When the Vikings blew a 10-point halftime lead in San Diego, it could be written off as a great quarterback (Philip Rivers) having a big second half at home with momentum on his side. When they blew a 17-point halftime lead at home to Tampa Bay, questions starting popping as to why. When they blew a 20-point halftime lead to Detroit, a full dissection of what they're doing wrong began.
It's been CSI Winter Park at the Vikings training complex as coaches and players have broken down film to see exactly where things have broken down. However, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said blame could be place in a bunch of different areas that, individually, may not have resulted in the team's second-half collapses, but collectively may be the culprits.
"I would say a number of things – whether it be attention to detail, focus, physicality, playing smart and discipline or being explosive," Musgrave said. "We just want to be better as a whole so we can replicate our performance for the first half. We want to carry through so we can finish these games the right way."
One area of blame Musgrave wouldn't point to is the lack of conditioning. Several analysts have pointed to the lack of pre-training camp practices and the reduced number of contact practices in the preseason. Although the Vikings' starters never played a full 60 minutes until the San Diego game, Musgrave refused to buy into the notion that the team got worn down.
"I don't think we feel that way at all," Musgrave said. "I think we just need to stay the course and keep getting better each and every week. We'll get there. We're going to find a way. That's our goal this week is to find that way and continue to build in the future."
What he would say is that there is a growing frustration that the team keeps repeating the same problems week after week after week. While he hasn't witnessed anger boiling over in the locker room, he said he can understand the feeling that the players have – knowing that they had wins within their grasp, yet haven't been able to close the deal.
"Not that I've seen, but I think it's human nature for anybody that cares about their profession and has passion," Musgrave said. "It is maddening. It seems like a broken record. We've just got to direct those feelings of frustration in the right way so we can find a way to get it done ultimately."
Perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs will be the cure to what ails the Vikings – they've been outscored as badly as the Vikings in the second half of their games (59-17). But until that happens, there are going to be a lot more questions than answers among the Vikings players and coaches.
Musgrave points to second-half factors
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