PASSING OFFENSE: D — An area of the Vikings offense that was supposed to be improved continues to flounder. After throwing for 178 yards in a season-opening defeat at Green Bay, Tarvaris Jackson passed for only 130 yards in the Vikings' 18-15 loss to the Colts. Jackson completed 14 of 24 passes and registered a sub-par 73.3-passer rating. He did not throw an interception but also failed to get his team into the end zone. Starting receivers Sidney Rice and Bernard Berrian, one of the Vikings' big free-agent acquisitions during the offseason, did not have a single reception. Adrian Peterson had a team-leading four catches but they went for only 20 yards.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus — Running back Adrian Peterson continues to prove his standout rookie season was no fluke. Peterson rushed for 160 yards on 29 carries against the Colts, the third-highest total of his career. Peterson had 118 yards by halftime and has rightfully ascended to the role of the Vikings' workhorse running back. That means Chester Taylor is now a clear-cut backup. Taylor, who rushed for 1,216 yards the year before Peterson's arrival in 2006, has nine rushing attempts and 17 touches (four receptions, four kickoff returns) through two games. The run blocking by the Vikings line continues to be steady, even with left tackle Bryant McKinnie sitting out because of an NFL suspension.
PASS DEFENSE: C — The Vikings finished last in the NFL in this area last season and they continue to give up too many explosive plays. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was the latest to capitalize on this, connecting with Anthony Gonzalez on a 58-yard pass that led to a touchdown in the third quarter. Manning also hit Reggie Wayne for a 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter and later found Wayne on a 20-yard pass that set up the game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri. Manning finished with 26 completions on 42 attempts for 311 yards with a touchdown. The Vikings did have interceptions by Antoine Winfield and Charles Gordon.
RUSH DEFENSE: A — The NFL's top run defense in 2007 was at its best in the second game of 2008. The Colts managed only 25 yards on 19 carries (1.3 average) as a team and Joseph Addai was held to 20 yards on 15 carries. It's little wonder the Colts went to the air 42 times during the course of the game. The line of Ray Edwards, Kevin and Pat Williams and Jared Allen spent much of the day in the Colts backfield. Edwards led the group with five tackles and a tackle for a loss.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Ryan Longwell made five field-goal attempts (45, 27, 53, 46 and 28 yards) but a missed a 48-yarder in the fourth quarter proved crucial as the Vikings lost by three points. Chester Taylor is being used on kickoff returns in order to get him more work. He looked comfortable in that role Sunday, returning three kicks for 93 yards. Aundrae Allison added a 27-yard punt return. He continues to share the job with cornerback Charles Gordon. One game after the Vikings gave up a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown against Green Bay, the Colts averaged 15 yards on two punt returns and 21 yards on four kick returns.
COACHING: C — Coach Brad Childress finds his team already two games behind the Packers and now must get the Vikings ready to face the 2-0 Carolina Panthers on Sunday at the Metrodome. Childress' main issue, as it has been for much of his time in Minnesota, remains on offense. The Vikings have two touchdowns through two games and did not get into the end zone on Sunday against Indianapolis. While Jackson has struggled, there also have been questions about the play-calling and if the Vikings should attempt to be more aggressive in trying to open things up with the pass. The question is if Jackson would be able to execute. Childress attempted to call a timeout as Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri went to try a game-winning 47-yard field goal, but Childress did not signal in time and the kick counted.
Grading the game: Colts
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