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Vikes lose shootout - Outgunned without Moss (11/14/2004)
By John Edstrom

Well fans, going into Monday night's match up with the Colts, my prediction was that there was a small chance that the Vikes would get out in front early and win going away, and a large one that the meltdown would continue apace with a Colts trouncing. The latter almost came to pass, but the Vikes somehow hung in there and made a game out of it, despite opening up with a 25 yard loss on a fumbled snap from center. They just couldn't wait to get on national TV and do that.

It doesn't look like the Purple defense is going to wind up anywhere north of the bottom quarter of the league this year, especially not against the likes of Peyton Manning, who has a release like a snake striking, and loves to throw the quick, rhythm passes over the middle. The Vikes haven't been able to defend against that kind of passer in many years. In fact, they haven't been able to defend against any kind of passer, but they are at their most helpless against a Manning type of passer. Sure enough, the Colts wound up with the final possession, and there went the Purple's last, best chance.

Still, it could have been different. How can professionals being paid millions of dollars manage to fumble the first snap of the game and put themselves into a black hole? How could the officials give the Colts that first TD, when the play clock had clearly run out? Why did the Vikes call such a painfully conservative game in the first half? How could they have managed the clock worse at the end of the first half? Why did Big McKinnie play his third bad game in a row, barely able to get a hand on Dwight Freeny?

If there is any consolation to be taken out of Monday night, it is that the Vikes avoided panic and put in a credible effort that might have been successful if they hadn't shot themselves in the foot repeatedly. It does appear, the second week in a row, that they are beginning to mount a better pass rush. That might have turned the tide with more consistent play at linebacker, which should be developing if they can ever get their people healthy all at once.

Next week it appears that the Vikes will have to go Mossless again to Lambeau Field, where their best hope of avoiding a three-game losing streak will be to catch Brett Favre on one of his bad, interception-tossing days. Who knows? Maybe someone's dog will bite his hand, or he'll catch it in a door. If so, and Daunte returns to his early-season form, the Vikes might set their season back on course for the playoffs. 


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