The Minnesota Vikings looked and played like a team just going through the motions until the end of the season next week. Which is okay, I guess, since Leslie Frazier and the Vikings coaching staff have been going through the motions for awhile now.
There's really not a lot of positive things to talk about in today's stomping. The defense, which had played marginally better in recent games, reverted back to the early season awfulness that was a combination of giving up big plays, not getting off the field on third down, and giving up way too many easy pass completions underneath to a quarterback who was more than willing to take them. Bengals QB Andy Dalton barely broke a sweat, and at times he looked like he was just going through a glorified 7 on 7 drill. On the day, he was 27/38 for 366 yards and four TD passes with no interceptions, and he felt no pressure from a Vikings pass rush until the game was well in hand.
Offensively, the Vikings are a mess. Dalton's counterpart, Matt Cassel, was horrible. He was 13/27 for only 114 yards. His TD pass was overcome by three interceptions and a fumble lost. As such, the offense was unable to get out of their own way for most of the game, despite starting out with excellent field position for most of the first half. After Cassel's early fumble that lead to the Bengals first score, the Vikings were able to briefly tie it up on a Cassel to Jarius Wright 36 yard touchdown.
The Vikings wouldn't score again until just under two minutes remained in the third quarter on a Cordarrelle Patterson end around that went for 35 yards, but by then the game was over, as the Bengals had a 42-14 lead.
The only redeeming thing that came out of this game was Cordarrelle Patterson. He was electric on kickoff returns, and was also the Vikings leading rusher. No, not receiver, you read that right. Yes, on a team with Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, Patterson was the Vikings leading rusher.
I'll be back with an SMR a little later tonight, but this is a pretty good preview of coming attractions. I think I can speak for us all when I tweeted earlier:
The only thing recognizable between the 2013 and 2014 #Vikings will be the uniforms. This is a good thing.— Ted GloHoHoHover (@purplebuckeye) December 22, 2013
This season can't end soon enough. Sigh...