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The Aftermath: Vikings vs. Chiefs

October 2, 2011

After three straight losses to open the season, I can’t blame my wife for napping through most of the Vikings game. Yet, she woke up just in time to see the team attempt a comeback. But just like the past three weeks, the Vikings could not pull it out at the end of the game. The final tally? The Kansas City Chiefs over the Minnesota Vikings 22-17.

A Deep Threat?

Entering the season, the Vikings lacked a receiver with the speed to stretch the field and the ability to make the long touchdown catch. On Sunday afternoon, the team may have found what they have been missing. Late in the first quarter, Donovan McNabb connected with Devin Aromashodu for a 34-yard score to give the Vikings the early lead. I remember speaking with Vikings Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Spielman during training camp and he called Aromashodu “intriguing.” If the Vikings offense can replicate more big plays like Sunday’s long touchdown pass, Spielman’s off-season acquisition may turn out to be just what the team needs.

Mixing It Up

Despite the loss, the Vikings offensive unit looked improved. Visanthe Shiancoe, who hauled in six passes for 58 yards, led Bill Musgrave’s offense, and McNabb spread the ball around to eight different receivers. Bernard Berrian even got involved converting a 4th-and-18 late in the game to keep the Vikings hopes alive. Add in Percy Harvin’s four rushes for 67 yards and Jenkins touchdown catch and the Vikings offense was on the verge of being multi-dimensional.

One Play

Football games often come down to who makes fewer mistakes, and Sunday’s contest was no different. McNabb’s interception did not help the team’s cause, but one lapse on defense stood out as the difference maker. Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel on a pump-fake turned around cornerback Cedric Griffin and receiver Dwayne Bowe made him pay with a 52-yard touchdown catch-and-run. Bowe’s score put the Chiefs up by two scores and effectively killed the Vikings chances for a victory.

It’s Just That Kind Of Season

While there is no excuse for the plethora of pre-snap penalties the Vikings have accumulated this season, the ball doesn’t appear to be bouncing the team’s way very often. Case in point, when the Chiefs were flagged for offensive pass interference in the end zone, it backed them up with a 1st-and-25 situation. Normally, that would be a difficult place to be against the Vikings defense, but the very next play the Chiefs converted for a first down, which led to one of Ryan Succop’s five field goals.

Up Next?

The Vikings will return home to face the Arizona Cardinals as they look for their first victory of the season. While there will be calls for rookie Christian Ponder to make his first NFL start, I don’t see head coach Leslie Frazier giving up on McNabb this early. If the losing trend continues, however, he may not have much of a choice.

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