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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings Team Grades: Offensive Struggles Continue To Plague Minnesota

By Vikings – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

By Joe Gunther

The Minnesota Vikings fell to the Detroit Lions 16-13 and can blame no one but themselves. There is such a small margin for error that any mistake is magnified. They made two of them in the final two minutes that gave the game away.

Offense: D-

The Vikings’ offense had a few bright moments, but fell short of putting together a complete offensive performance. Matt Asiata scored a five-yard touchdown in the first half on the Vikings’ first possession of the game. However, the team’s biggest issues came in the fourth quarter. After taking the lead with 12:41 left, they ran just nine plays for 23 yards over their final two offensive possessions.

The last two plays the Vikings ran on offense defined their performance. Sam Bradford completed a short pass to Jerick McKinnon out of the backfield for a seven-yard gain and a first down, but Cordarrelle Patterson was not lined up on the line of scrimmage putting too many players in the backfield. The illegal formation penalty wiped out the first down and forced the offense to try to convert a third-and-seven as well.

Then came miscue number two when Bradford tried to thread a pass to Adam Thielen, but Darius Slay jumped in front of it and intercepted it.

To make matters worse, they lost the only player on the offensive line that had not missed a snap this season as well as their third starting right tackle. Joe Berger left the game in the first half with a concussion and Jeremiah Sirles went down with a leg injury two plays before the interception.

Defense: B

The Vikings’ defense was really good after allowing a touchdown on the game’s opening drive. The Lions had just 29 yards on three drives, as the Vikings scored six straight points to take a three-point lead.

With just over five minutes remaining, they gave up a 68 yard-drive that started at the Lions’ one-yard line to tie the game.

The biggest knock on the unit was their third down efficiency. The Lions converted 6-of-14 tries, which included two 10-plus yard runs by Matthew Stafford.

Special Teams: B

Special teams did their job, but their play didn’t impact the final outcome. Jeff Locke was outstanding once again. He averaged 48.8 yards per punt, and 3-of-4 were downed inside the 20-yard line. He also knocked a 57-yarder out of bounds at the three-yard line. Plus, Kai Forbath made a pair of field goals in the second half to give the Vikings a small lead, but it was not enough for a win.

Coaching: C

The finger pointing often starts with the coaches in a tough loss and this game was no different. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s play calling was criticized for third-down calls that seemed to put the offensive in an impossible position to convert plays. Additionally, the Vikings’ head coach Mike Zimmer also drew criticism for calling a timeout with 1:48 remaining just before Matt Prater tied the game, which left the team with one timeout for their final drive.

As it turned out, the timeout was the correct call. The Lions could have drained more time. Having two timeouts with about 70 seconds left is a far worse situation in a tied game than having 108 seconds and one timeout. Ultimately, the team lost a close divisional game that left the Lions with a one-game advantage and the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings in the NFC North.

Up Next:

The Vikings play the conference leading Dallas Cowboys on Thursday at US Bank Stadium.

Source:: CBS Minnesota

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