Yeah, I said I'd start doing these earlier in the week. . .however, with Christmas and everything else, it didn't happen that way for the game against the Panthers. Sorry. . .the next two installments of this segment will be more "on time."
It's that time of the week where we take one last look back at the Vikings' previous performance and review exactly how they did in the red zone against their last opponent. In order to do that, we need to move into everybody's favorite segment here at DN, the Vikings' Red Zone Review. As always, the Vikings Red Zone Review is brought to you by the good folks at Comcast. Comcast brings you the NFL Red Zone channel every week, and it's your way to keep in touch with all the biggest plays from every NFL game week in and week out. It's great for fantasy players, or for the late games when you're not sure which game you want to view while celebrating the Vikings' latest conquest. The Red Zone Channel is your season ticket for every single NFL game, and nobody brings it to you like the folks at Comcast.
So, how did the Vikings fare in the Red Zone against the Carolina Panthers? Well. . .it was every bit as ugly as the rest of the team's performance that night.
Vikings Red Zone trips - 2
Vikings Red Zone scores - 1 (1 TD)
Red Zone touchdown percentage - 50%
Yep. . .like the game against Arizona, it's fairly easy to do a Red Zone recap when your team only reaches the promised land twice. Can we just not play on Sunday night again the rest of the season, please?
The Vikings' first Red Zone trip came after they got down 6-0 after a Matt Moore to Brad Hoover touchdown pass (and the subsequent extra point getting blocked by Ray Edwards). After a Carolina punt from deep in their own territory, the Vikings set up shop with their best field position of the night at the Carolina 41. Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor did most of the lifting, with a 7-yard catch by Taylor sandwiched in-between a 7-yard run for Peterson and a 10-yard run for AP. Favre then hit Sidney Rice for 14 yards to move the ball down to the Carolina 4, and on the next play, Peterson took the ball up the middle, appeared to be stopped on at least two different occasions, but powered his way into the end zone for the score. Ryan Longwell added the extra point to give the Vikings their first. . .and only. . .lead of the evening at 7-6. The drive took six plays to move the 41 yards, taking 3:01 off of the clock.
The Vikings' only other trip into the Red Zone in Charlotte was as up-and-down as a two-play drive can get. Taking the kickoff after getting down 26-7, Minnesota started at their own 21-yard line. On the first play, Favre flipped a little pass to Peterson, who took off for a 63-yard gain, the longest reception of his career, to put the ball at the Carolina 16. Then, on the next play, Favre was looking for Bernard Berrian in the back left corner of the end zone, and instead found Chris Harris. Harris, unfortunately, is a safety for the Panthers. The drive ended there, the Vikings never threatened again, and they lost by that final 26-7 tally.
So, with that performance, the Vikings have entered the Red Zone 51 times this season, having scored 28 touchdowns (54.9%), notched 16 field goals (31.4%), and have failed to score on seven occasions (13.7%). The defense had an awful red zone performance, but much of that can be attributed to them being gassed after the offense constantly did nothing for the evening. Through the first 14 games of the year, opponents have gotten into the Minnesota red zone 33 times, with the Vikings allowing 15 touchdowns (45.5%), 12 field goals (36.4%), and holding the opponent scoreless six times (18.1%).
Both of those numbers will have to improve. . .dramatically. . .tonight against the Chicago Bears if the Vikings want to get back on the right track.