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Sunday, October 31, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Patriots 28, Vikings 18

By Kevin Seifert

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Some quick thoughts from the Minnesota Vikings' 28-18 loss against New England at Gillette Stadium:

What it means: The Minnesota Vikings fell to 2-5 and are tied with the Detroit Lions at the bottom of the NFC North. We're probably due for another week of Brett Favre speculation after he departed midway through the fourth quarter with a lacerated chin. But this team has bigger problems than the degree to which Favre cut his chin.

Favre performance I: Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, but Favre played a pretty impressive game considering the circumstances. With two fractures in his left foot, he completed 22 of 32 passes for 259 yards and was moving well outside of the pocket. Favre did have two penalties for intentional grounding, and Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty made a great play to intercept a pass that hit receiver Percy Harvin's hands. But otherwise, I don't think Favre could have expected to play much better.

Favre II: Down 21-10 in the fourth quarter, Favre drove the Vikings as close as the Patriots' 3-yard line before defensive lineman Myron Pryor drilled him under the chin on a third-down pass. Favre's chin strap was bloodied and he needed help getting off the field. By the time the Vikings got him on a cart to the locker room, he almost appeared passed out. A team orthopedic was holding his jaw carefully as the cart sped away.

T-Jack answers: An illegal contact penalty on the play Favre was injured gave backup Tarvaris Jackson an opportunity to answer. He threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to fullback Naufahu Tahi on his first pass and converted the two-point opportunity to Harvin to bring the Vikings to within three points. But the Patriots consumed more than five minutes on the following possession to clinch the game.

That pesky decision: I'm sure Vikings will be debating whether coach Brad Childress should have gone for a field goal or a touchdown just before halftime from the Patriots' 1-yard line. Adrian Peterson's run lost two yards. A field goal would have changed the complexion of the fourth quarter, if nothing else.

Peterson early: Peterson ran for 59 yards on 14 carries in the first quarter as the Vikings made clear they wanted to rely on him while Favre dealt with the limitations of his injury. But that strategy only works when the rest of your team plays perfectly. When it was time to play catch-up in the second half, the Vikings obviously couldn't run Peterson as much as they wanted to.

What's next: The Vikings host the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday at the Metrodome.