By Joseph Gunther
The Vikings had a three-point lead short of the midway point of the second quarter; then, Josh Huff took the ensuing kickoff 98-yards to put the Philadelphia Eagles ahead for good in their 21-10 victory over Minnesota.
The Vikings looked rusty and slow to catch up to game speed after having last week off. The defense forced turnovers on three consecutive possessions in the first half, but still did not look like the dominant unit it had been in previous games. The offense didn’t help either, with three turnovers of their own.
In the end, the Vikings are no longer undefeated and have a lot of cleaning up to do in order to maintain their spot on top of the NFC North Division.
Very little went right for the Vikings on offense: Their porous offensive line got exposed, quarterback Sam Bradford wasn’t as accurate as he has been this season, and the receivers failed to create as much separation as they did in former games. It was a vastly different Vikings offense than it was the first five games of the season.
It wasn’t until they were down by 15 points late in the third quarter that the Vikings were able to move the ball. They finished with just 93 yards on the ground and 189 through the air.
The Vikings only gave up one touchdown on defense and forced four turnovers. However, they looked slow and late to react to everything the Eagles did on offense. Just like on offense, the Vikings defense was a very different team from their first five games.
It all started with the defensive line: The Vikings continually tried rushing with four players and could not get any push. Philadelphia was able to stay out of negative plays on first and second down, even if they only had 101 rushing yards.
After stifling the Super Bowl and MVP winning quarterbacks already this season, they couldn’t confuse a rookie. Carson Wentz had no problem tearing the defense apart after turning the ball over three times early in the game.
Special Teams: C+
Early in the game, the Vikings showed strength with special teams. Punter Jeff Locke had a couple good kicks, and Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels combined to down a punt at the Eagles two-yard line. Blair Walsh was a perfect 1-for-1 on field goals.
It all went downhill after Walsh made his field goal. The Eagles returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and never looked back. Things did get worse—the normally sure-handed Sherels fumbled a punt at midfield in the fourth quarter that led to the Eagles’ game-sealing field goal.
The Vikings did not look ready coming back from their bye week—everything looked rusty and in catch-up mode the entire game. It is hard to completely blame the coaching staff for this, but it’s still something that Zimmer had to be ready to guard against.
While they looked slow, it did not appear that the play calling was similar to what we have seen. Rarely did the linebackers get into the double-A look. Defensively, they did not show different looks; they showed before the snap what defense they were in. That is very uncharacteristic of a Zimmer defense.
Offensively, the Vikings were a complete mess. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner was limited in what plays he could call.
The Vikings look to rebound in Week 8 against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Halloween night. The Bears are coming off a Thursday night loss against the Green Bay Packers.