More frustration for the Vikings and their fans. The team played like utter horsecrap for most of the first half, falling behind the Raiders 24-7. The second quarter was a horror show that featured 21 Raiders points, one fumbled field goal hold by the Vikings and one Christian Ponder interception deep in Raider territory. And this was after the most horrifying moment of the day: Adrian Peterson’s ankle injury which took him out of the game and placed the rest of his season in doubt.
The Raiders moved the ball on the Vikings defense at will in the first half, conjuring images of Monday night’s humiliation at the hands of the Packers. But, to the team’s credit, they did manage to right the ship somewhat in the second half and keep it from becoming a rout. The defense got its act together from the third quarter on, holding the Raiders to only 3 points. The offense meanwhile was able to stop spinning its wheels and generate a pair of touchdowns to give the Vikes a chance. Unfortunately, a final last gasp drive failed to materialize – shades of the first Packer game – and the Raiders were able to hold on.
It was an ugly game in almost every respect. The officiating became a story thanks to several questionable calls against the Raider defense and one laughable incident where the refs lost track of the downs. There was also a frightening injury to Darius Heyward-Bey, who was struck in the back of the head by E.J. Henderson’s knee and had to be carted off. Things degenerated into bad comedy at times for the Viking offense too. Christian Ponder got blitzed heavily again and made some bad throws, getting picked off 3 times including twice in the red zone. But Ponder was also instrumental in leading the Vikings on their ill-fated fourth quarter comeback, hitting Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph for TDs.
As has been the case for the Vikings too often this year, they just weren’t consistent enough, and at times their effort seemed to be lacking. If you want to take something positive from the game, you can point to the fact that the Vikings were at least able to pull themselves out of the first half tailspin and not get blown out. A lot of that had to do with over-conservative Raider playcalling and tons of Raider penalties, but it also shows that the Vikings have not totally packed it in emotionally even though their season is clearly a disaster. I don’t know if Leslie Frazier deserves credit for holding it together or if I should put that on the players; I just know I’d rather go down swinging like today than flailing like a dead fish as happened on Monday night in Lambeau.