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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: Blowout loss to Seahawks leaves Vikings searching for answers

By Judd Zulgad

MINNEAPOLIS – Running back Adrian Peterson again questioned the Vikings coaching on Sunday and made it clear he wasn’t happy with his limited workload. Coach Mike Zimmer indicated he wasn’t pleased with his team’s preparation for the game. Other players, pointed out that with a quick turnaround for Thursday night’s game in Arizona, the Vikings have plenty to correct and not much time to do it.

Yes, the Vikings remain tied with Green Bay at 8-4 atop the NFC North, but that was of little consolation to Zimmer and his players after an embarrassing 38-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at TCF Bank Stadium.

“We’re not as good as we think we are,” Zimmer said after watching his team fail in multiple areas, including the art of tackling. “Especially when we don’t play the way we’re capable of playing, we’re definitely not as good as we hope we are.”

The Vikings looked nothing like a first-place team against the Seahawks, with their injury-riddled defense giving up 433 yards and their healthy offense looking completely lost in the passing and running game.

This formula led to the Vikings’ third brutal loss of the season. A 20-3 defeat on opening night in San Francisco was a complete no-show by the Vikings. A 30-13 loss to the Packers two weeks ago made the Vikings look like a collection that could not handle the pressure of a significant game.

And then there was Sunday’s loss, in which the Vikings trailed 21-0 at halftime and got their only points on a 101-yard kickoff return from Cordarrelle Patterson late in the third quarter. The Vikings were down 35-0 at the time, but that didn’t stop Patterson from celebrating as if he was going in for the game-winning score.

The Vikings had far bigger concerns than Patterson’s silly actions as the coaching staff returned to Winter Park on Sunday night to begin preparing for the Cardinals.

“We’ve been getting our butt kicked when we lost these games,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. “They haven’t been close at all. I don’t know. We’ve got to fix it, got to fix it soon. The season is coming near its end. There’s four quarters in a season, that’s how I take it, and we’re in our fourth quarter right now. We definitely have got to fix it if we want to have all of our goals ahead of ourselves and make this playoff run.”

That’s easy to say but far more difficult to do.

The defense, which already was missing defensive tackle Linval Joseph (foot) entering Sunday, lost key parts in linebacker Anthony Barr (groin) and safety Harrison Smith (hamstring) early in the first quarter. The status of all three for Thursday remains questionable.

The offense presents a bigger issue because of how it operates. The Vikings decided early this season that Peterson would be the star and everyone else would play a supporting role. That plan works, if the Vikings have a lead.

But if they fall behind, it becomes far more difficult, especially against a good defensive team like the Seahawks. Peterson questioned the coaching and wasn’t happy two weeks ago after he carried the ball only 13 times for 45 yards with a touchdown in the loss to the Packers.

So it should come as no surprise that Peterson was upset after he rushed for only 18 yards on eight carries, including only three in the second half.

That was Peterson’s fewest rushing attempts in a game that he did not leave because of injury. It was Peterson’s lowest rushing output in a complete game since his rookie season, when he was held to 3 yards in December 2007 at San Francisco.

“Give credit to Seattle, they did a good job of coming in and forcing us to do things differently,” Peterson said. “They were just the better team. They were more aggressive, played more physical, and they outcoached us as well. To finish with eight carries, it’s tough.”

Asked to elaborate on being outcoached, Peterson responded, “(In) so many different areas. And outplayed, too, in so many different areas as far players as well.”

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater finished 17 of 28 for a career-low 118 passing yards with an interception.

“We’re a run-first team, we have (Peterson) 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,” right guard Brandon Fusco said. “We’re one-dimensional like that. It’s tough for the coordinator to make us go as an offense.”

This isn’t going to get any easier for the Vikings as they now must face the NFC West-leading Cardinals, who improved to 10-2 on Sunday with a 27-3 rout of the St. Louis Rams. The Cardinals have a top-five defense and are near the top of the NFL against the run.

If the Vikings take the same approach in Arizona that they did against Seattle, they will find themselves, yet again, being embarrassed on national television.

“We’ve had some bad losses and games that we have come and just completely laid an egg,” linebacker Chad Greenway said of the Vikings’ one-sided defeats. “Obviously, we have to put it on ourselves. It’s something that we’re doing (wrong as far as) 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. Obviously, we haven’t done that and this week was just brutal. We don’t want to put that product on the field. 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 will be trying to avoid their first two-game losing streak of the season on a stage on which they have failed miserably in recent years. They haven’t won in prime time since a victory over Washington in November 2013. The Vikings have a seven-game losing streak on Monday nights, a five-game losing streak on Sunday nights and have lost four of five on Thursday nights.

“We definitely have to fix it. It can be fixed,” Munnerlyn said. “We’ve got a lot of old guys on this team that have been in this situation before to lead the young guys. So we’re going to see how that goes. … We’re going to try to fix it soon. Thursday night game, big-time, big-prime time game, so (we’ll) see what team shows up.”

The post Zulgad: Blowout loss to Seahawks leaves Vikings searching for answers appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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