New quarterback Brett Favre believes he is part of the reason for the problems.
"You can't have good plays and then have procedure penalties, false starts and things like that. Up until this game, they were not having those penalties, so once again that falls back on me," Favre said. "That's some things that we have to clean up, that I have to clean up."
Actually, the Vikings have had plenty of penalties before their preseason outing on Monday night, and head coach Brad Childress isn't laying the blame at Favre's feet … or his mouth with his cadence. Instead, Childress said Favre did a good job of running the offense.
"I thought he did a nice job of putting the ball where it needed to be. He'd be the first to tell you that he probably missed a couple of reads. He made a couple plays with his feet. Had enough pocket presence to move around and still complete the football," Childress said.
Still, the Vikings surrendered 85 yards in penalties. One drive typified their struggles.
On Favre's final series, he took possession with the ball on his own 4-yard line. On five plays, the flags flew. It started early and didn't relent. Illegal formation on the first play. Then a false start on Bryant McKinnie. Later, Favre was flagged for a crackback block. Illegal substitution. And, finally, a false start on Garrett Mills.
Starting at their 4-yard line, the team was credited with 10 plays (not including penalties) and punted away from their own 26-yard line. They gained 52 yards on the drive but netted only 22 because of 30 yards in penalties.
"We've got to get it together pretty quickly," Favre said.
DEFENSE DOING IT
Vikings defenders said throughout training camp that their goal was to have the top overall defense in the league, not just the top rushing defense, which they've maintained for a league-record three straight seasons.
After three NFL preseason weeks in the books, the Vikings have the top defense and top passing defense. They have given up an average of just 236 yards per game, 154.7 of that in the passing game. The Steelers and Ravens are second and third, respectively, in each of those two categories.
As for rushing defense, the Vikings are fifth in the league, allowing 81.3 yards per game.
Adrian Peterson had another stellar night, rushing 11 times for 117 yards, but that performance might end his preseason action.
"God-willing, he'll go into the regular season fresh and with all his faculties," Childress said.
Peterson has rushed 25 times this preseason for 181 yards, second-most in the league.
Peterson's performances the last two games have helped the Vikings become the third overall rushing offense this preseason, averaging 157 yards per game. Interestingly, the top six rushing offenses all reside in the NFC.
It's also uncertain if Favre will play Friday against the Dallas Cowboys either.
"We need a chance at least to look at the tape, see where we need to improve," Childress said. "We only have one good practice day on Wednesday of this week"
WR Bernard Berrian hasn't played since injuring his hamstring in the preseason opener, but Childress said he continues to progress.
"He's gotten going on it better and better and better. I'd hope that we get him back out there practicing this week," Childress said. "The big thing will be developing stamina with that thing and seeing if he can get back and develop a burst."
ESPN ON FAVRE
Former Vikings WR and current ESPN analyst Cris Carter said he believes that Brett Favre can get the Vikings to at least the second round of the playoffs but probably not the Super Bowl.
Host Chris Berman was the only member of ESPN's studio crew (which also included former NFL coach Mike Ditka and players Keyshawn Johnson and Tom Jackson) that believes the Vikings can be a Super Bowl team with Favre. Berman continued to say, "I like his chances" when Favre talk dominated the pregame show.
The Lions continued the former Vikings theme when they signed QB Brooks Bollinger on Tuesday. Bollinger's stint with the Lions may not last long, as they also claimed former Patriot QB Kevin O'Connell on waivers.
Former Vikings quarterback QB Daunte Culpepper is day-to-day with the Lions after sustaining a minor cut to his toe Saturday night at his home.