By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Chicago Bears on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds remaining in the game Sunday at Soldier Field.
The last time the Vikings beat the Bears at Soldier Field was in 2007, and most of the recent losses have been blowouts.
Still the loss doesn’t sit well with head coach Leslie Frazier, despite the team playing better than it did in its Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions and narrowly missed the victory in a tough place to play.
He was most upset with how the game ended and how he handled the game-winning drive.
“That was an opportunity for me to interject and maybe help in a way like I do with our offense, like I do with our special teams,” he said during his Monday press conference. “I’ve just got to do things better from my standpoint in those situations.”
Frazier can replay the final drive in his head all he wants to, but he is comfortable with the preparation about that situation leading up to the game.
“It’s a situation we cover quite often as I mentioned,” Frazier said. “We’re hitting those type of situations throughout OTAs, throughout training camp, during practice during the week we hit those situations. We kind of got away from some things that we would ordinarily do in that situation.”
Despite hindsight telling him to second guess the situation, Frazier is not going to do that.
“When it occurred I knew just from being in those situations before kind of what’s going to unfold and you anticipate it,” he said. “Sometimes you can get it to the players through the headsets ahead of time or right before the play begins. I could have handled that one a little better.”
Frazier added that if he could “turn the wheels of time back,” he would possibly have taken a timeout prior to the final play.
Patterson to be more involved in offense
The Vikings traded several draft picks to move back into the first round in April’s draft to select Cordarrelle Patterson because of his explosive playmaking ability.
So far through two games, the wide receiver has caught three passes for 24 yards while being on the field for just 11 offensive plays. His offensive snaps increased from five to six from Week 1 to Week 2, but it is not enough.
“We’re going to get that rectified,” Frazier said. “He definitely deserves to be on the field more. He’s shown that in the few snaps he’s gotten in the first two ball games. Hopefully, everything being equal, that should not be a part of the conversation next week. We want to get him on the field. He’s one of our explosive players for sure. We see what he does when he gets the ball in his hands so we have to get him on the field.”
Frazier said something similar following the Week 1 loss, but the team has to find a way to get the second most dynamic and dangerous player on the team’s offense on the field more often.
Ponder continues to run too early
Christian Ponder has surprising quickness, but it is not a skill that can make him an elite quarterback.
The third-year signal caller knows that and also knows he needs to let passing routes develop before taking off.
“I can see it on film and understand there are a lot of times that I do run early,” he said. “But, it’s something that God blessed me with – fast feet to make plays. I don’t want to take that away from myself, but there are times when I can stand in the pocket longer.”
Ponder is on pace to carry the 80 times, despite having designed runs rarely called for him, this season.
He carried the ball six times against the Bears, but only one did not come on third down. He converted two of those five runs into first downs while one of the failed runs got close enough that the team went for a fourth-and-short situation and picked it up.
Being winless doesn’t sit well with Frazier
The Vikings are one of eight teams to start the season 0-2. Minnesota and the Washington Redskins are the only winless teams that made the playoffs last season.
However, the Vikings are one game behind a majority of the NFC because only the Bears, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks are 2-0.
“You don’t want to be 0-2, but with that being said, we know where we are,” Frazier said. “Coming home this week at Mall of America Field and it’s a long season. We need to get our first win this weekend, but I’m not looking at what other teams are doing. I’m not looking at what’s happening around the NFL other than what we’re doing. I just know we need to get on track and get it going this week.”
No other team in the NFC has played two road games through two weeks this season. Only the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins have done so in the AFC.
Browns QB in question
The Vikings host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in its first game at Mall of America Field this season.
The Browns are tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the league-high in sacks allowed this season with 11.
However, it isn’t clear whom the Vikings defensive line will be chasing on Sunday.
Browns starting quarterback Brandon Weeden suffered a sprained thumb when he hit a helmet while attempting a pass in Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski has been non-committal as to whether Weeden will play, but appears to be leaning toward one of the backup quarterbacks, Jason Campbell or Brian Hoyer.
Campbell replaced Weeden after the injury and completed only 1-of-4 passes for six yards.
The ninth-year veteran has recent experience at Mall of America Field. He relieved Jay Cutler for the Bears in the Week 14 loss to the Vikings and completed 6-of-9 passes for 64 yards and ran once for eight yards.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.