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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: Sound the alarm: Vikings’ incompetence in loss to woeful Bills is cause for concern

By Judd Zulgad

Inexcusable and inexplicable.

Those are the two words (fit for a website read by people of all ages) that best describe a 16.5-point home favorite embarrassing itself with a completely inept performance against an NFL bottom-feeder starting a rookie quarterback. Yet, that’s exactly what the Minnesota Vikings did as they put on a cringe-worthy performance in a 27-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

How the heck did this happen?

Who cares?

Nobody wants to hear excuses when you are a favorite in the loaded NFC. You have a game on Thursday against the Rams? Who cares. Your quarterback has a terrible day? Do better. Your defense has a spotty performance for a second consecutive week? Too bad.

This Vikings team is expected to overcome any adversity it might face. Instead, they spent Sunday looking like a hopeless collection of lost causes that in no way resembled a contender. The Vikings were supposed to be up 27-0 at halftime, not trailing by that margin. The most competent performance at U.S. Bank came as many in the crowd of 66,800 booed their heroes off the field at halftime.

Many of them streamed to the exits with 11 minutes, 27 seconds left in the fourth quarter after the Vikings couldn’t even complete a simple fourth-and-1 pass from Cousins to C.J. Ham. They would have been wise and justified to head out far earlier. The Vikings’ only touchdown of the game came with 2:59 left in the fourth quarter when Kirk Cousins found Kyle Rudolph on a 4-yard pass that meant nothing.

When the game did matter, the Vikings made it unwatchable.

The Vikings had two first downs at the half to 13 for the Bills. The Bills had 245 yards of offense to 46 for the Vikings. Kirk Cousins lost two strip sacks on the Vikings’ first two series that Buffalo turned into 10 points. Cousins had 44 yards passing in the first half and had been sacked three times; Allen, the seventh pick in last spring’s draft, had thrown for 172 yards and a touchdown by that point.

The Vikings thought they had stopped the Bills on the opening drive of the game and then Linval Joseph decided to lower his helmet on Allen and suddenly what should have been fourth-and-long turned into a Bills’ first down and ultimately a 10-yard touchdown run by Allen. Linebacker Anthony Barr added some assistance for the Bills by grabbing Allen’s facemask. That put the ball at the Minnesota 11.

Things only continued to get worse. The Bills were up 17-0 after the first quarter and added 10 more points in the second. The Vikings finished with 14 rushing yards and three turnovers, all by Cousins.

This came against the same Bills who had a player, cornerback Vontae Davis, quit at halftime of last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Buffalo had been outscored 78-23 in season-opening losses to Baltimore and the Chargers.

The Bills were the definition of a dumpster fire and that dumpster fire absolutely scorched the Vikings on their home turf. This was easily the worst game of the Mike Zimmer era because it’s so hard to explain this no-show. And this was a no-show.

There have been other lowlights during the Zimmer era — a 34-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in December 2016 comes to mind — but in that case it came during a season in which the Vikings had fallen apart after a 5-0 start and the fact was that team just gave up.

Coming off a 22-point fourth quarter that helped the Vikings rally for a 29-29 tie at Green Bay, there was no reason for the Vikings to be this checked out on Sunday afternoon. Minnesota would have won that game if rookie kicker Daniel Carlson had made just one of three field-goal attempts and the organization thought they solved that issue by signing veteran Dan Bailey last week.

Bailey didn’t get on the field to attempt a field goal Sunday and had to be wondering if he had made the right decision by waiting to sign with the Vikings. Remember, Baily wanted to play for a contender.

The Vikings were expected to cruise past Buffalo, improve to 2-0-1 and head to Los Angeles for Thursday’s marquee game against the Rams. This was supposed to be a matchup of two of the best teams in the conference and establish a bit of early-season supremacy.

Instead, the Vikings will arrive in Los Angeles with a 1-1-1 record and serious questions about just how good they are or what direction they are headed.

If Sunday is any indication, that direction won’t be anywhere near the top of the NFC by the time the snow begins to fall.

The post Zulgad: Sound the alarm: Vikings’ incompetence in loss to woeful Bills is cause for concern appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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