Vikings

Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) tackles Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson (32) during the second half Monday, Dec. 2, at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Minnesota 37-30. Steven Bisig / USA TODAY Sports

EAGAN, Minn. -- Forget the exhausted narrative about his putrid performances in primetime. That frustrating loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football was not on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Instead, the blame falls on the shoulders of coach Mike Zimmer and his defense.

While the 63-year-old coach said all the right things afterward — noting how the loss wasn't the end of the world, while refusing to throw struggling cornerback Xavier Rhodes under the bus — the fact is the defense got exposed in a game the Vikings needed to win.

The Vikings allowed a season-high 37 points to the Seahawks, along with more than 400 yards of total offense, more than 200 of it rushing.

It wasn't an encouraging performance as the Vikings (8-4) head into the final month of the regular season fighting for a spot in the playoffs.

Not that Zimmer seemed too concerned talking to reporters Tuesday afternoon.

"We just need to win," Zimmer said when asked about the NFC playoff picture. "If we win games, it will all take care of itself."

That's true. No, the sky is not falling on the Vikings after Monday's loss. They still are on track to secure a playoff berth, one game behind the Packers (9-3) and one game ahead of the Rams (7-5) in the chase for one of the NFC's six playoff spots.

That said, there have been noticeable cracks in the foundation for the Vikings this season, namely with the defense struggling in big moments.

Just look at how the Vikings struggled to stop the run in three of their four losses this season. They allowed 144 rushing yards against Green Bay Packers, 147 rushing yards at Kansas City, and now, 218 rushing yards at Seattle.

 

There have been other scenarios in which the Vikings have struggled to stop the pass before being bailed out by the offense in the end. They allowed 352 passing yards in a win over the Detroit Lions, for example, and 393 passing yards in a win over the Dallas Cowboys.

No doubt the biggest concern for the defense has been the rapid regression of Rhodes, who has gone from shutdown corner to seemingly a liability this season.

It seemed as if the Seahawks made a point of picking on Rhodes in the game, throwing his way often, including a 60-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Moore.

"I saw improvement in quite a few areas," Zimmer said, talking specifically about Rhodes, perhaps trying to take some of the pressure off him. "We busted a coverage on the one. That curl that they called, we were in zone coverage and actually he did a nice job on that. He got beat on a stop-nine (route) one time, I think. I'd say other than that, I saw some improvement technically.

"I'd say really with all the corners last night I saw improvement in the secondary," Zimmer added. "We have to continue to get better in that area. But there was improvement and something to build on."

What's your reaction?

0
0
0
0
0