By Joe Gunther
There have not been many halves of football that were worse than what the Minnesota Vikings showed in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at US Bank Stadium. The Colts built up a 27-0 lead at halftime and cruised to a 34-6 victory.READ MORE: Brooklyn Park Joins Growing List Of Minnesota Cities Requiring Masks In City Buildings
The Vikings weren’t just out of sync; they committed several unforced penalties, turned the ball over at inopportune times and could not get a stop on defense. They showed some life in the second half, but it was minimal and came when the game was already out of reach —in other words, meaningless stat-padding.
The Vikings had no points, two first downs, two turnovers, 69 yards and 6:28 time of possession in the first half. The second half really didn’t matter.
Minnesota looked like they’d be able to move the ball just twice while the game was still somewhat still within reach. Unfortunately, both attempts ended with fumbles—one by Adrian Peterson and the other by Sam Bradford—inside the red zone.
Charles Johnson was the only bright spot for the Vikings. He had five catches for 50 through the first half and early part of the third quarter, but wasn’t targeted the rest of the game. Two teammates had more catches and yards, but they also dropped passes and had several grabs late in the game.
The Colts started three rookie offensive linemen and did not have their second best receiver, Donte Moncrief. Yet, the Vikings allowed the Colts to rack up 27 points, 21 first downs, no turnovers, 281 yards and 23:32 time of possession in the first half – all dramatically different numbers than their counterparts.READ MORE: Wastewater Testing Reveals Scale Of St. Paul's COVID Spread
At game’s end, Minnesota forced just three punts while having no sacks, no tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits and one red zone stop (a turnover on downs inside the final two minutes of the game).
Special Teams: F
Kai Forbath made both of his field goal attempts, Jeff Locke averaged 48.7 yards per punt and Cordarrelle Patterson averaged 31 yards per kickoff return. However, the entire game was shrouded by two big miscues.
The biggest and most glaring mistake was Linval Joseph’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Colts’ second drive of the game. Joseph tried to hurdle the offensive line and did not make it; had he cleared the long snapper, it would have been legal. He wasn’t close and the Colts scored a touchdown two plays later.
The coaching staff’s two main jobs are to put the players in the best position to win and to keep them motivated. Neither seemed to happen Sunday night. Mike Zimmer and Co. seemed to force Peterson into the game early and it hurt them. His return seemed more like a distraction and last-minute game plan change.
It seemed as though Minnesota watched the Colts’ terrible performance against the Houston Texans last week and decided that all they had to do to win was to show up. The Vikings were not ready for the Colts to come out with any push or fire.
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The Vikings technically still have a chance to make the playoffs, but will have to win both of their last two games, beginning with a Christmas Eve game in Green Bay. They’ll also need help from multiple teams in order to clinch a playoff spot.