The Minnesota Vikings have concerns stemming beyond the quarterback position. In Sunday’s 41-20 loss to the Seahawks the Vikings kept up until the end of the 1st half when they allowed the Seahawks to set the lead at 11 before heading to the locker room. After reviewing that game I have come up with three areas that need improvement:
- Take care of the football
As an offensive unit the Vikings turned the ball over four times. Christian Ponder accounted for three of the teams turnovers with two interceptions and a lost fumble before leaving the game in the 4th quarter. Matt Cassel came in and threw a tipped screen for an interception after Ponder’s exit. This has become a cause for concern in Minnesota this season. The offense has to take care of the football at all times and that begins with the quarterback. The only reasoning for the turnovers is some of the interceptions were on tipped passes. While the others made you scratch your head in confusion. Every time the defense made a stop in the second half the offense would sputter out and punt the ball away. Especially in the 3rd quarter where neither team scored points. The Seahawks defense with a 24-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter not only scored on an interception but they gave their offense possession with great field position. The Seahawks scored 17 in the 4th to put the game out of reach.
- Pass coverage
The only interceptions by defensive backs this season have been made by AJ Jefferson(1) and Harrison Smith(2). Jefferson’s interception in week 9 is the last of this season since week 4 against Pittsburgh. That is concerning for a defense that was supposed to have gotten better with the addition of Xavier Rhodes in the secondary. It seems Rhodes was given to much responsibility right away causing him to struggle at times. I expect he will get better with time and experience as a starter. In Sunday’s game Russell Wilson was able to throw the ball with ease against a Vikings secondary which couldn’t do much of anything to stop the Seahawk’s quarterback. Marshawn Lynch had a career day with 63 total yards and three total touchdowns. The defense had some moments where it stepped up causing Seattle to punt, unfortunately the offense was unable to make anything happen with these opportunities, especially in the third quarter.
- Offensive Line
The offensive line has struggled all season after helping Adrian Peterson have a monster season just one year ago. Matt Kalil and John Sullivan have surprised me this season with a lack of production. They were the anchor on the offensive line and now they can’t get Peterson the same holes this season. In this Seattle game there were many opportunities for lineman to block a giant hole for Peterson to run through, but couldn’t get it done. Adrian Peterson is having a down year so far and I put the blame on that mediocre offensive line.
The Vikings have many issues thus far, I believe this draft will be important for this franchise to move forward and grow into a playoff team next season. Sitting at 2-8, the Vikings are in prime position for a high draft pick. At this point who isn’t thinking about the draft? It will be huge in the draft to fill many holes in the defensive secondary and on the offensive line. With a high value pick the team should look to trade down and pick up more draft choices in the mid to late first round. I don’t see a quarterback candidate that can “save” this franchise like Andrew Luck did last year for the Colts. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out the next few months.