Points on the Purple: Close isn't satisfying for 1-7 Vikings
LIMBECK: Well Captain Purple, did you have any confidence at all that the Vikings defense would be able to stop the Cowboys in the closing minutes on Sunday? I sure didn't. To recap, Tony Romo drove the Cowboys 90 yards, all through the air, in about two minutes. The Cowboys score a touchdown with 35 seconds to play and beat the Vikings 27-23. It was the third time the Vikings have allowed a game-winning touchdown in the final minute this season.
FELDMAN: Let's put it this way: The Vikings' secondary on the Cowboys' final drive consisted of AJ Jefferson, Josh Robinson, Marcus Sherels, Mistral Raymond and Andrew Sendejo. Does that give you any confidence? Tony Romo shreded that secondary with ease and he was rarely pressured. For a defense that played really well for 58 minutes, it reverted to its normal form on that final drive.
LIMBECK:Romo passed for 337 yards in the game, and the secondary did not play well on the final drive. But that's not where all the blame should go. Would it hurt the defensive line to come up with a sack late in the game once in a while? Romo threw 51 passes and the Vikings had three sacks, all in the first half, and two on the same drive at the end of the half. And it looked like the defense made a big play when A.J. Jefferson intercepted a pass with 4:29 to play, but then the offense goes three-and-out. It was just all-around frustrating.
FELDMAN: After the Jefferson interception, the Vikings went aggressive right away and took a shot at a deep ball. It was incomplete, then the Bill Musgrave went conservative again, ran A.P. for a yard, then Ponder scrambled for 4. Then they took a delay of game and punted, which was a good decision considering Dallas was pinned at its own 10. But, Helmet Hair, kicker Blair Walsh can't be 100 percent. Not only did he miss a crucial extra-point kick, but the Vikings didn't even consider bringing him out to try a 53-yard field goal before that last punt. Normally, the coaches wouldn't think twice about sending him out for that attempt.
LIMBECK:He's probably not 100 percent and the feeling was probably pin the Cowboys deep rather than risk the miss and give them the ball at about their 43. Of course if the Vikings were being really aggressive then could have gone for it on fourth down. They had twice earlier in the game, failing in the first quarter and then succeeding on Peterson's spectacular 11-yard TD run in the fourth. The missed extra point might have played into the decision making, too, but with Leslie Frazier, you never know. What did you think about Ponder's overall play?
FELDMAN: He was less bad than he has been. He was playing against a defense ranked dead-last in the NFL in average yards allowed and average passing yards allowed, yet he only managed 236 yards. He scrambled well, showed some poise in the pocket (the O-line finallygave him some time) and threw well on the run. But he still didn't see some open receivers and threw a bad interception at the start of the fourth quarter that could have been very costly. Oh, and he couldn't even get a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. That pretty much sums him up. I still don't understand why he has played the last two weeks. He's not this team's future. He's not even its present.
LIMBECK:Everyone likes to complain about the play calling of offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. I thought the Vikings tried to mix their calls up pretty well against the Cowboys. One call I hated, however, was having Ponder drop back to pass in his own end zone in the third quarter. He was stripped of the ball and the Cowboys scored a touchdown, their second in 10 seconds. It was also disappointing to see tight end Kyle Rudolph leave with a foot injury suffered on his TD catch and right tackle Phil Loadholt depart with a concussion. And the safeties sure are a mess without the injured Harrison Smith back there.
FELDMAN: And Xavier Rhodes injured his knee or some part of his leg. He tried to return, but didn't stay in the game for long. Oh, by the way, that banged-up 'D' has three days to get ready for RGIII and the Redskins to visit the 'Dome. It's tough to have sympathy for a coaching staff that told us throughout training camp how much it liked the depth on this roster. Halfway through the season, no one even likes their starters. It's what we'll have to watch for the next eight weeks, though, then the full-force housecleaning can begin.