Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other subscribers

MN Vikings Tweets

Bleacher Report – Vikings

Krammer: With quick turnaround, depleted Vikings wary of tailspin

By Andrew Krammer

MINNEAPOLIS — The countdown from 100 hours had begun, and Brian Robison didn’t have time to continue answering questions about the Vikings’ embarrassing beatdown that just took place.

In the bowels of TCF Bank Stadium, Robison needed to see team trainers for treatment even though he was one of the handful of Vikings defenders to actually finish Sunday’s 38-7 blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Already down nose tackle Linval Joseph, who was ruled out with a foot injury, the Vikings lost Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr before the game’s second series ended. A helmet-to-helmet penalty on replacement Antone Exum Jr. knocked fill-in Robert Blanton out for a play, forcing coach Mike Zimmer to move cornerback Terence Newman to safety.

“The score was, what, 38-7? We got our teeth kicked in no matter what, so it doesn’t matter,” Robison said of the defense’s injuries.

Zimmer declined to get into specifics about injuries, as the physical beating extended to those Vikings that stayed in the game. Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls and the Seahawks forced broken tackle after broken tackle en route to 173 rushing yards, the most allowed by Minnesota since the season-opening nightmare in San Francisco.

They didn’t get a single hand on any of Wilson’s 27 passes, just six falling incomplete in his 274-yard and three-touchdown day through the air. The Vikings’ young defense was forced to dig deep on the depth chart, and showed they weren’t ready.

Without stalwarts at all three levels in Joseph, Barr and Smith, the Vikings didn’t come close to resembling the wall that had suffocated opponents for nearly three-quarters of the season.

A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde feel has taken over this defense, as they’ve been taken to the cleaners for at least 30 points in two of the last three games — both embarrassments at home — sandwiching a three-takeaway day in which they stifled Matt Ryan and the Falcons on the road.

The excuses for Sunday’s loss hang in the air, tangible like the fog overcast in a dreary Minnesota day, but in the end players weren’t pointing to officiating or injuries for getting whooped by 31 points at home, tying the third-worst home loss in franchise history.

“They did what they wanted to do today,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. “We got to fix it, we got to fix it soon. There are four quarters of a season, that’s how I take it, and we’re in our fourth quarter right now. We definitely have to fix it.”

And with the quick turnaround, Munnerlyn and the Vikings are wary of turning a surprisingly effective season into a tailspin, as they’ve lost two of three and now have roughly four days before they kickoff again — on Thursday night in Arizona against the NFC South-leading Cardinals.

“We can’t let today’s loss become two,” Zimmer said. “We can only lose one today, and we lost one.”

Coaching preparations for the Cardinals began last week, according to Zimmer, and in an effort to stop the bleeding as quick as possible, the Vikings opted to open their training facilities at Winter Park on Sunday night for injured players to get treatment, as opposed to the normal schedule of waiting until Monday morning.

Just hours after leaving the field as losers, coaches also planned on heading back to their offices to begin digesting and releasing what perhaps is the Vikings’ biggest letdown in 28 regular season games under Zimmer, when considering their 2015 body of work to this point and the opportunity left on the table.

Whatever the reason, the Vikings haven’t shown up to play in big-time games, though Sunday’s beatdown doesn’t fit the narrative of ‘prime-time’ shrinkage. The stage was still undeniably big, with roughly half the country, geographically, pegged to watch this one on their local FOX broadcast between two NFC playoff hopefuls. Television doesn’t factor into it for players, but the importance of this game was on clearly their minds.

Asked if there were signs of a letdown coming during the week, Zimmer was coy but didn’t shoot down the assertion: “Hmm, maybe,” he said, declining to elaborate. Veteran linebacker Chad Greenway didn’t dance around the topic, and said the previously 8-3 Vikings weren’t preparing the way they had before.

“We’ve had some bad losses and games that we have come and just completely laid an egg,” Greenway said. “It’s something that we’re doing preparation or focus during the game. I think as leaders you go through a week and there were some things this week that said, ‘That’s not us.’ We have to make sure that doesn’t show up week in and week out. It’s hard to grind through a full season and play perfect all the way through.

“And this is a game that we really needed to win and we can’t have these games that are must-wins and lay eggs. You can’t dwell on it, just kind of move past it, soak it in and, again, quick turnaround.”

The Vikings (8-4) get a chance to rectify the letdown, in a prime-time slot against a Cardinals group that just improved to 10-2 with their sixth straight win.

“If we want to have all our goals in front of ourselves…a playoff run,” Munnerlyn said. “We have to fix it soon.”

The clock is ticking.

The post Krammer: With quick turnaround, depleted Vikings wary of tailspin appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>