Turning Point: Vick Injury Doesn't Turn Tide

Injuries are a part of football – the Vikings should know that with one glance at their deactivation list from Sunday. However, when they trailed 14-0 in the second quarter, they had a chance to take advantage of an injury to Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick. Instead, the offense and defense failed the Vikings, increasing their deficit and spelling their doom.

After getting off to a horrible start once again on the road Sunday, the Vikings had a chance to get back into the game when Michael Vick was crumpled with an injury. To that point, nothing had gone right for the Vikings and Vick had looked nearly flawless. When Vick went down, so did the spirits of the home crowd at the Georgia Dome and potentially the game could have turned on its head. Instead, the lack of offensive and defensive intensity for the Vikings created the Turning Point of the Game.

The Vikings appeared to have a chance to take momentum away from the Falcons, forcing Atlanta into a punting situation as they regrouped with more eyes on Vick on the sidelines than what was happening on the field. The Vikings' first chance blew up almost immediately. On a second-and-7 play, Daunte Culpepper had plenty of time to pass but fired a throw too high for anyone to catch. On third down, he faced a full blitz and was sacked for a 7-yard loss by Rod Coleman – killing the drive and forcing a Vikings punt.

With the defense needing to make a big stop, it imploded. It took the Falcons just three plays – a 15-yard pass from Matt Schaub to Brian Finneran sandwiched in between runs of 17 and 37 yards by Warrick Dunn to give Atlanta another touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 3:40 to play.

With a chance to get points in the board before halftime, the Vikings were near midfield after a checkdown pass to Mewelde Moore had gained 27 yards. Instead, a pair of false start penalties, a Culpepper fumble and a sack by the Falcons left the Vikings forced to punt and hope their halftime deficit would remain 21-0.

It didn't, as Schaub scrambled on consecutive plays for 21 and 23 yards to the Vikings 20, where Todd Peterson hit a 38-yard field goal and, instead of the Vikings potentially being back in the game with Vick on the bench, the team was behind 24-0 and the game was, for all intents, over.

The injury to Vick completely changed the face of Sunday's game. The team was concerned. The crowd was silent. Momentum was gone. But the Vikings failed to take advantage of the opportunity and, in the process, fell prey to the Turning Point of the Game.

Viking Update Top Stories