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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Yes, it’s time to be worried about the Vikings offense

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings have officially been knocked off their pedestal. And boy did they get knocked off hard by the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.

Explanations will be aplenty for why the Vikings went from the best team in the NFL after their win over the Houston Texans in Week 5 to getting demolished by a 1-6 Bears team who didn’t even want to play their starting quarterback, but the place to start is with every person on the offensive side.

After the Philadelphia Eagles bullied Minnesota out of town last week, it was easy to write it off as aberration. Philadelphia has a great defense, an experienced defensive coordinator and the Vikings were bound to hit a speed bump. Onward and upward, all the Vikings said this week. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he would solve the team’s protection issues after quarterback Sam Bradford was mauled by Philly.

Zimmer certainly didn’t solve the protection issues. In fact, none of the issues from the Philly game were resolved as Bradford was sacked five times by the Bears’ defense in the 20-10 loss at Soldier Field.

Another notion that was kicked away in locker room and press conference quotes was the idea that the Eagles formed a blueprint for how to slow down Minnesota’s passing attack. Yet the Bears seemed to be on top of every route and flustered the Vikings’ quarterback from the opening drive to the very end.

“It was pretty much what we had seen on tape,” Bradford said. “If anything, it was a little more two-high safety than they had shown in their tendencies, but for the most part everything they did is what they’ve shown.”

While the Vikings did appear to spread the offense more on Monday night and attempt short passes, Bradford still struggled to get the ball out quickly.

Against the Texans, he released the ball faster than any other quarterback in the NFL, but against Philadelphia, he released it about a half second slower. We’ll wait for the official number from Pro Football Focus, but it sure as heck wasn’t as quick as it needed to be.

“When we played Houston we saw a lot of Cover-1,” Bradford said. “At the line of scrimmage we beat it pretty quickly and the ball was able to come out. Since then, we haven’t seen a lot of Cover-1.”

We figured that Bradford wouldn’t remain the league’s best quarterback when his career QB rating was under 90, but this hard of a fall was not expected considering his last seven games as an Eagle were very good too. It looked like he had turned a corner. It’s hard to know whether to pump the brakes on that notion when he’s running for his life and when his coaching staff hasn’t adjusted. What we do know about the loss against Chicago is this: When the Vikings’ defense was not on par and they needed a big performance out of their quarterback, he (and many others) did not rise to the challenge.

The last ranked running game in the NFL continued to be the last ranked running game in the NFL. What’s worse than the failure to run was the commitment to failing to run.

Over and over, Turner turned to his third-string running back Matt Asiata to carry the load. In the red zone, on 1st-and-goal, the Vikings went to Asiata on first and second down. If this were Adrian Peterson, it would make sense. But this is a player who averages 3.5 yards per carry for his career. When the Vikings were down 20-3 entering the fourth quarter, they even threw passes to Asiata and ran him several times. That doesn’t exactly scream desperation.

“I think we’re best when we’re balanced,” Bradford said. “I think when you can keep the defense guessing, I think it makes it much easier.”

Whether you place of blame on the Vikings’ coaching staff for not adapting to defenses or running the ball too much or blame the players for giving up rush after rush at the tackle position, failing to get open at the receiver spot or a failure to make the same throws as in previous weeks from the man under center, one thing is clear: The Vikings have a serious problem on offense.

Unless they fix it, they can’t be considered one of the league’s best teams.

The post Yes, it’s time to be worried about the Vikings offense appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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