The Vikings still have a winning record, but with the red zone struggles this season and too many more performances like Monday night, Brad Childress' faith in Brad Johnson could be weakening.
Are the Vikings on the cusp of a quarterback controversy?
It doesn't appear that is the case yet, but we could be getting closer to one than anybody expected this season.
Coach Brad Childress made it clear he wasn't happy with the play of quarterback Brad Johnson
in the Vikings' 31-7 loss to the New England Patriots
on Monday night at the Metrodome. Johnson threw three interceptions, including two in the first half, and finished with a dismal 38.1 quarterback rating.
The veteran completed 20 of 33 passes for 185 yards and was sacked once before being replaced by Brooks Bollinger
with 12 minutes, 2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
"The turnovers played into that," Childress said when asked about his decision to replace Johnson. "When you're charged with touching the football, whether you're a punt returner or a running back or a wide receiver, it's important that you have respect for the football. Even if you line up and punt it, just know that you can't throw it to them and that you have to take care of it."
Asked who would start on Sunday at San Francisco, Childress said, "I anticipate it will be Brad."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, although it got slightly stronger on Tuesday.
Bollinger, who was obtained from the New York Jets
in a trade made near the end of the preseason, competed six of nine passes for 76 yards during his brief stint and also threw an interception. He certainly did not look like a guy ready to step into the starting role.
Behind Bollinger is second-round pick Tarvaris Jackson
, who is definitely the Vikings' quarterback of the future but clearly isn't ready to assume that job this season. Johnson clearly realized how poorly he had played after the loss.
"I don't know if there is much to say," he said. "That's probably one of the most embarrassing games I've been a part of. Obviously, they have a very, very good team. I didn't play good, we didn't play good. ... We had a hard time getting a lot of momentum going and that's pretty much it."
CB Antoine Winfield was among those impressed by Tom Brady's 372-yard passing performance against the Vikings. "I've played against him a few times and I've never seen him do what he did to us tonight," Winfield said. "We just have to go back to the drawing board and get ready for San Fran next week."
Coach Brad Childress also addressed Brady's on-field savvy. "He does a lot of things at the line of scrimmage just to try to see where you're coming from, see if you'll give him any indicators, kind of double count and then he readjusts his protection. And basically he had a young offensive lineman in there (in right guard Billy Yates); they had two guys down at the right guard position. He got back into the shotgun and knew exactly what he was looking at. He has the ability, and he has skilled receivers. He gets the ball out of his hand pretty quickly."
RB Mewelde Moore had no trouble summing up what went wrong with the Vikings offense in the loss to the Patriots. "We didn't execute," he said. "This game is about execution and we didn't execute."
WR Marcus Robinson was inactive on Monday night because of a back injury. As a result, the Vikings activated WR Jason Carter from the practice squad and released LB Marquis Cooper. Carter did not play in the game.
DT Ross Kolodziej also inactive to make room for Carter on the 45-man active roster. It was the first time this season Kolodziej did not dress for a game.
DT Kevin Williams suffered a left ankle sprain on the second play of the game but returned.
RB Chester Taylor, who was held to 22 yards on 10 carries, suffered a possible concussion and a right shoulder stringer in the game.
Rookie DE Jayme Mitchell, who played Monday against New England after being inactive a week earlier at Seattle, had his first two NFL sacks against the Patriots. Those also were his only two tackles of the game.
WR Bethel Johnson had his first two receptions as a Viking in the loss to New England.