Notebook: ‘There is no excuse for today’

Vikings players were frustrated with themselves and the result, with John Sullivan summing it up: “There’s no excuse for today.” Plus, get more than a dozen notes that help tell the tale of the loss.

There have been some frustrating games the Viking have played over the past two seasons, but Sunday’s 17-3 loss to the Detroit Lions may have been at or near the top of that list.

Teddy Bridgewater got sacked eight times. He threw three interceptions, which weren’t all his fault. Numerous passes were tipped at the line of scrimmage. Cordarrelle Patterson accounted for just 17 offensive yards. The running backs had just 35 yards on 13 carries. The team was five minutes away from being shut out for the first time in seven years.

In short, it was a nightmare.

“There’s not a whole lot to be said,” center John Sullivan said. “There is no excuse for today. We didn’t play well enough and need to work harder.”

The biggest issue was turnovers. The Vikings got into the red zone on their first drive, but Bridgewater’s first pass was intercepted. Two more would follow. While the defense kept the game within reach until the fourth quarter, turnovers haunted the Vikings and kept them frustrated and beaten up.

“Any time you turn the ball over, it’s going to really affect your offense,” running back Jerick McKinnon said. “I think our defense played really well today. Our offense? We just weren’t able to complement them. We couldn’t get anything going. It was just hard for us today.”

The most glaring mismatch Sunday was a Detroit defensive line that has helped the Lions become the top-rated defense in the league and they did nothing to dissuade that opinion. Ziggy Ansah, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, George Johnson and Jason Jones took turns overpowering the Vikings’ offensive line, but the offensive woes weren’t the private domain of the front-line troops. Nobody excelled on offense.

“The blame is not on them,” Wright said. “I’ll be the first guy to tell you that. I’ll take just as much blame as the O-line or anybody they want to put the blame on or anybody who wants to take the blame. I’ll take the blame. It was everybody’s fault. This is a team game. It’s not like another spot where one guy can completely take over. We win as a team and we lose as a team.”

The frustration for the Vikings stems from the fact that they believe they can light things up offensively. They have the playmakers. They can move the ball up and down the field. But, on Sunday, it all fell apart. Nothing worked, and as Sullivan noted, it was fundamental breakdowns that cost the Vikings dearly all game long.

“We need to go out and execute like we did against Atlanta,” Sullivan said. “That’s what it comes down to. The nice part is that we get a lot of opportunities. We get to come back a week from today and we have the chance to put all of this behind us. In the meantime, we’ll have to go back, review this tape, see what went wrong and then fix it this week in practice.”

Coming off a week in which the Vikings were more rested coming off an embarrassing beating at Lambeau Field against the Packers, the Vikings had high hopes of tightening the division race in the NFC North. Instead, they laid another egg.

This will be a crucial few weeks coming up for the Vikings because, after losing four of their last five games, it’s time for everyone to be accountable if they’re going to turn around the 2014 season.

“Every man has to take a look in the mirror and challenge himself – that’s the only way,” linebacker Jasper Brinkley said. “That’s what we all have to do

GAME DAY NOTES


  • The Brutal Stat Department brings us this: over the last two games, the Vikings offense has allowed more sacks (14) than it has scored points (13).

  • The two teams combined for just 467 yards on 128 plays – 255 for Detroit on 65 plays and 212 for the Vikings on 63 plays.

  • Both defenses dominated on third down. The Vikings converted just 3 of 14 third downs, but they were better than the Lions, who converted just 1 of 13 third downs.

  • In his first career start, McKinnon ran 11 times for 40 yards. Matt Asiata had just two carries for minus-5 yards.

  • Cordarrelle Patterson was targeted eight times but caught just two passes for 15 yards and didn’t have his first reception until there was just 5:30 to play,

  • The Vikings scored with 4:53 to play, avoiding their first shutout since Nov. 11, 2007 when they were shut out 34-0 at Green Bay.

  • The game-killer for the Vikings came late in the third quarter. With neither team able to sustain any offense, the Lions put together a 14-play, 60-yard drive that elapsed almost eight minutes of clock time.

  • The Lions didn’t convert a third down until three minutes left in the third quarter and that came on a defensive holding call on Harrison Smith. Prior to that, the Lions were 0-for-8 on third down and it turned out to be the only third down Detroit would convert.

  • Kicker woes continued for Detroit Sunday. Former Bronco Matt Prater is the third Lions kicker in six games, after the team cut two kickers. Prater didn’t do much better, missing two of three field goals, including one that resonated throughout the stadium when it banged off an upright.

  • For the second straight game, the Vikings didn’t have any points in the first half.

  • At halftime, the Vikings had just 77 yards of offense on 29 plays.

  • Bridgewater didn’t complete a pass until 11 minutes remained in the first half.

  • In the first quarter, Stafford had a passer rating of 157.3. Bridgewater, whose only pass was intercepted, had a rating 0.0.

  • The Lions had five first downs before they faced a third-down situation.

  • The Lions got things started strong, scoring on the game’s first drive. Highlighted by a 41-yard screen pass to Theo Riddick, the Lions drove 80 yards in seven plays for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead. The Vikings looked to answer back and drove to the Detroit 15 before Bridgewater was picked off by Glover Quin in the end zone. The offense went all downhill from there.

  • The Vikings have allowed 51 first-quarter points, the most of any team in the NFL.

  • Detroit’s win is only the second win at Minnesota in their last 17 meetings.

  • Rose Murphy, the mother of Bridgewater, sounded the ceremonial Gjallarhorn prior to the game. Murphy is a breast cancer survivor and took part in the ceremony that honored breast cancer survivors, part of the NFL’s initiative in October to raise breast cancer awareness.

  • The paid attendance was 52,213.


  • Viking Update Top Stories