formation. Receiver Percy Harvin lined up in shotgun as the quarterback and handed off to Peterson, who ran a sweep out right for a five-yard gain.

From the press box - 7:17 p.m.Back from the field, where I got an up-close look at the Texans' inauspicious start. All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson ran 75 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead.

On the Texans' first offensive play, it briefly appeared that running back Steve Slaton had fumbled after a one-yard gain, with the Vikings signaling that they had recovered the football. He was ruled down, though, and the Texans retained possession. But two plays later, Matt Schaub was sacked by Jared Allen on third-and-five after Schaub tucked the ball and ran forward.

From the press box - 6:49 p.m.Seventeen minutes 'til kickoff. I'm heading down to the field for a minute. You can also follow the game live at Twitter.com/TheTexans. I'll be back up right around kickoff.

From the press box - 6:45 p.m.The Texans Cheerleaders are at midfield for their pregame performance. If you haven't seen the all-new cheerleaders section on HoustonTexans.com, check it out. Twenty minutes and counting 'til kickoff...

From the press box - 6:32 p.m.The players are in uniform and on the field, warming up in opposite end zones. Fans are filtering into the stands with kickoff 30 minutes away.

John Gruden just called the Texans' play action passing game "wicked" on the ESPN MNF broacast. Should be a great matchup with the Texans' running game against the Vikings' top-ranked rush defense.

The Texans will introduce their defensive players before the game. The Vikings will introduce their entire team.

Also, the Vikings' lineup changes have been confirmed. Berrian and Loadholt will dress tonight. The only Viking who won't dress is tight end Jim Kleinasser.

From the press box - 6:30 p.m.In case you're wondering, here's what's for dinner in the press box (along with a rudimentary photo of my plate, taken from my phone):

Beef & chicken fajitas with fire roasted salsas, sour cream, cheese and warm flour tortillas
Spanish rice
Borracho beans
Southwest Caesar salad
Fresh fruit salad
Gourmet bakery cookies & brownies


From the press box - 5:52 p.m.
We're 75 minutes and counting from kickoff for preseason Monday Night Football, Texans vs. Favre and the Vikings.

The following lineup changes have just been announced:

Texans - will not dress:
35 CB Jacques Reeves
51 LB Chaun Thompson
56 LB Brian Cushing
85 TE Joel Dreessen
99 DT Travis Johnson

Texans - starting lineup changes:
Shaun Cody will start at defensive tackle for Johnson. Zac Diles will start at strongside linebacker for Cushing. Brice McCain will start at cornerback for Reeves.

Vikings - will not dress:
71 T Phil Loadholt (possible)
87 WR Bernard Berrian (possible)
NOTE: Neither players' status is definitive at this time, but they're two players to "keep an eye on," per a Texans PR official.

Stay tuned with us throughout the game for continued live updates.

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