Generally, following a Minnesota Vikings' football game, I'll do up a "quickie" recap that sort of hits all of the main points of the contest, and then follow that up with more of an opinion-style recap of what transpired. But yesterday, I just didn't feel like doing that second one.
I fully expected that yesterday would be the day that the Vikings would finally get the monkey off of their backs and pull out a victory in Chicago. I thought that the Chicago Bears were on the verge of imploding, and the Vikings had their foot on the Bears' throats early on after taking a 10-0 lead.
And then, not only did they take their foot off of Chicago's throat, they helped the Bears up and graciously allowed them to revive their 2014 season at the expense of their own.
Yes, reports of the death of the Chicago Bears had been greatly exaggerated, although it remains to be seen whether or not the Bears are on some sort of comeback trail or this is another case of the Vikings performing their own special kind of necromancy on an opponent that they could have taken down. In either case, I bought into the hype (such as it was), and I was once again reminded why I shouldn't do that.
I'm not going to get too angry at the defense in this one. The Bears' offense held on to the football for nearly 39 minutes, converted 10-of-17 third downs (and two out of three fourth downs), and generally made the plays when they needed to. Yes, all three of Jay Cutler's touchdown passes came at the expense of Josh Robinson, but honestly. . .on at least two of the three, Robinson had very good position on the football. Unfortunately for Robinson, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are both 6'4". Robinson is 5'10". If you throw a pass and a 6'4" guy and a 5'10" guy both go up for it, the 6'4" guy is going to come down with it more frequently than not. Honestly, this is what the Chicago offense was supposed to be doing to everybody all season long. . .Cutler tossing it up and those two huge monsters on the outside going up and getting it. Robinson has still been having a very good season, but on Sunday, he got beaten by a couple of the league's top jump ball receivers. That's going to happen.
And the defense made what should have been the play that changed the momentum of the game, with Harrison Smith collecting Cutler's second interception of the day and returning it to inside the Chicago 30-yard line. (Seriously, give me a list of all the safeties that are better than Harrison Smith right now. It shouldn't take long.) But, as they did for most of the afternoon, the offense did nothing with it, and Blair Walsh wound up with just the second miss of his career from inside of 40 yards, leaving the Vikings with nothing to show for it.
No. . .this game, in my opinion, is all on the offense. I'm not going to go back and dig through every game in Minnesota Vikings' history to verify this, but I have to believe that this is the first time in franchise history that a defensive back has ever led the team in rushing yardage. And if it's not. . .well, who cares, because that's still pathetic. The offense, as a whole, was absolutely terrible for most of the day, collecting just 243 yards of total offense. Approximately twenty percent of those yards came from Andrew Sendejo's run on a fake punt late in the first quarter. (I will say that the punt fake was a pretty brilliant design. . .one of the few good things for the Vikings on the afternoon.)
Honestly, I'm not sure what Teddy Bridgewater was seeing on the field on Sunday afternoon. I'm not sure if Greg Jennings or Cordarrelle Patterson or Chase Ford or Kyle Rudolph were running around open and Bridgewater just wasn't seeing them or what the deal was. What I do know is that the guy that led the Vikings in terms of both receptions and yardage on Sunday was Charles Johnson, who was not a member of the Vikings in the pre-season and was not signed by the Vikings until the day before the Week 3 contest in New Orleans. He had six catches for 87 yards on the afternoon. . .so, from a layman's perspective (and not having seen the all-22 footage or anything like that yet), apparently that guy has no problem getting open and Bridgewater has no issue with getting him the football. But, overall, the game plan was pretty pathetic offensively. As Ted said in his Stock Market Report, Bill Musgrave thought that Sunday's offense was a little too conservative.
(Also, Charles Johnson needs to be on the field more, but you probably already knew that.)
So, rather than sitting at .500 heading into a three-game homestand, the Vikings once again find themselves in last place in the NFC North and a matchup with the Green Bay Packers looming next Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. And, rest assured, I'm not going to buy into any sort of hype for this one. The sharps in Vegas have apparently opened the lines for this one at Packers -7.5. Frankly, they could make it Packers -27.5, and you'd have to be an idiot not to take Green Bay and the points. Barring an act of God or an act of Congress (or both), this team is going to get walloped again next Sunday and officially end the competitive portion of their season. . .if the Bears didn't already do that on Sunday.
But hey, at least we have another week of Adrian Peterson drama to look forward to, am I right?