Vikings: Too Early to Panic

Despite an offense that has struggled and failed to score more touchdowns than the defense and a starting quarterback with a strained groin, the Vikings aren't in panic mode yet.

Despite carrying a 1-1 record into Sunday's game against Kansas City, few around the Vikings' Winter Park complex this week seem satisfied.

Minnesota took a significant step backward in its 20-17 overtime loss at Detroit on Sunday, committing 12 penalties and turning over the ball five times (including four interceptions). That erased many of the positive feelings that came out of a 24-3 victory over Atlanta in the opener.

An 0-2 Kansas City team that has been outscored 40-13 this season would seem like an ideal opponent for the Vikings but it doesn't figure to be that easy. This will be the Chiefs' home opener and Arrowhead can be an extremely difficult place for opponents.

As of mid-week, it remained unclear who will be the Vikings quarterback.

Tarvaris Jackson, coming off an abysmal performance against the Lions, is the starter when he's healthy but that isn't the case. In addition to throwing four picks against the Lions, Jackson also suffered a strained groin and his status for Sunday is in doubt.

This could mean that either Brooks Bollinger or Kelly Holcomb will be under center. No matter who gets the call, they are going to need to help the Vikings start producing points on a regular basis.

So far in two games, the defense has accounted for 21 of Minnesota's 41 points.

Vikings players joked about this being a competition between the offense and defense after the victory over Atlanta, but this became a sore point between the units last year and could be an issue again if the offense doesn't start scoring.

Last season, the Vikings got off to a 2-0 start but won only four of their remaining 14 games. While no one will say it, the feeling in Minnesota after the Vikings' 10-game winning streak against the Lions came to an end is one of "here we go again."

However, center Matt Birk said it's way too early to panic about any issue, including Jackson's performance in Detroit.

"Last week everyone was saying how great we were," Birk said. "This week, everyone's down on us. That's life in the NFL. You've got to keep it in perspective. It's a long season. We're only two games in. We've got a long ways to go.

"We've got a phrase that one of my old coaches used to use which I always liked: ‘We've got to keep chopping wood.' Just keep working hard and the biggest thing is keep trying to improve. I think that's what you see from teams in the playoffs and teams that win championships is they improve during the year."

SERIES HISOTRY: 10th meeting. Kansas City leads series, 5-4. The Vikings will be making their first trip to Arrowhead Stadium since 1999 and only their fourth visit to Kansas City in franchise history.


  • QB Tarvaris Jackson did not participate in practice Wednesday because of a groin strain, creating doubt about his status for Sunday. Kelly Holcomb would figure to get the start if Jackson can't go.

  • RB Chester Taylor, who missed Sunday's game at Detroit because of a hip injury, was limited in Wednesday's practice but appears to be making progress.

  • FB Tony Richardson was limited in Wednesday's practice because of a bruised forearm. Richardson missed last Sunday's game at Detroit because of the injury.

  • WR Troy Williamson was limited in Wednesday's practice because of a hip injury.

    Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (groin) isn't the only Vikings starter whose status is in doubt for Sunday's game at Kansas City. Veteran safeties Darren Sharper (hip) and Dwight Smith (hamstring) both failed to participate in Wednesday's practice.

    Sharper and Smith were both injured in the loss to the Lions. Veteran Tank Williams is the primary backup but this also could open the door for Mike Doss to be active.

    Doss has been out since the Vikings' third preseason game because of a calf injury. He took part in the entire practice on Wednesday.

  • WR Aundrae Allison replaced Williamson last Sunday on kickoff returns and took one ball back 60 yards. It would be surprising if Allison isn't left in this role.

  • DE Erasmus James continues to recover from a knee injury suffered last season. He is practicing but hasn't been active for a game and likely will sit again Sunday.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Certainly, it's one of our points of emphasis every game, especially on the road, to keep penalties to a minimum, and we didn't do a good job of that. We also didn't do a good job of protecting the football. We did those things well in Week 1 and we won, and we didn't do them well (Sunday) and we lost." — Center Matt Birk, on the Vikings' overtime loss to Detroit; the game featured five turnovers and 12 penalties by the Vikings.

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