Going into this game the notion was that the Falcons could sleepwalk their way to a victory. Well it appears they played fine today while the Vikings were asleep except for some parts of the 2nd half.
The stories of game were the Vikings having next to no offense in the first half totaling 97 yards and only getting into Falcons territory once. Yes, Adrian Peterson was out, but that is still not acceptable. The Falcons offense was performing much better totaling 207 yards with Matt Ryan going 14-18 for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half. Some of that success had to do with the Vikings secondary being depleted having to play the likes of Marcus Sherels, Benny Sapp and Asher Allen in many snaps. But overall the Vikings didn’t have enough playmakers or coaching aptitude to compete against a winning team like Atlanta.
The 2nd half was a much brighter story. Christian Ponder showed a lot of life sparking the team. His best play was undeniably a 39-yard touchdown on 4th down to Percy Harvin. Another great story was Jared Allen subbing for the injured Cullen Loeffler at long snapper. All of Allen snaps were on spot and he showed great effort getting downfield. Going back to Harvin he was a beast today catching 8 balls for 95 yards, a touchdown on 8 targets. Repeat; he caught every ball thrown his way. Harvin also had a 104-yard kickoff return! The Vikings simply need more downfield threats for Ponder to work with. Devin Aromashodu only had one reception for 18 yards on 5 targets. Michael Jenkins and Visanthe Shiancoe were pedestrians. Toby Gerhart played okay in replacement of Peterson getting 17 carries for 44 yards touchdown, but it simply wasn’t enough.
Much will be made of Bill Musgrave’s play calling (suspect at best) and a key decision to go for it on 4th and goal in the 4th quarter with the Vikings down 24-14 after Harvin’s kickoff return. And the fact the Vikings are 2-8 will have many talking heads debating not if, but what major changes are needed throughout the entire organization.
We’ll be back with more throughout the week. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig