The sky was falling yet again as Minnesota Vikings fans headed back to work or their daily routines on Monday. Yet another opportunity to emerge on a national stage turned into a complete embarrassment.
The Vikings were outplayed and according to at least Adrian Peterson, outcoached in every phase in a 38-7 loss to Seattle on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. To add insult to the loss, the Packers rallied Thursday night on a walk-off Hail Mary pass to beat the Lions.
With four games left, Minnesota and Green Bay are tied for the lead in the NFC North and the Packers currently hold the tiebreaker with the head-to-head victory. Vikings fans are on edge as the team heads to Arizona, one of the best teams in the NFC, at 10-2.
Here are four takeaways from Sunday’s loss.
Trend Continues of Poor Play in National Spotlight
For whatever reason, the Vikings tend to play their worst football when the eyes of the nation are on them. That doesn’t bode well if they want to be a playoff team. They got embarrassed by a mediocre San Francisco 49ers team on Monday Night Football. They were largely terrible in a primetime afternoon loss to Green Bay two weeks ago, and the Vikings had yet another chance to establish themselves on the national stage Sunday against the Seahawks. The result was arguably their worst game of the season.
Battered Defense Can’t Contain Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson did whatever he wanted against the Vikings’ defense, passing for 274 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another. The Vikings were without Linval Joseph, and Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr only played two series before being out the rest of the game with injuries. Antone Exum is also now out after playing most of Sunday’s game with a broken rib and an injured shoulder. Injuries are no excuse, but without several of their top defenders the Vikings had little chance against the Seahwaks, one of the top offenses in NFL. They’ll all likely be out Thursday night at Arizona as well.
Seahawks Take Away Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson finished Sunday’s loss with just eight carries for 18 yards and four catches for six years. He was not happy in the locker room after the game, saying the Vikings got outplayed and outcoached in the loss. The Seahawks took away Peterson and the run game, but not necessarily with their defense. Seattle took a 21-0 lead in the first half and had a 35-0 lead at point. When you’re that far behind, you don’t have time to run the ball and go on long drives. The Seahawks were great defensively, but their offense putting up points is largely what made the Vikings go away from their best player.
Costly Penalties Hurt Vikings In A Big Way
Officiating was a common theme of discontent for Vikings fans after the loss. While it didn’t dictate the game’s outcome, the Vikings didn’t play disciplined football Sunday and that’s out of character for them. Terence Newman got called for a defensive holding penalty on third down when the Vikings had made a stop. That led to a Seattle touchdown. The Vikings got called twice for offensive pass interference, and one of the plays would’ve been a first down to keep a drive alive. Brian Robison was also called for unnecessary roughness on Wilson, tackling him a second time when neither he nor Wilson though he was down for a sack. It was one of the worst penalties called by an NFL official this season. The Vikings were penalized nine times for 65 yards in the loss and need to be more disciplined in big games if they want to make the playoffs.
The Vikings have four games left: at Arizona Thursday, home against the Bears and Giants and the regular season finale at Green Bay. That final game could still decide the division, but for right now they need to find a way to beat the Cardinals and get healthy to face the Bears.
Minnesota is at its best when the defense is healthy, Peterson is running the ball and Teddy Bridgewater is effective at quarterback. Until the Vikings can put it all together on the national stage, it might be hard to consider this team a playoff contender.