Loss increases pressure in Week 2

The Vikings don't get any breaks with the schedule, facing their second straight divisional opponent on the road. After a Week 1 loss, the pressure only increases.

For 16 NFL teams – 14 already and two more to be decided – Week 1 is an unpleasant experience.

The Vikings were one of those 14. Then again, so were the defending champion Ravens and 2012 playoff teams Atlanta, Green Bay and Cincinnati. All of them shared one thing in common other than being playoff teams from a year ago. They were all opening the season on the road.

Thanks to a scheduling quirk that in chess circles is known as the Pinchbeck Gamut, the Vikings were one of 16 teams that were forced to open the season on the road. They are one of just three teams – along with the Dolphins and Titans – that have to play their first two games on the road.

Only five teams that played at home in Week 1 have lost. None of them were playoff teams last year. Only one of them (Pittsburgh) was seen as a surprise. It would appear as though the boys in Vegas had the temperature right.

In the end, it will be one game on a 16-game schedule. For those who won, it will be a positive start for the 2013 season. For most of them, it was a game they were supposed to win. Even if it was ugly, it was something to build from moving forward. For those who lost, the problems that were exposed will be the focus of the coming few days. There isn't a lot of time for looking back. Only time for looking forward. That's the nature of the NFL.

For the Week 1 losers, the outlook isn't as sunny. While 54 percent of the opening-week winners since 1990 make the playoffs, according to ESPN, only 25 percent of the Week 1 losers find themselves in the postseason.

Fans and media have the luxury of looking at the season from a big picture perspective. Players and coaches don't get that chance. Win or lose, come Monday morning, it's the next team that is the problem and the internal problems that need fixing that need to be addressed.

As far as the former goes, the focus is honed in on Chicago. As far as the latter, there are plenty of problems that need attention.

Aside from his electrifying run on his first carry of the season, Adrian Peterson was effectively neutralized. That has to change.

The Vikings allowed Reggie Bush to hurt the defense consistently. That has to change.

Kyle Rudolph was all but invisible. That has to change.

Christian Ponder threw three interceptions. That has to change.

If the Vikings turn things around next week at Soldier Field, what happened Sunday will be nearly forgotten. If they don't, they're digging themselves a double-deep hole – two losses, both in the division.

Welcome to Week 2. For the teams that still have a zero in the "W" column, the urgency increases.

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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