Vikings conquer Steelers in NFL Wembley game

Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:11pm EDT
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By Nigel Hunt

LONDON (Reuters) - Back-up quarterback Matt Cassel led the Minnesota Vikings to their first victory of the season on Sunday as they defeated the still winless Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 at Wembley Stadium.

Cassel threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns in an interception-free performance that will heap further pressure on struggling starter Christian Ponder who missed the game with a rib injury.

"We're a good team when we don't turn the ball over and Matt did a perfect job in that area, made some nice throws so I'm very happy for him and what he was able to accomplish," Vikings head coach Leslie Frazer said.

Ponder had thrown five interceptions and only two touchdowns in the Vikings' first three games as the team, which made the playoffs last season, slumped to an 0-3 start.

The Vikings led for almost the entire game although the outcome was in doubt until the last few seconds when a fumble by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ended a drive than could have taken the game into overtime.

Cassel connected with Greg Jennings for a 70-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and found Jennings again in the third quarter for a 16-yard touchdown pass.

Adrian Peterson ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings.

The loss dropped the Steelers to 0-4 for the first time since 1968.   Continued...

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel throws in the fourth quarter as Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon (L) defends during their NFL football game at Wembley Stadium in London, September 29, 2013. In center is Vikings center John Sullivan. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh