Offensive Frustration

Through three games, the Vikings offense has produced just two touchdowns and the frustration has started to bubble to the surface.

During the preseason, one VU staffer quipped that, with the configuration of the 2006 Vikings, when they got to the regular season, games would be automatically stopped whenever one team scored 20 points.

Little did he know at the time how prophetic that statement made in jest would be. Through three games, the Vikings have neither scored nor allowed 20 points in any game. While the defense has done a spectacular job of limiting the opposition in the red zone, the Vikings have scored touchdowns on just two of eight trips in the red zone for their offense.

In their first two wins, the lack of success by the offense was masked by victories. That seemed to change somewhat Sunday, as players responded to the lack of production with frustration. Offensive linemen Matt Birk and Steve Hutchinson were both honest about their frustration, understanding that the O-line is intended to be the crown jewel of the team. Tight end Jermaine Wiggins, who has led the team in receiving the last two seasons, has just three catches in the last two weeks and showed some of his frustration following the game.

The bottom line that most fans should keep in mind is that, when the schedule initially came out, many observers looked at the first three games on the slate -- all against 2005 playoff teams -- and saw a legitimate chance for the Vikings to be 0-3. The fact that they are 2-1 should be viewed as a positive.

However, what can't be viewed as good are the sobering statistics through three games. Chester Taylor, for all of his carries, has as many touchdowns as cornerback Antoine Winfield. Brad Johnson, who has taken every snap at quarterback, has as many touchdown passes as kicker Ryan Longwell.

Things are bound to change as the Vikings begin to hook up with lesser teams in the league, as opposed to the defensive powers they have faced in the Redskins, Panthers and Bears. But until the Vikings start putting up sevens instead of threes on offense, the potential for one play to cost them a game like it did Sunday will persist.

MONDAY NOTES
* Darren Sharper confirmed Sunday that he was the No. 3 emergency quarterback behind Johnson and Brooks Bollinger. At the present time, the Vikings don't have any plans to bring in a third quarterback. Rookie Tarvaris Jackson is expected to be ready to return when the Vikings come off their bye week.
* Kenechi Udeze made the switch from left defensive end to the right side Sunday, replacing the injured Erasmus James. He is likely to remain on the right side and let Darrion Scott and rookie Ray Edwards share time on the left side, while Edwards also see time on the right side. Undrafted rookie Jayme Mitchell also saw action on defense Sunday.
* The kick return position remains up in the air. Troy Williamson began the game returning kickoffs, but most of the game that role was handled by RB Artrose Pinner. But, after the Bears scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the game, Williamson was back returning kicks and gave the team a spark with a 35-yard return that gave the Vikings some hope of a late comeback.
* The Vikings haven't scored an offensive touchdown since their first drive of the second half in the season opener against the Redskins.
* Chester Taylor had 74 yards on 20 carries yesterday, but 24 of those came on one rush, meaning he got just 50 yards on his other 19 carries.

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