Minnesota Vikings: 2013 Week 7 MIN at NYG

Locker Room Buzz: Minnesota Vikings

October, 22, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Observed in the locker room following the Minnesota Vikings' 23-7 loss to the New York Giants:

Wilf staying course: Vikings owner Zygi Wilf admitted frustration after the team lost in his home state but dismissed the idea, at least for now, that the Vikings would consider any staff changes after a 1-5 start. "I'm sticking with my team," he said. "That's our team. We're going to stick with it." It's tough to tell if Wilf's comments qualify as the dreaded vote of confidence for coach Leslie Frazier & Co., but if the Vikings do have changes coming, they weren't happening on Monday night.

Peterson says Vikings have to be more physical: There have been few points in Adrian Peterson's career when he has looked as irrelevant as he did on Monday night. The league's reigning MVP gained just 28 yards on 13 carries, with only five of those coming in the second half. It was just the fourth time in Peterson's career that he has carried the ball more than 10 times and failed to gain less than 30 yards, and in the Vikings' past two games, Peterson has 23 carries for 90 yards. So what's wrong? Peterson says the Vikings' entire offense has lost some of its physical edge from last season. "The group as a whole, we just need to start hitting guys in the mouth," Peterson said. The running back said his strained right hamstring was bothering him at various points on Monday, but said the league's new rule prohibiting running backs from hitting defenders with the crown of their helmet hasn't weighed on his mind.

Sherels shoulders blame: Punt returner Marcus Sherels had the Vikings' only touchdown when he posted an 86-yard return in the first quarter. But a play after Sherels dropped a would-be interception that he could have returned for a touchdown in the third quarter, he fumbled a punt at the Vikings' 3-yard line, leading to a Giants touchdown. "Two mistakes there that changed the game," Sherels said. "Can't happen."

Jennings on Packers: Heading into next Sunday night's game with Green Bay, there will be plenty of talk about the verbal spat between wide receiver Greg Jennings and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after Jennings left Green Bay and signed with the Vikings in March. But Jennings wasn't adding any fuel to that fire Monday night. "Honestly, it's another football game," he said. "We've got to win it. We haven't won in a long time, and it's another football game that gives us the opportunity to win it."

Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Vikings

October, 21, 2013
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.