Panic Room

Following Sunday's humbling crushing at the hands of the Bengals, the panic button has apparently been pushed. And held down.

The headline story on one of the local Twin Cities news channels following the Vikings' 37-8 dismantling by the Bengals included a written line that took up the bottom third of the screen. It stated "Should Tice Be Fired?"

That seemed to sum up the panic mode that has creeped into the mindset of Vikings fans and media types alike. After a disappointing season-opening loss to the Buccaneers that was chalked up more to Vikings mistakes than a mauling by the Bucs, Sunday's loss had all the charm and grace of Ground Zero. The offense committed seven turnovers. The defense allowed more than 500 yards. There's plenty of blame to go around.

Toward the end of the game, Tice appeared to take over the play-calling duties from Steve Loney, which was a question many team observers had before the season started. What started poorly snowballed into one of the worst defeats in recent Vikings memory.

While it isn't our job to be apologists for the team, the fact of the matter is that the Vikings are one game out of first place in the NFC North, behind a Bears team that has a rookie quarterback who is going to struggle and a Lions team that got equally dismantled by the Bears.

It's not time to go hide in the panic room, but everyone -- from Tice to the guys on the practice squad -- are going to be under the microscope now. As well they should be.

* VU has been told there are some serious concerns among the Vikings medical personnel about the knee injury suffered by Darren Sharper Sunday. While they're hoping for the best, an MRI today could show some extensive damage, which could put Sharper on the shelf for a month or more.
* Michael Bennett expressed some frustration in the locker room after the game after being pulled twice for fumbling and giving the distint impression that he's frustrated with the short leash Tice has put him on.
* Daunte Culpepper's 36.4 passer rating was the worst of his career.

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