A game can turn on several key moments. As players and coaches will attest, each game has its own flow and style. Sometimes a game can be over for one team before it gets a chance to begin. In Sunday's win over the 49ers, the game turned before the opening kickoff, and something as seemingly meaningless as a coin flip proved to be the turning point of the game.
As the road team, the 49ers were able to call the coin toss and called "tails." It came up heads and the Vikings fans, already in a frenzy from the pregame introductions, got to see their offensive heroes on the field to start the game. It was the third time in four games that the Vikings offense was on the field first. For the third straight time, the team scored a TD on the opening drive and would never trail.
This start would snowball and never let up, as big plays mounted early and never allowed the 49ers to have a chance. Consider the following:
* After winning the toss, the Vikings drove 72 yards in nine plays, highlighted by a 22-yard pass to Randy Moss and a 15-yard Moss TD. Crowd gets loud.
* The crowd caused a false start on the Niners' first offensive play. On Jeff Garcia's second pass attempt, he was intercepted by Corey Chavous, who returned the pick to the 49ers 38-yard line. Crowd noise much louder.
* The Vikings drove eight plays for another touchdown — the final seven of them runs — to take a 14-0 lead with 2:36 left in the first quarter. Crowd gets painfully loud.
* After a pair of defensive stands, the Vikings offense put together an 88-yard drive, highlighted by a 35-yard TD pass to Moss. Crowd becomes deafening.
* After a second Garcia interception, Gus Frerotte threw his third TD of the day, this time to Nate Burleson, to give the Vikings a 28-0 lead. Crowd noise begins to subside, because the game is effectively over.
The 49ers never had a chance in the game. The Vikings took control of the momentum early and never let loose — offensively or defensively. And it all began with the 49ers losing the coin toss — and inadvertently creating the turning point of the game.
Turning Point: Early Strikes
Viking Update Top Stories
Notebook: Problems extended beyond pass proThe Minnesota Vikings had obvious problems with pass protection, but there are other areas head coach Mike Zimmer is addressing, too.
Viking Update7:41 PM
Vikings will look at ‘all options’ to improveComing off a loss that Mike Zimmer termed “embarrassing,” a 21-10 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings will look at all options to rectify the situation.
Viking Update2:42 PM
VIDEO: Zimmer: 'This is a gut-check day'Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer recapped the first loss of the season by pointing out "several dumb things" he found to be uncharacteristic of his team.
Viking Update1:06 PM
Counting snaps: Vikings vs. EaglesDespite a “soft” performance on the offensive line, according to coach Mike Zimmer, the Minnesota Vikings seemed interested in getting a rotation going there.
Viking Update6:23 AM