The Minnesota Vikings had a roller coaster game against the Detroit Lions Sunday at US Bank Stadium. They were bad in the first half and trailed by a touchdown. They were good in the second half and took the lead, only to give it up at the buzzer and lose in overtime, 22-16.
Golden Tate caught a third down pass and broke the tackles of both Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith before flipping into the end zone. The Lions marched down the field 87 yards on 11 plays in 6:39 on the first drive of overtime for the win.
The Lions sent the game to the extra frame with a 58-yard field goal by Matt Prater just two plays after Rhett Ellison gave the Vikings a 22-19 lead with 23 seconds left.
The Vikings offense looked a lot better than they had the previous two games, but they still had issues that cannot be overlooked. The worst was their performance in the red zone. They were there five times and got points on three of them (two touchdowns and a field goal). They also turned the ball over on downs and were forced to punt after losing 22 yards on a pair of penalties and a sack.
They did get into the end zone in the two minute drill to take a three point lead. Despite all the issues, that gave them a chance to win and they should have.
The Vikings were dominant for most of the second half, but gave up nine points in the final 23 seconds and overtime to lose. The Lions had just 36 yards and a first down for the first 29 minutes, 37 seconds of the second half. When they had a chance to win the game or put it in the offense’s hands, they wilted.
Bad tackling and ill-timed penalties were their undoing. Xavier Rhodes had an especially rough time in overtime. On top of the missed tackle on the game-winning touchdown, he was flagged for pass interference on a third down incomplete pass to keep the drive alive. Even though the referees were letting the defensive backs and receivers be physical throughout the game, it was an inopportune time to grab onto the receiver.
Special Teams: F
The Vikings special teams unit had a missed extra point and a blocked field goal. It doesn’t matter what else happened. Blair Walsh cost the Vikings at least four points. The missed extra point is the reason the game went to overtime and, ultimately, the reason for the loss. Had he made it, the Lions would have had to get a touchdown in the final 23 seconds, not just a field goal to tie. Walsh has now missed four field goals and three extra points this season.
That doesn’t seem like a lot of misses, but his conversion rate is just 75 percent on field goals and 80 percent on extra points. The Vikings do not have a good enough offense to leave 15 points on the field.
This was not the game to evaluate the coaching staff. They called a good game, but the execution of the game plan was terrible. If Pat Shurmur continues calling plays like he did Sunday, the Vikings are going to look more like the offense of the first five games.
The coaches need to be more psychiatrists than coaches at the moment. The players are in their own head and having a lot of trouble getting out.
For the third straight week, the Vikings will look to get back on track. This time, they head to the nation’s capital to face the Redskins.
Post Author: Joseph Gunther.