Thereís a theory going around that the Vikings overindulged in purple Slurpees in the locker room before Sundayís game with the Colts and suffered from a dramatic case of team brain freeze. What else could explain one of the sloppiest, lethargic, andóletís say itóstupid losses in recent memory?
It all started days before the contest, when Jared Allen spouted off to the media that he was going to have some choice words for rookie quarterback Andrew Luck when he planted him with his first sack. I know that Allen isnít going to be voted president of Mensa anytime soon, but even he should know that you should save telling reporters about whispering sweet nothings in the opposing quarterbackís ear until after the game is over, and then only if you actually get a sack.
Instead of a whistle or an opening gun, Sundayís game should have started with Michael Buffer announcing: ďLet the stupidity begin!Ē By the time the dust settled, the Vikings had been penalized 11 times for 105 yards and lost to a rookie quarterback with limited offensive weapons and a patchwork line.
In the first quarter, the Vikings were driving and had a second and two from the Colts 30 on their opening series. Adrian Peterson slashed for a nine yard gain that would have given the Vikings a first down on the Coltsí 21 yard line. It was a great play that energized Adrian Peterson fans, except it didnít count. Charlie Johnson committed a Vikingsí specialtyÖhe got called for a hold on a running play. The team never got another first down and had to settle for a Blair Walsh 51-yard field goal. This was a ticky tack penalty, but it put the Vikings in a conservative shell that they didnít break out of until the end of the game.
By halftime the Vikings had been penalized four times for 25 yards. If the halftime speech had anything to do with playing clean to keep the flag happy replacement referees from influencing the contest, it must have fell on deaf, or Twitter distracted, ears.
The third quarter started with two of the most boneheaded plays in one series imaginable. With the Colts punting on fourth and five from their own 45, Leslie (the silent, unemotional genius) Frazier calls for a punt block package. Andrew Senedejo gets flagged for a 15-yard roughing the kicker penalty. The Colts get new life, but our defense stands tough, and on third and 16 Luck has nothing downfield and scrambles to the sideline to kill the drive. A frustrated Jared Allen canít just let him go out of bounds and stop the drive. He hits Luck out of bounds and the team gets called for another roughing penalty. No defense can survive 30 yards of penalties and escape unscathed. Adam Vinatieri gets a 45-yard field goal for a Colts 20-6 lead.
The Vikings were in a deep hole, and finally opened up their offense, but
their play was still sloppy, and lacked urgency. Percy Harvin remains the teamís most potent offensive weapon, and of course, the Vikings are overusing him. With the Colts holding Adrian Peterson in check the Vikings targeted Harvin on so many wide receiver screens that he was dehydrated and had to drink pickle juice on the sidelines. They should have given some to Frazier. Maybe it would have made him change his facial expression.
And if the Vikings 23-20 loss at the end of regulation left a bad taste in your mouth, stock up on the Listerine. The 49ers are coming to town.