Patriots Hand Vikings Another "Bitter Pill"

The Minnesota Vikings are starting to slide into the territory reserved for the the hopeless. After losing to the Patriots 28-18, Minnesota is searching for answers and wondering if Favre can provide them.

The Vikings entered the month of October facing a tough four-game stretch that was expected to play a role in defining their season. Things couldn't have gone much worse.

Minnesota completed the stretch by losing 28-18 at New England on Sunday and went 1-3 in those games to drop to 2-5 on the season. That ties them with the Detroit Lions at the bottom of the NFC North and means it's going to be an uphill climb to win a third consecutive division title.

The Vikings will begin trying to dig themselves out of their current hole on Sunday when they play host to Arizona. This will come after Brad Childress' team dropped games at the Jets, Green Bay and New England. The Vikings' only victory in October came against hapless Dallas at Mall of America Field.

"All these defeats are bitter pills to swallow, so we have nine (games) to go," Childress said. "So it's important that we kind of cast our vision forward."

The interesting thing is no one expected the Vikings to be at this point entering their halfway point of the season. The Vikings went 12-4 last season and advanced to the NFC title game.

Brett Favre's decision to return for a 20th NFL season in late August meant the Vikings had all of their starters from 2009 back and then Randy Moss was added in a trade with New England. That happened after Sidney Rice was lost for a good portion of the season, if not all of it, after he had hip surgery.

But Favre has battled inconsistency and injuries. The 41-year-old was brilliant last season but this year has battled tendinitis in his throwing elbow and then suffered a stress fracture in his left ankle and a fractured heel on Oct. 24 at Green Bay. His most recent injury occurred Sunday as he took a helmet to the chin and had to leave the game and get eight stitches.

Favre said he continues to keep playing but at the rate the Vikings are going it might not matter. Expected to bring big-play capability, Moss was a non-factor against his former team.

Moss caught only one pass for eight yards and was targeted twice as New England used safety help and unique strategies to neutralize him.

This helped wide receiver Percy Harvin catch six passes for 104 yards but didn't stop Moss from getting frustrated enough that he gave a postgame news conference at which he wouldn't take questions but questioned why the Vikings didn't listen to what he had to tell them about New England's approach.

Moss said he is done answering questions from the media after the NFL fined him $25,000 last week for not being cooperative with the press corps.

LINEUP WATCH: Husain Abdullah returned after missing one game because of a concussion and was reinserted as the starting strong safety. Tyrell Johnson had started in place of Abdullah on Oct. 24 at Green Bay but against the Patriots he was inactive for the fourth time this season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10,022 -- Career passes attempted by Brett Favre after he threw 32 on Sunday at New England.

--CB Chris Cook left the Vikings' game at New England in the fourth quarter after getting kicked in his left thigh.
--RB Toby Gerhart saw extensive time on third down against the Patriots and caught a season-high five passes for 67 yards.
--LB Chad Greenway has led the Vikings in tackles in all seven of their games this season. Greenway was credited with 11 tackles against the Patriots.
--DT Jimmy Kennedy was inactive for the second time in three weeks and could be the odd man out as Letroy Guion and Fred Evans are seeing playing time behind starter Pat Williams.
--CB Lito Sheppard missed a second consecutive game because of a broken right hand. It's not certain when he will be ready to return. Sheppard has been doing limited work in practice.

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