2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Vikings trying to regain winning touch

By DAVE CAMPBELL - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-09-16 17:49

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - The winless Minnesota Vikings, fresh from their second defeat, are facing plenty of pending problems that must be fixed if they're going to return to the playoffs.

The day after losing on a last-second touchdown pass in Chicago, though, the focus was inevitably still hovering around that final sequence and what could've been done to prevent the collapse.

Their performance in the 31-30 loss to the Bears on Sunday was better overall than the opening defeat in Detroit, but there's no consolation for that in the NFL.

``We're a resilient group. We've got a lot of veteran guys in here, and we've just got to keep trucking, man,'' cornerback Chris Cook said.

``It's a long season. Fourteen games left. You know? It can be all uphill from now. It can all go downhill. I'm definitely, definitely, sure that we're going to go uphill from here.''

Last season, the Vikings went 5-1 in games decided by seven points or fewer. The grit was clearly there on the rainy afternoon in Chicago, but the late-game touch was missing.

Jay Cutler led the Bears to the go-ahead score, going 66 yards in 10 plays and 3 minutes, 5 seconds, using up all but the 10 seconds that were left. He completed four passes of 10-plus yards on that march.

After forcing two fumbles, two interceptions, two punts and one field goal over the seven previous possessions from the second quarter on, the Vikings defense watched all that good work go to waste.

And coach Leslie Frazier was still trying to take the blame for it, mentioning at least a half-dozen times during his 20-minute news conference on Monday that he should've interjected with a different scheme before two of those four significant passes.

``I could've helped with some strategy there,'' Frazier said.

He declined to specify for competitive reasons. He also said he didn't need to take over the play calling from defensive coordinator Alan Williams.

``Alan and our defensive staff, they've done a very good job. They did a good job a season ago and they're doing a good job now,'' Frazier said.

Up next is their first game at home, against also-winless Cleveland. The Vikings, in 2008, are actually the last NFL team to make the playoffs after losing their first two games of the season.

``It's nice to know you're the last team to do that,'' linebacker Chad Greenway said. ``But you can't look ahead and say we're just going to do it or the past is going to repeat itself. You have to put the work in and make the plays on Sunday.

``We're doing the right things during the week. Now, on Sunday when it comes down to crunch time, make the plays when they come to you.''

Confusion in the back seven of the defense was apparent on the two plays in particular Frazier wanted to take the blame for, and both of them went to tight end Martellus Bennett.

The first one netted 23 yards on an underneath pattern on first-and-20 from the 39. Then the winner came on a sideline route when Cutler put the ball over Cook and into Bennett's hands near the pylon.

``A few guys were off. And when guys are off, other guys try to cover it to help them out, and things happen. It's football, man. It's a fast game,'' Cook said, adding: ``Those guys on offense get paid, too, and they practice against the same looks that we give `em. They just made plays in the game when it counted, and we didn't.''

The offense can't be ignored, either.

Christian Ponder had a productive second half, but he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown before that.

Adrian Peterson finished with 100 yards rushing, but some of his ball-carrying decisions, Frazier said, could have been better.

The decision by offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave to run Peterson on third-and-goal at the 4-yard line stood out, too, because the Vikings had to settle for the field goal that stretched the lead to 30-24 with 3:17 remaining.

Rookie wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, was on the field for only six plays on offense. He took five snaps the week before.

That, too, prompted a promise from the coach to insert his opinion in the strategic process.

``We're well aware of his talents. He doesn't get lost. But we'll get it rectified,'' Frazier said.

---

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org

---

Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

Roddy WhiteJul 24 08:33a

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White signed a four-year extension with the team that will keep him under team control for the next five years, according to sources.

Donald ThomasJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) and OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps, biceps) have been cleared to practice.

Josh GordonJul 24 08:23a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will have his appeal hearing for his one-year suspension Aug. 1.

Greg OlsenJul 24 01:43a

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen said he is tired of hearing criticism about Carolina's new receiving corps, which is largely made up of journeymen and unproven commodities. Olsen added [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 24 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is expected to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the near future, which likely would lead to a decision on any discipline for Smith.

Anthony BarrJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr was with the team for just a few days during offseason workouts due to NFL rules. Head coach Mike Zimmer is eager to see [ More ]

Sharrif FloydJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd had a good offseason, but head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the defensive tackle is trying to be too fine. 'Sharrif has a lot of [ More ]

C. PattersonJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson will remain on kickoff returns despite an expanded role in the offense this season. 'We want our best players to get their hands on [ More ]

Montell OwensJul 23 11:23p

Detroit Lions FB Montell Owens has company, as the team will employ a more traditional fullback in the offense. They signed FB Jed Collins for the role. Owens is [ More ]

Harrison SmithJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings safeties Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo will be battling during training camp and the preseason for the starting job opposite FS Harrison Smith. 'That will be interesting, [ More ]

Matt CasselJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel saw a majority of the snaps during spring workouts, but QB Christian Ponder has a chance to start, and head coach [ More ]

Chad GreenwayJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway could be used as the starting middle linebacker, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 'It's a possibility. We keep working him in there. We're [ More ]

Troy NiklasJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (hand) has been cleared to participate in training camp, and was working Wednesday, July 23.

Dan WilliamsJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams will open training camp as the team's starting nose tackle with NT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.

Johnny ManzielJul 23 10:23p

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine thinks QB Johnny Manziel needs to increase dedication to earn the starting job. 'I think he knows that in order to compete well, [ More ]

Theo RiddickJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick has the chance to break into the rotation at tailback, and he has drawn considerable praise from his teammates and coaches for his development [ More ]

Joique BellJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (nee) missed most of the offseason due to a knee injury, although he has said his condition is minor and he expects to be [ More ]

Jed CollinsJul 23 10:23p

The Detroit Lions are re-incorporating the traditional fullback into their new offensive scheme this season, and that's why they went out and signed FB Jed Collins.

Cheta OzougwuJul 23 07:23p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was transferred to the Saints' Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, July 23.

Billy WinnJul 23 06:53p

The Cleveland Browns placed OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed), DE Billy Winn (undisclosed) and LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) on the non-football injury list Wednesday, July 23.

Kyle OrtonJul 23 06:33p

Free-agent QB Kyle Orton (Cowboys) does not want to retire and wants to play in 2014, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Conner VernonJul 23 06:23p

The Cleveland Browns placed CB Royce Adams, LB Brandon Magee and WR Conner Vernon on the no-recall waivers list Wednesday, July 23.

Terrance WestJul 23 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed) said on his Twitter page that he passed his conditioning test and people need to 'stop making up your [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group