Earlier today, the Minnesota Vikings squared off against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. The Lions were 3.5 point favorites to win the game in Vegas, but most Vikings fans felt that the spread was a bit too high. Turns out that the Vegas odds makers really know their stuff. The Lions dismantled the Vikings 34-24 in the game that made it seem like the Vikings were given every opportunity to succeed but couldn’t seem to take advantage.
Let’s take a quick look at five major things that went wrong:
The Vikings defensive line failed to get pressure on Stafford. This really confused me since I was led to believe that the inexperience and quality on the Lions offensive line would give the Vikings a decided advantage. Jared Allen managed one sack on the quarterback, but that was the lone sack. It was disappointing considering the talent on the Vikings defensive line.
The guards struggled to protect Ponder and make holes for Adrian Peterson. While Adrian Peterson had one impressive rush the first time he touched the ball where he had a 78 yard touchdown, the rest of the game he had 17 rushes for 15 yards. The offensive tackles seemed to do a decent job, but the guards really struggled against the Lions defensive tackles and even caused a fumble on a dropback where Fusco tripped Christian Ponder. Much better play in the trenches will have to happen for this Vikings team to recover from today’s events.
The Vikings couldn’t tackle anyone. It seemed like the Lions ball carriers were coated in petroleum jelly or something, because the Vikings just couldn’t take them down. There were many occasions where the Vikings had a play broken down for a loss and then the Lions player slipped a tackle and gained a lot more yards. This unit is usually a pretty solid tackling group of guys, but this game definitely was disappointing in that aspect.
Christian Ponder made some really bad decisions. Christian Ponder threw 3 interceptions in this game, but that’s not really the whole story. The first interception came on a pass that bounced of Wide Reciever Jerome Simpson’s hands and then was intercepted. The third came in garbage time when the Vikings were trying anything just to move the ball as quickly as possible toward the end zone. But the excuses stop there. Ponder had one absolutely terrible decision that should have been a pick-6 if the defender caught it and another where he rolled out to the left and attempted a throw when he could have thrown the ball away. Ponder has been in the NFL too long to make those kind of mistakes.
The Vikings lost the field position battle. I was a huge fan of Jeff Locke was the Vikings drafted him. His left footed punting and ability to kick with power and accuracy. Today though, Locke was anything but wonderful. His punts averaged a distance of 34.8 yards with only 1 punt inside the 20 yard line. Not only that, but the Vikings only converted on 20% of their 3rd down opportunities. You’re not going to win a game that way.
Sure, there are other ways that the Vikings shot themselves in the foot today, but hopefully they will learn from their mistakes quickly and correct them because next week they face another division rival, the Chicago Bears.
Tags: Minnesota Vikings