Frustrated Vikings trying to stay strong

The Vikings are in the bottom three teams in the league in several important categories. Players are frustrated and Leslie Frazier has some tweaks to the scheme in store.

Only two teams in the NFL have given up more points than the Minnesota Vikings and the 225 they have surrendered through seven games.

They are on the tails of the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8) at 264 points given up and the Washington Redskins (2-5) at 229 points.

They'd be best off not looking at too many of the statistics and rankings or depression may set in. On offense, the Vikings are ranked 29th overall, 17th rushing and 28th passing. Defensively, it's even a little worse. They are 30th overall, 21st against the run and 29th against the pass.

They have given up more first downs than any other team and their third-down defense is the worst in the league.

"It's always fixable," LB Chad Greenway said, reiterating a phrase that has been heard numerous times in the last two months. "The best part is that it isn't an effort issue. It's in the execution of the call that's being played, and (from) a player standpoint it's the call you have to play and at the best of your abilities. But you can't do that on third down expecting anything, especially on these guys."

"These guys" were the Green Bay Packers, who converted 13 of 18 third downs and added to the insult by making on another two fourth-down tries.

The 44-31 final might not have done the game justice. The Vikings were down 41-17 before a couple of meaningless touchdowns in the final five minutes. The Packers exposed numerous flaws, including missed tackles and a depleted secondary, but especially that third-down defense.

Leslie Frazier, a defensive-minded head coach, said some scheme changes will be implemented.

"Our guys are doing the very best that they can. We have some young guys on the back end that are battling. They're getting better. They're making some headway. I don't know very much you can do there," Frazier said. "We've got to look at what we're asking them to do and how can we help them to be better at what we're asking them to do. There are some things that we can try that should help us and that's the approach that we'll take this week."

CB Chris Cook said there wasn't a common denominator on third downs Sunday night. The Packers threw it with success. They ran it with success. And the Vikings struggled to stop it all.

The Packers ran 73 offensive plays. They had drives of 17, 15, 14, 10 and nine plays.

"I wouldn't say we were tired. I would say more frustrated than tired," Cook said. "I don't even know what to say. We were out there for a long time. We've got to find a way to get off the field on third down."

The Vikings are last in the league in third-down efficiency on defense, have given up more first downs per game than any other team, are 30th in points per game given up, and 31st in net point differential per game.

"I know guys are frustrated right now, but I wouldn't say guys are down and out," Cooks said. "(Sunday) would be a bad day for me to try to get a feel for where we're at. I have to get back in the locker room to see how guys are mentally and how we approach practice and meetings."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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