September 12, 2011

Vikings drop season opener to Chargers, 24-17

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:20

Aside from an electrifying start, as Percy Harvin ran the opening kickoff all the way back for a TD, this game was forgettable for both teams.

The Vikings led through most of the game, but were not able to score any points at all in the second half, wasting good individual performances by Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Jared Allen, and Erin Henderson. Donovan McNabb just missed setting a team record: fewest passing yards in a game (7 of 15 for a paltry 39 yards). The record was 21 yards in a 1971 game against Green Bay. His very first pass as a Viking was tipped and intercepted.

Over at The Viking Age, Jon Merckle has some questions for new offensive co-ordinator Bill Musgrave:

It’s obvious this team is motivated to play for Frazier. The defense made plays and Frazier has a defensive background. But when you account for a total of 187 yards of offense you have to point the finger at the man in charge. The play calling was dismal and the execution was even worse. Why did Adrian Peterson only get 16 carries when he was averaging over 6 yards a carry? Would have it killed the offense to run sweeps with Adrian to the outside? Isn’t this suppose to be an offense predicated on getting playmakers the ball? What was with those two wildcat plays in the middle of the 3rd quarter that killed a drive? Where were all of these two-tight ends sets that were suppose to get Visanthe Shiancoe and Kyle Rudolph the ball? When will this offense be opened up? Is this all a ploy so Christian Ponder starts sooner rather than later?

Guess we have a whole season for these question to be answered. Lets just hope it’s not a long one.

It may have been a tactical decision, as the talk all through the pre-season had been the new emphasis the Vikings would be putting on their various two- and three-tight end sets, but there was very little directed to Visanthe Shiancoe or Kyle Rudolph. Tom Pelissero explained the likely eason in a Twitter update: “Seeing a lot of tweets saying #Vikings didn’t use tight ends. Yes, they did — two and three on almost every play. They weren’t open much.”

Jim Souhan can always be depended upon to find the best way to describe things:

Naming rights change so quickly these days, you had to wonder Sunday whether the Vikings were playing in Qualcomm Stadium or Jurassic Park.

Their offense looked prehistoric or, to put it another way, almost as old as Donovan McNabb.

In the second half of his debut, McNabb threw for fewer yards than there are Kardashian sisters.

Spotted seven points by Percy Harvin’s 103-yard return of the opening kickoff for a touchdown, presented with an injury to Chargers placekicker Nate Kaeding that saved them about nine points, the Vikings took a 17-7 halftime lead. Then the Chargers discovered the Vikings’ flaw: Rugby teams are easy to defend.

Modern football is ruled by the forward pass, by precision throws and innovative offense. Into the modern world stumbled the Vikings, who on Sunday viewed the forward pass the way cavemen would view space travel.

Of course, Tom Pelissero has a way with acid words, too:

The second half of Monday’s tape session at Winter Park will be the football equivalent of watching a snuff film.

For 30 minutes, the Minnesota Vikings took incredible pains to choke out a chance they probably didn’t deserve in a 24-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers that easily could have been a rout.

They couldn’t throw, couldn’t protect, couldn’t tackle and eventually couldn’t even stay on their side of the scrimmage line Sunday afternoon as officials waved the Chargers to a season-opening win, Qualcomm Stadium shaking with equal parts cheers and cackles.

“Slip away?” veteran end Jared Allen said, repeating a reporter’s question. “We blew it, man. We gave the game away.”

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