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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings Team Grades: Minnesota Continues Losing Streak, Despite Showing Signs Of Life

By Vikings – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

The Minnesota Vikings surrendered 12 straight points in the second half to fall 26-20 to the Washington Redskins Sunday at FedEx Field.

Minnesota fell behind early in the game, but then came back within striking distance to win. However, they ended up blowing it by making some costly mistakes and relying too heavily upon their defense. Take a look as we give this week’s breakdown of team grades.

Offense: D+

Matt Asiata, Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen scored touchdowns in the second quarter to turn an early deficit into a halftime lead. Asiata plunged across the goal line on his third try from the one-yard line with just over five minutes left in the half. After a Redskins punt, Rudolph caught a pass, turned up-field and walked the sideline into the end zone with 58 seconds left in the half. The Vikings then recovered a fumble on the next offensive play and scored on a one-yard touchdown pass to Thielen as time expired. Blair Walsh missed an extra point, leaving the Vikings with a six-point lead instead of seven.

In the fourth quarter, the Vikings had a couple of opportunities to put points on the board. An interception, a sack and an injury cost them the game. Down three points and well into Redskins territory, Sam Bradford looked at Thielen from the snap. Outside linebacker Preston Smith backed out of his rush and had the ball hit him right in the hands. If Bradford held the ball a split second longer, Thielen would have cleared the linebacker; the worst thing that happens is an incomplete pass. Instead, the Vikings don’t get points and the Redskins have the ball across midfield.

The final miscue ended the game: Bradford took a sack on second down. The play cost the Vikings seven yards and 22 seconds. The next play was a complete disaster. Bradford couldn’t get the ball to Cordarrelle Patterson; T.J. Clemmings was called for holding; and Jake Long suffered a leg injury. The Redskins declined the holding penalty to set up a fourth down with 17 yards to go and a new left tackle for the Vikings that had not played a snap in the game. Smith cleanly beat him around the edge and Bradford was an easy sack. Turnover on downs, game over.

Defense: C-

The Vikings defense only gave up touchdowns on the first two Redskins drives. They bent, but didn’t break in the second half. Giving up three field goals in the second half is not good, but they did give the offense a chance to win the game.

A big part of the team’s success early in the season had much to do with their defense. However, those big plays have been sorely lacking in recent weeks, thus the losses have been piling up now. Without getting sacks, turnovers and scores in the last few weeks, the Vikings haven’t had much success on the field.

Minnesota relies way too much on big plays from the defense and it is costing them right now.

Special Teams: C

The Vikings special teams did a good job of punting the ball and in coverage, but they did not get any big plays from this unit, either. Also, Blair Walsh missed another extra point, which ended up being a huge miss given how the game ended.

It is very likely this miss may cost Walsh his job. The Vikings brought in kickers last week for a tryout but declined to sign any of them. It is conceivable they were there to light a fire under Walsh, as well as showcase their talent as a potential replacement.

Coaching: D

The players need to execute, but it is the coach’s job to put the players in a position to succeed. It is hard to believe Mike Zimmer and his staff are doing their best to do that. The Vikings have now lost four straight and they look like a team just waiting for something bad to happen. In the first five games, the Vikings knew they were going to win and never really seemed in doubt. Since the bye week, they have been hoping for something not to go wrong.

Up Next:

The Vikings look to end their losing streak against the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday.

Post Author: Joseph Gunther.

Source:: CBS Minnesota

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