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Bleacher Report – Vikings

NOTEBOOK: Closing The Book On The Vikings 31-30 Loss In Chicago


Photo – David Banks (Getty Images)

By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
@AjKFAN

Minneapolis, MN – Much like the Vikings do with Leslie Frazier’s Monday afternoon press conferences, we will make one final swing through all the news and notes stemming out of Chicago and the Vikings 31-30 loss before putting week two to bed and shifting our attention to the Vikings home opener against the Cleveland Browns in week three.

INJURIES…
The Vikings leave week three relatively unscathed on the injury front with RHETT ELLISON being the only player who could miss practice time this week. Ellison suffered a hyper-extension of his right knee and will continued to be monitored as the week goes on. JOHN SULLIVAN escaped serious injury walking away from Sunday’s game with a calf contusion avoiding a strain that would have kept him out longer. And ADRIAN PETERSON, who could be seen on the TV screen shaking and clenching his hand will be fine after suffering a hit to what turned out to be his elbow.

COACHING SCHISM IN MINNESOTA?
Much has been said about the miscommunications and confusion that plagued the Vikings on the final drive Sunday afternoon. Monday, LESLIE FRAZIER came out and admitted that there was indeed some confusion and that he should have stepped in and “interjected” on the final play call.

“I kind of kicked myself on that,” Frazier said regretfully. “That was an opportunity for me to interject and to maybe help in a way, like I do with our offense, like I do with our special teams, and just have to do some things better from my standpoint in those situations.”

CLICK HERE for more from Leslie Frazier on the coaching snafus on Sunday…

CORDARRELLE PATTERSON STILL NOT BEING UTILIZED…
Exactly one week ago, Leslie Frazier stood in front of the assembled media at Winter Park and told us that rookie wide receiver CORDARRELLE PATTERSON would be a bigger part of the offense in week two after seeing only five snaps against the Lions in week one. Well he didn’t lie, not technically.

Patterson, who started the game off with a 105-yard touchdown return saw only six offensive snaps against the Bears on Sunday. Targeted two times, Cordarrelle had two receptions for 14 yards. It’s understandably tough to stomach the idea of such a dynamic player being stuck on the sidelines for more than 90% of your offensive plays.

“We’re going to get that rectified,” Frazier said of the situation. “He definitely deserves to be on the field more. He’s shown that in the few snaps he’s gotten in these first two ball games. Hopefully, everything being equal, that should not be a part of the conversation next week. We want to get him on the field. He’s one of our explosive players for sure. We see what he does when he gets the ball in his hands. We’ve got to find a way to get him on the field.”

THROUGH TWO WEEKS, DEFENSE IS STRUGGLING…OR ARE THEY?
Looking at the numbers, the Minnesota Vikings defense has been getting absolutely obliterated through the first two weeks of the 2013 season. Understandably against two talented offenses, the Vikings have allowed 440 yards and 32.5 points per game during this young season.

While those numbers have the Vikings near the bottom of the league in most defensive statistics (25th against the pass and 26th against the run), Coach Frazier isn’t scared away by the numbers.

“You have to sometimes look behind the numbers,” Frazier explained. “When you look at yesterday’s situation, when it comes to points, and you never want to make excuses, but there are some factors that go into some of those numbers that you have to look at beyond just the raw data. Our defense, they’re doing some good things. I really believe they’re headed in the right direction. From my perspective, I have to be able to see the bigger picture and sometimes numbers can lie.”

HESTER’S RECORD DAY BURIED THE VIKINGS…
Most of the time when someone has a “record day” against you it’s not going to bode well for your success. Such was the case for one of the Vikings’ biggest foes DEVIN HESTER who set a franchise record on Sunday with 249 kickoff return yards against Minnesota. Needless to say, Frazier was not pleased with that outcome.

“We did not do a good job covering kicks, bottom line,” Frazier said. “We have to do better. We know he’s a great returner. He’s had great returns in our league for a long time. We thought we had a good plan. Obviously it didn’t work. So, at the end of the game, we tried a different strategy when we popped up a little bit. But it’s a fine line, you try not to give him too good of field position and then you kick it to him and they get great field position. So, our strategy didn’t work and it’s something we’ll have to take a look at as we get ready for our next opponent and make sure we have something that will hopefully do better. It didn’t work.”

FIELD CONDITIONS HAMERED VIKINGS KICKING GAME…
It was an odd site on Sunday to see BLAIR WALSH kicking the ball into the hands of the opposing return man rather than booming it out of the endzone. Maybe we’ve been spoiled through the first year of Walsh’s career, but it’s almost become expected of the second-year kicker. Walsh’s struggles to keep the ball away from Hester on Sunday were not so much a mistake on his behalf but a result of the poor field conditions at a soggy Soldier Field.

“[The field conditions] along with the rain and the surface also affected the kickoffs,” Frazier explained. “The climate wasn’t the greatest. We’ve seen him boom the ball through the end zone, but the conditions yesterday for both kickers wasn’t conducive to that.”

KALIL BOUNCES BACK AFTER CONCERNING WEEK 1 PERFORMANCE…
MATT KALIL
struggled a bit during the preseason and unfortunately carried some of those struggles into week one of the regular season as well. And Twitter exploded! With fans worried and coaches concerned, Kalil squared off against one of the league’s top pass rushers and totally redeemed himself. He even got Peppers benched for a stretch in the second-half!

Kalil mentioned after the game that he figured some things out watching the film and was “finally fully healthy.” Coach Frazier didn’t care about the reasoning, he was just glad that his Pro Bowl left tackle was back on his game!

“It really was [good to see],” Frazier said of Kalil’s week two performance. “We need Matt to play well for us in order for our offense and our offensive line to do a good job. It’s good to see him bounce back. Blocking Peppers and some of the guys they have up front is not an easy task. He did a good job yesterday. We need that from him.”

FRAZIER NOT SCARED OF 0-2 START…
While it hasn’t exactly played out the way that they may have hoped, Frazier and the Vikings are not quite ready to crawl up into a ball after starting the season 0-2.

“No, you don’t want to be 0-2,” Frazier said. “But, that being said, we know where we are, coming home this week at Mall of America Field, and it’s a long season. We need to get our first win, this weekend. But I’m not looking at what other teams are doing. I’m not looking at what’s happening around the NFL other than what we’re doing. I just know we need to get on track. We need to get it going this week.”

The Vikings dropped two tough games to two divisional opponents on the road. The next three weeks should aid the Vikings efforts to regain some confidence heading into the rest of their schedule. Week three brings the 0-2 Cleveland Browns, week four is a jump over the pond to face the 0-2 Steelers in London and then coming off the bye the 0-2 Carolina Panthers head to Mall of America Field. A month from now, the Vikings could easily be sitting at 3-2.

Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN

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