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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Notebook: Vikings’ ‘one-dimensional’ offense stifled as Bridgewater, pass struggle

By Andrew Krammer

MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Zimmer didn’t seem sure of where he’s at with his second-year quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater after another lackluster game from a one-sided offense.

Zimmer was asked if he was concerned about Bridgewater’s play, which saw him average 4.2 yards per throw on Sunday and toss his eighth interception of the season — an overthrow to Stefon Diggs on a play magnified by Russell Wilson’s 20-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing play. The Vikings trailed 21-0 at that point.

“No, I don’t think so, no,” Zimmer said.

Seattle’s 10 tackles for losses and seven hits on Bridgewater illustrated the Vikings’ continued pass protection woes as they, once again, failed to click through the air. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner quickly went away from the NFL’s leading rusher in Adrian Peterson, who finished with just eight carries, as the offense was placed into Bridgewater’s hands.

For an offense led solely by Peterson, the early deficit was less than ideal. The Vikings (8-4) were quickly taken advantage of on offense by a Super Bowl-caliber defense that deflected three passes and forced plenty more negative plays.

Bridgewater’s longest completions came on shallow crossing routes in which receivers Mike Wallace, on a 25-yard gain, and Jarius Wright, a 17-yard catch, used their legs for the heavy lifting. He was under typical duress behind a patchwork offensive line, and wasn’t able to connect downfield.

He finished with a career-low 118 yards on 33 dropbacks, including four sacks and a scramble.

“We’re a run-first team, we have 28 in the backfield, the best player in the NFL and it’s hard, you’re down so much (to) just pound the rock and do what we do best,” guard Brandon Fusco said. “We’re one-dimensional like that. It’s tough for the coordinator to make us go as an offense.”

The Vikings are now 0-4 when Peterson has 16 carries or fewer, and 8-0 when he reaches at least 19 carries in a game.

Seeing yellow

With the Vikings trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, Brian Robison appeared to have secured a sack of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to push Seattle out of the red zone. But refs saw the tackle as excessive force, and flagged the play that cut the distance to the end zone in half, which set up Seattle’s second touchdown by giving them a first down at the 11-yard line and negating Robison’s apparent sack.

On 1st-and-10 from Minnesota’s 14-yard line, Robison wrapped up Wilson, who kept churning his legs, which Robison then grabbed in an effort to bring the quarterback to the ground. Apparently hearing a whistle, Robison gave up the pursuit, and Wilson got back up to his feet and ran the next 20 yards or so into the end zone, after the play was over.

The refereeing crew apparently didn’t appreciate the second effort to bring down the quarterback.

“They just told me they felt like he was down and that I just kept – I don’t know – they said I lifted him up,” Robison said. “Obviously he didn’t think he was down; he took off running. But the refs made a call that they feel like was the right call and we just got to roll with it.”

Coach Mike Zimmer said after the game that the refs had warned the Vikings on an earlier play that “when the guy was down, he was down. You should let him go.”

The Vikings were flagged nine times for 95 yards in total.

‘Re-aggravated’

The scoreboard at TCF Bank Stadium said that not much more could have gone wrong for the Vikings on Sunday. The injury report told a different tale.

In the second series of the game, Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr left the field. Neither returned to action Sunday. Both were listed as questionable on the team’s injury report this week. Linval Joseph, the team’s run-stuffing nose tackle, missed Sunday’s game with a foot injury.

Barr “probably aggravated” a groin injury that had hampered him during practice this week, while Smith had a new hamstring injury to go along with a knee ailment that forced him to miss the Nov. 29 win in Atlanta, Zimmer said.

With the Vikings trailing 28-0 early in the second half, Smith and Barr both were downgraded to doubtful to return to the game. And considering the Vikings will play the Cardinals on Thursday in Arizona, one or both of the injuries could be impactful beyond Sunday’s blowout loss.

Patterson scores

Cordarrelle Patterson’s second kickoff return for a touchdown didn’t come as timely as his first this season, when he put the Vikings up 20-14 on the road in Oakland.

Patterson burst through for a 101-yard score in the third quarter, cutting the Seahawks’ lead to 35-7. The third-year receiver clearly enjoyed himself on his way to the end zone, breaking out the high step as he put a healthy lead ahead of any Seahawk on the play.

“I don’t have any thoughts on it,” Zimmer said.

Patterson, 24, has been phased completely out of the offense the past few weeks since clinging to a marginal role through the first half of the season.

1500 ESPN’s Derek Wetmore contributed to this report.

The post Notebook: Vikings’ ‘one-dimensional’ offense stifled as Bridgewater, pass struggle appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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