Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Vikings

October, 21, 2013
10/21/13
11:52
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 23-7 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night.

What it means: At 1-5, with a double-digit loss to a winless team behind them and two consecutive games against division leaders in front of them, the Vikings' 2013 season is all but lost. The team's decision to shoehorn Josh Freeman into the starting quarterback role, after two weeks with the team, backfired badly on Monday night, with Freeman connecting on fewer than 50 percent of his passes, and Minnesota's only touchdown came from a Marcus Sherels punt return. The Vikings have spent enough time fiddling with their quarterback situation now that they might as well spend the rest of the year evaluating Freeman, or possibly giving Christian Ponder one last look. Any chance of a second straight playoff berth appears to be dead.

Stock watch: Falling -- Freeman. It will take the quarterback time to feel comfortable in the Vikings' offense, so it probably wasn't fair to expect great results Monday night. But the optimism that comes from being the fresh face on a team with quarterback problems is gone for Freeman, and he'll have to match up with Aaron Rodgers next week, assuming he's the starting quarterback again. The Vikings will likely get better games from him -- they certainly couldn't get much worse than they did on Monday -- but his honeymoon period with Vikings fans likely won't last past this game.

Another disappointing night for Peterson: A week after carrying just 10 times in the Vikings' 35-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers, Adrian Peterson was completely stifled against the Giants. He carried just 13 times for 28 yards, getting outrushed by Peyton Hillis -- who only signed with the Giants last week -- and posting the fifth-fewest yards of his career. Peterson was more of a factor in the passing game, nearly turning a 22-yard pass into a bigger gain, but he's now run for just 90 combined yards in his last two games.

Rocky night for special teams: The Vikings did get a touchdown when Sherels took a punt back 86 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, giving Minnesota an early 7-3 lead. But Sherels later fumbled a punt -- a play after dropping what might have been an interception return for a touchdown -- and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd fumbled a short kickoff. Kicker Blair Walsh, who was playing with a strained left hamstring, also missed from more than 50 yards for the first time in his career. He had been a NFL-record 12-for-12 from more than 50 yards to start his career.

What's next: The Vikings (1-5) have another prime-time matchup looming; they face the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers on Sunday night at Mall of America Field.

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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