This loss hurts, and not because the Vikings lost to the Seahawks, who are back to back NFC Champions.
By Jordan Wright
This loss hurts because of how poorly the Vikings played. I will never hold a loss against a team if they played their best and put up a good fight. But losses like this one will haunt the Vikings and very well could be a turning point in the sea-son. I had the misfortune of attending this game. What I saw was a team that just didn’t care. I was watch-ing the body language of the players, and what I saw was players acting lackadaisical, not hustling, and walking onto and off the field with their hands on their hips and heads lowered. There was an air of defeat around the players that started in the first quarter and never went away. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a horrible game, completing 17 of 28 passes (61 percent) for 118 yards and an interception, while also taking four sacks. Running back Adrian Peterson only ran the ball eight times for 18 yards. Peterson was also the team leader in receptions, catching four passes but only gaining six yards. The biggest reason for the struggles on offense was the offensive line, who neither opened up any lanes for Peterson to run through, nor did they protect Bridgewater and give him time to throw the ball. Besides the four sacks, the offensive line also gave up seven quarterback hits and allowed 10 tackles for a loss. Defensively the Vikings were not striking fear into anyone. While the defense has a built-in excuse, since Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith played little, if at all, it was still an unacceptable performance. Injuries happen in the NFL. Foot-ball is a violent sport. The phrase heard most often in the NFL is “next man up”, meaning every player needs to be ready to play at any given time. None of the players on defense were ready to play on Sun-day, and it showed in the final score. If you’ve been reading my column, you’ll know I choose a player of the game every week. Well this week, I re-watched the game as soon as I got home, and it became clear to me that no player deserves the award this week. I didn’t see a single player who was giving his all, trying to change the outcome of the game. Bottom line is this team didn’t look anything close to a team who is ready to compete with the better teams in the league. As far as the player or players who need the most improvement this week, I was very tempted to just type EVERYONE and leave it at that. But after watching the game again, I fully put this loss on the offensive line. There are some people I really respect who have tried to justify the offensive line’s play by pointing out that the Vikings are without two of their starters. But this was the twelfth game of the year, and these guys have been playing next to each other long enough that I don’t buy that excuse. If the players simply aren’t good enough, and are trying their best but can’t compete, then the blame falls on the coach-ing staff and Rick Spiel-man for not acquiring better talent. I have said it before and I will say it again, this Vikings team will only go as far as the offensive line will take it, and judging by Sunday’s performance, they are doomed. Looking ahead, the Vi-kings will be on the road for their next game, traveling to Arizona to take on the high-powered Cardinal’s in a Thursday night matchup. Entering week 13, Arizona (10-2) had the league’s best offense, scoring over 32 points a game. Defensively, the Cardinals also boast a top 10 scoring defense, allow-ing less than 21 points per game. As soon as the schedule came out, I had already chalked this game up to a loss. Going on the road, on a short week, and in a prime time game all spell disaster for the Vi-kings. I hope I’m wrong. I hope you all write me next week, telling me how wrong I was. But for now, my gut is telling me that this game is going to be ugly. As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me at facebook.com/ skoljwright, or on Twitter @skoljwright. Skol!