The Vikings played another nail-biter but this time they came up on the short end. Last week it was Christian Ponder with the last-minute heroics, and this week it was Andrew Luck’s turn. Luck stood tall against the Vikings’ rush with time running out and the score tied, delivering a pair of long strikes to open receivers to put Adam Vinatieri in position for a winning field goal. True to his clutch reputation, Vinatieri stuck the kick, giving the Colts a 3-point win.
If you watched the first half of this game then left and came back in the last couple of minutes, you were probably shocked to see the Vikings even in it. The offense in the first half looked utterly pitiful outside of Percy Harvin. And the defense didn’t look a whole lot better despite a depleted Colts offensive line. Many of the Vikings’ issues in this game had nothing to do with anything the Colts did but were their own fault. Dumb penalty piled on top of dumb penalty. There were coverage breakdowns. It was just not a good defensive effort at all.
And still the Vikings were able to stay in it. The Colts probably got too conservative in the second half, trying to sit on a fourteen point lead. It wasn’t like the Vikes did it with great plays or anything, they just kept grinding away, getting good breaks and taking advantage of some porous Colts defense. Most of the work was done by Percy Harvin who at one point seemed to be touching the ball on every play. Then when the Vikings got close to the end zone they went to Kyle Rudolph. But it wasn’t Rudolph catching the first TD, it was Stephen Burton on a crazy tipped ball. The second TD came when Rudolph got separation from the linebacker trying to cover him and was able to walk in. An extra point tied it but the Vikes couldn’t stop the Colts on the ensuing drive.
Give the Vikes credit for sticking with it despite all their problems. And there were a lot of problems. The defensive line ended up playing pretty well in the second half – the big play that set up the Vikes’ final scoring drive was a huge sack by Everson Griffen – but there was just not enough pressure on Andrew Luck in the first half. And the coverage was just not good. In fact it was sometimes terrible. One of the Colts’ TDs came on an absolute pantsing of Erin Henderson who was supposed to run with the receiver up the seam but for some reason didn’t. Too many miscues on defense. Too many mental mistakes. Jared Allen getting called for a late hit out of bounds on a QB? How does that even happen with a veteran?
So the Vikes fall to 1-1. Can we take any moral victories from this loss? They fought to the end. There’s that. But they looked overmatched for a lot of the game on defense. Christian Ponder played okay but had a hard time finding open receivers down the field, causing him to hold the ball in a couple of situations, one of which ended with a fumble. There were drops. Percy Harvin was brilliant again but he was battered by the end of the game. The Vikes have some help coming in the form of Jerome Simpson but that’s not for another two weeks. They’ll have to figure something out next week against San Francisco and then hope Simpson can give the offense a shot in the arm. Cause Percy and Adrian and a little Kyle Rudolph isn’t going to be enough.