Negative trends continued with MNF loss

The Vikings' loss to the Bears continued a trend of their December struggles this year, especially on prime-time television. It spurred a few self-reflective comments and frustration with the way things are going.

The Vikings' late-season meltdown continued Monday night in Chicago, as Minnesota lost 36-30 to the Bears in overtime.

It marked the Vikings' third loss in four games this month and was their second consecutive prime-time loss on the road to a team whose playoff aspirations had long ago disappeared.

The Vikings entered December with a 10-1 record and looking like a team that would easily get a first-round bye in the playoffs. But the loss to the Bears means that for the time being Philadelphia (11-4) has bypassed the Vikings (11-4) for the No. 2 seed because the Eagles own the tiebreaker.

Minnesota came out flat against the Bears and trailed 23-6 in the third quarter before beginning a rally that forced overtime. Adrian Peterson's fumble in the extra session, however, put Chicago in a position to win.

Even if the Vikings are victorious in their regular-season finale against the Giants on Sunday, they would be knocked out of the second seed if the Eagles beat the Cowboys. And if the Cowboys beat the Eagles and the Vikings lose, Arizona could jump to the second seed. If the Vikings, Cardinals and Eagles all lose, the Cowboys would sneak into the No. 2 slot.

The reality is that Minnesota could finish as low as the fourth seed. So what has happened?

Defensive end Jared Allen didn't try to cover up his disgust after Monday's loss.

"If I could cuss right now, I would," Allen said. "It sucked. I mean, we're playing bad right now. We've got to play better. Each man on this team needs to go home and look himself in the mirror and figure out what we want to be this year: An 11-5 team or a 12-4 team that makes noise in the playoffs. That's just the bottom line."

The real bottom line is the Vikings need to get things turned around quickly or their appearance in the postseason will be a brief one.


  • Quarterback Brett Favre on the Vikings' struggles: "I would love to be peaking right now, and it's hard to say that we're peaking right now. You know if we played the first half like we played the second half, it would be like the first game against Chicago (when the Vikings won 36-10). If we put two halves together like we did in the second half, it's a different story."

  • Linebacker Ben Leber on whether time is running out for the Vikings to get playoff momentum: "Momentum is important, but not everything. Obviously, we'd like to have it going into the playoffs. But if we don't find it, we've got to come out and start battling. Time is running out if we want to find it."

  • Running back Adrian Peterson's fumble after a pass reception in overtime led to the Bears' winning touchdown. It was the sixth lost fumble for Peterson this season.

    "I'm very disappointed," he said. "It was a time when you really want to focus on protecting the ball, but they made a great play. ... I felt like I had it secured, but as I was going down, they punched it out. I thought I was down, but obviously not. I mean, the ball came out. I'm feeling sick right now that that happened."

  • Rookie MLB Jasper Brinkley continues to learn on the job. Brinkley has replaced E.J. Henderson, who suffered a broken leg on Dec. 6 in Arizona. The Bears' Jay Cutler became the latest quarterback to go at Brinkley on passes to his tight ends.

  • QB Brett Favre threw for 300 yards for the fifth time this season when he passed for 321 on Monday night in Chicago. Favre had 285 of his passing yards in the second half and overtime.

  • K Ryan Longwell had been 46-for-46 this season on extra-point attempts before having one blocked in the third quarter Monday.

  • RB Adrian Peterson rushed for 94 yards against the Bears, marking the first time in three career games at Soldier Field he did not exceed 100 yards. Peterson also has gone a career-high six games without rushing for 100 yards.

  • NT Pat Williams was inactive Monday for the first time this season because of an elbow injury. Jimmy Kennedy got the start in his place. It's uncertain if Williams will be able to play Sunday against the Giants.

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