Vikings players insisted they were panicking, but they were frustrated. Mistakes continued to plague the offense while the defense gave them several opportunities. There were a variety of explanations from the players. Plus, get more than two dozen notes that help tell the tale of the game.
It may have been over-simplified to refer to Sunday's 14-10 loss to Miami as a must-win game. But, the sentiment was very real. It's hard enough to make the playoffs when you start 0-2, but when two division rivals are 2-0, it makes the mountain even more difficult to climb.
The Vikings had chances in the fourth quarter to defeat both the Saints and Dolphins. Instead, they failed to make the big plays and costly turnovers have them off to an 0-2 start. Still, there isn't a sense that the Vikings are feeling the heat or putting too much pressure on themselves. Adrian Peterson
said the problems the offense has can be fixed.
"There's no panic," Peterson said. "We've got things that we can correct and have to come out swinging."
, who was in and out of the lineup much of the day with a hip injury, said that the entire offense needs to start over and finish drives – something they have been sorely lacking in early in the 2010 season.
"We've got sit down as an offense and re-evaluate some things and we'll be fine," Harvin said. "We had a lot of things go good, we just couldn't punch it in (once we got) in the red zone."
led a charge defensively that allowed Miami just 226 total yards. Following an opening drive in which the defense allowed a touchdown, for the rest of the game, Miami's offense managed no points and only 153 yards.
The frustration the defensive players felt wasn't directed at the offense, but it's clear the team is feeling the pressure early in the new season.
"You can't just show up," Williams said. "Nobody cares how many (elite) guys you've got – who's at quarterback, who's on the defensive line, who's at running back. It don't friggin' matter. You've got to play the game. When we realize that, we'll be a lot better. We can't just show up and think we're going to win games."
While the percentages go down for an 0-2 team making the playoffs, Harvin said the team isn't ready to implode. They have one more game before the bye week and can only focus on the job at hand, not how daunting the hole they have dug for themselves will be to get out of.
"I wouldn't say you hit the panic button just yet," Harvin said. "But there is a sense of urgency that has come real quick and get this thing going. The thing about this team is we're not scared to work. We'll go back and look at the tape and hopefully come back next Sunday and get a win."
GAME DAY NOTES
Harvin said he took a helmet hit right on the spot of his hip injury on a second-quarter run by Peterson. He was in and out of the lineup throughout the game and spent time on an exercise bike when the defense was on the field.
"We knew coming into the game that the hip was going to get tight," Harvin said. "It kept tightening up during the game and it was hard to get loose. I kind of forced my way back on the field."
Harvin will get an MRI on Monday to see the extent of the damage.
Ben Leber went down with a back injury in the first half and didn't return to the sidelines. He was also absent from the locker room following the game.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of the game for the Vikings was their statistical domination of the Dolphins. The Vikings ran 72 offensive plays, as opposed to just 46 by Miami and the Vikings gained 364 yards (208 passing, 156 rushing), as opposed to just 226 for Miami (106 passing, 120 rushing). The Vikings held the ball for 35:48 of the game – an 11-minute, 36-second edge. But perhaps the only statistic that mattered were the turnovers, where the Vikings had four (not to mention turning the ball over on downs twice deep in Miami territory) and the Dolphins had two.
The Vikings had the ball in the red zone five times but only came away with one touchdown, which came on a drive that started on the Miami 1-yard line.
The Vikings had five drives of eight or more plays, including drives of 10, 11 and 13 plays. Those five long drives combined to result in just three points.
Brett Favre had arguably his worst game as a Viking, completing 22 of 36 passes for 225 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions for a passer rating of 44.3. Chad Henne did nothing spectacular for Miami – completing nine of 15 passes for 114 yards – but had a passer rating of 106.0.
Adrian Peterson had a very strong game, rushing 28 times for 145 yards and scoring the Vikings' only touchdown. It was his first 100-yard game in his last nine regular-season games. He also caught five passes for 41 yards.
Visanthe Shiancoe led the team as its go-to downfield threat, catching six passes for 86 yards.
Favre's 225 yards moved into second place on the Vikings' historical charts for most passing yards in his first two seasons – a feat he accomplished in just 18 games. He surpassed the total of Fran Tarkenton, who threw for 4,592 yards in 1961-62. He will have a harder time getting into first place, since Warren Moon threw for 8,492 yards in his first two seasons with the Vikings to establish the high-water mark.
Kicker Ryan Longwell scored four points Sunday, giving him 454 points as a Vikings. He is just one point behind Bill Brown's 455 career points and, with two more, he will move into sixth place on the all-time Vikings scoring list.
The Vikings had just two turnovers in nine home games (including the playoffs) last year. They had four on Sunday.
Miami was called for just two penalties in the entire game. The Vikings were flagged seven times.
The first three-and-out drive of game didn't come until 6:10 to play in the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins were clearly confused defensively in the fourth quarter. Twice in the same drive, the team was penalized for having 12 men on the field.
The Vikings had four turnovers, but it could have been worse thanks to a shaky day of trying to return punts. Bernard Berrian called for a fair catch in the first half that he fumbled and subsequently recovered, and Greg Camarillo, who took over return duties from Berrian in the second half, fumbled a punt of his own that the Vikings recovered.
In the third quarter, Toby Gerhart went back to return a kickoff, but Harvin protested on the sidelines and was put in to return the kickoff. Harvin would come out on the next drive with a recurrence of the hip injury that plagued him all week.
A rare sound was heard in the third quarter as Favre was stripped of the ball in the end zone – a loud chorus of boos from the fans.
In the first half, the Vikings dominated almost every statistical category. Peterson ran 12 times for 69 yards and Favre completed 13 of 19 passes for 125 yards. While Peterson would have a big second half, Favre completed just nine of 17 passes for 100 yards and two interceptions in the second half.
Thanks to ball-control drives by both teams, Miami had the ball just three times in the first half.
Jared Allen recorded his 30th sack as a Viking in the second quarter, extending the record for most sacks in the first three seasons of a Vikings career, He broke the old record of 28½ set by Alan Page from 1967-69 in his first two seasons.
It wasn't until 12:30 remained in the second quarter that Favre had his first completion to somebody other than Harvin. In the first quarter, Harvin was on the receiving end of all of Favre's five completions. Harvin didn't catch a pass after the first quarter.
For the second straight game, the Vikings defense allowed a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. Miami got off to a great start as Henne threw a 46-yard bomb to Brandon Marshall to start the drive, followed by five straight runs from Brown and Williams. Henne capped the drive on a third-and-goal situation with a 5-yard touchdown to Hartline to give the Dolphins a 7-0 lead.
The Vikings took a chance on their opening drive that didn't pan out. After converting a pair of third downs, they faced a fourth-and-2 from the Miami 26-yard line. They passed on a 43-yard field goal attempt, but Favre's pass was batted down at the line to turn the ball over to Miami.
Miami won the opening coin toss, but, as has become much more commonplace in recent years, chose to defer and let the Vikings get the ball first to start the game.
The Vikings wore throwback jerseys Sunday for just the fourth time. They wore the jerseys twice in 2008 and once last year.
Former Vikings wide receiver Gene Washington sounded the ceremonial Gjallarhorn to lead the Vikings onto the field. Washington was a standout with the Vikings from 1967-72.
The paid attendance was 63,846, the 129th straight sellout at the Metrodome since 1998.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.