Each of the Vikings’ seven losses this season has followed a fairly familiar script. Though the final scores and margins have varied, there have been several consistencies throughout.
Minnesota has scored 21 points or fewer in all seven, and allowed 24 points or fewer in five of the seven games. Here, then, is a choose-your-own-misadventure style recap of those seven games, including Sunday’s by-the-book 24-21 loss to the Packers:
It was a game in which the Vikings (had their chances to gain momentum early/had a chance to win at the end), but Minnesota ultimately came up short.
On offense, there were plenty of culprits. Quarterback (Matt Cassel/Christian Ponder/Teddy Bridgewater) had a hard time establishing consistency in the passing game, and the Vikings were held shy of 200 yards net yards passing for the game.
(Cassel/Ponder/Bridgewater) had some success on intermediate routes, but they were undone by (a lack of opportunities to make plays down the field/inaccuracy on deeper passes). After the game, though, coaches said the team was making progress at the quarterback position and that it would be a process.
The Vikings offensive line also struggled to adequately protect (Cassel/Ponder/Bridgewater). Left tackle Matt Kalil (committed costly drive-stalling penalties/had a handful of plays that led directly to quarterback pressures or sacks), leading to more vocal criticism that the 2012 No. 4 overall pick continues to regress.
Wide receivers, too, had a (hard time getting open/hard time holding onto the ball), compounding the offense’s problems. Cordarrelle Patterson had fewer than 60 yards from scrimmage and (didn’t seem to be a major part of the offensive game plan/didn’t seem to be fully engaged with the offense/struggled with nagging injuries).
The play-calling of offensive coordinator Norv Turner was questioned, too, at times. Fans on social media reacted with displeasure when the Vikings (ran a draw play on third and long/completed a five-yard pass on third and long/couldn’t seem to move the ball at all against a defense that had been struggling).
It added up to a frustrating day on offense, and it put increasing pressure on the defense – which generally played well except for (a slow start/a few big plays/a rough fourth quarter).
The defense was constantly working against short fields because of (turnovers/the offense’s inability to move the ball) and eventually the cracks in that unit showed up. An inability to stop the run – the Vikings allowed more than 100 yards on the ground – was compounded by (costly penalties/a poor job getting off the field on third down).
Afterward, head coach Mike Zimmer expressed frustration that his team (couldn’t get a key stop when it needed to/couldn’t put more points on the board) and said the game highlighted just how far the team has to go to be a consistent winner.