Sunday, November 17, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Vikings
By Ben Goessling
SEATTLE -- A few thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 41-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday:
What it means: The Vikings are now 2-8, tied for the worst mark in the NFC. Their loss to the Seahawks on Sunday was their most lopsided road defeat of the season, and it extinguished whatever minuscule hopes they had of ending the 2013 season with a winning record. The Vikings will go to Green Bay next week to face a reeling Packers team, and after Christian Ponder followed a sharp first half with two interceptions -- one that set up a touchdown and another that was returned for a score -- Minnesota might decide now is the time to put Josh Freeman back in action.
Stock watch: Falling: Ponder. The quarterback's second half was among the ugliest he's had in 2 1/2 professional seasons; he hit just four of nine passes for 15 yards and threw two interceptions. He had another pass that could have been intercepted for a touchdown. Ponder hit seven of seven throws in the second quarter, and finished the first half 9-of-13 for 114 yards and a touchdown, though he did fumble deep in Vikings territory. But as he's done so many times in Minnesota, he proved unable to put two consistent halves together, and was pulled for Matt Cassel with just more than 12 minutes left in the game. Coach Leslie Frazier could take most of the week, once again, to decide on a starting quarterback, but if the Vikings aren't going to use Freeman now, it's worth asking if they ever will.
Big plays kill Vikings: Seattle put up 24 points in the first half despite holding the ball for just more than 11 minutes, as quarterback Russell Wilson burned the Vikings for a number of big plays. On Seattle's first-quarter touchdown drive, Wilson connected with Doug Baldwin for 44 yards after Xavier Rhodes fell down, and found Ricardo Lockette in the middle of the Vikings' defense for 27 yards on the next play. The second-year quarterback finished the day with 230 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns, despite attempting just 18 passes.
Sullivan injured: Center John Sullivan left the game in the fourth quarter with a head injury and did not return. A press box announcement did not specify if Sullivan had a concussion, but if he does, he could be challenged to return for next week's game in Green Bay.
What's next: The Vikings head to Lambeau Field next Sunday to face the Packers.