Texans head coach Gary Kubiak vowed for his team to give a more inspired effort on Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings, and his team left Reliant Stadium with more questions than answers, as the Texans lost their third preseason game, 17-10.
The Texans run defense was a big question entering this game as New Orleans seemingly ran wild against the Houston defense, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Adrian Peterson didn't lessen those questions any as he took a handoff and rumbled 75 yards untouched to the end zone on the game's first play from scrimmage to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead.
Minnesota won the battle of field position for the rest of the first period as the Texans offense managed just one first down. The Vikings cashed in on the Texans first possession of the second quarter as Ben Leber stepped in front of a Matt Schaub check down and intercepted the pass. The Houston defense bent but didn't break, and the Vikings had to settle for a 36-yard Ryan Longwell field goal giving them a 10-0 lead.
The Texans finally broke through on the next possession as Matt Schaub captained the team on an 11-play, 71-yard drive that was capped by a Steve Slaton four-yard touchdown plunge to slice the Minnesota lead to 10-7. Schaub was five for five on the drive for 50 yards, but seemingly hurt his leg on a scramble.
With time for one drive left before halftime, the Vikings called on their bell cow, Adrian Peterson, who single-handedly brought the team into Texans territory. Brett Favre then dinked and dunked his way into field goal range, finally hitting Chester Taylor on a short screen pass which he took 28 yards for a touchdown, giving the Vikings a 17-7 advantage with just 27 seconds remaining in the half.
An Andre Davis kickoff return to the Texans 36-yard line, allowed quarterback Matt Schaub to come out for another series, and he promptly drove the team 37 yards on just four plays, leading to a Kris Brown 46-yard field goal to cut the Vikings lead to 17-10 at the half.
The Texans began the third quarter on offense, and backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky moved the team down the field until a Madieu Williams interception near the goal line ruined a nine-play, 68-yard drive.
Houston never would threaten again offensively, as backup quarterbacks Dan Orlovsky and Alex Brink were not able to sustain any drives. Although the final outcome showed just a seven-point loss, the Texans were soundly beaten in the trenches.
The Texans trio of stars had mixed results. Quarterback Matt Schaub finished 10 for 14, 108 yards passing with no touchdowns and an interception for a quarterback rating of 64.0. Steve Slaton ran for just 27 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown, and Andre Johnson led the team with three catches for 61 yards, including a 46-yard grab.