By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings were blown out of Paul Brown Stadium 42-14 Sunday by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completed 27-of-38 passes, including eight-of-11 passes on third down, totaling 366 yards and four touchdowns. The third-year veteran had time and open receivers to throw to on nearly every play. The Vikings got just two sacks on him and three additional hits on Dalton.
There wasn’t much the Vikings can hang their hat on, but Cordarrelle Patterson scored was as fast and elusive as he has been all season. He caught just three passes for eight yards, but averaged over 36 yards on kickoff returns and ran the ball three times for 54 yards and a touchdown.
The loss gives the Vikings a winless road record in 2013 and guarantees a top 10 draft pick in May.
Offense Grade: D-
The Vikings offense got absolutely nothing going. Patterson’s three carries were the one exception.
The Vikings offensive line struggled to open holes or slow the Bengals pass rush. The NFL’s leading tackler Vontaze Burfict recorded only six tackles, but had two sacks, one tackle for a loss and two quarterback hits to led the Bengals defense.
Running back Adrian Peterson had 11 carries, but could not get going with 45 yards.
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was the game’s leading rusher with 54 yards. He wasn’t as involved in the passing game as he has been in recent weeks, but offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave found another way to make the rookie involved in the offense.
Defense Grade: F
There isn’t a positive word to say about the Vikings defense after this game. The pass rush was non-existent and the secondary could not cover anyone.
The Vikings put pressure on Dalton just twice, both coming on sacks Everson Griffen and Jared Allen on back-to-back plays with the game well in hand in the fourth quarter.
Shaun Prater started at cornerback in place of Chris Cook, but briefly left the game in the first half. Dalton took advantage of the veteran defensive back’s inability to make a play on the ball. He just threw the ball up and hoped his receiver could make a play on it. Cook had opportunities to give himself a chance to intercept the ball, but was constantly beat for position.
Cook, a 2009 second round draft pick in the final year of his rookie contract, has most likely played his way out of Minnesota.
Cook is one of many defensive players that will likely play their final game in a Viking uniform in the season finale next Sunday.
Special Teams Grade: A
The Bengals elected to kickoff to Patterson and he made them pay with three returns of 34 yards or more. Marcus Sherels added a 22-yard punt return, in which he broke several tackles and made a few other Bengals miss.
Jeff Locke had a long of 55 yards and got two punts inside the 20-yard line. He did, however, out kick his coverage on Brandon Tate’s 21-yard punt return.
Blair Walsh did a good job on kickoffs limiting Tate to one return. The coverage unit did the job to hold him to just three yards.
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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.