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Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Around the Horns: Late collapses formulaic

By Ben Goessling

Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:

For the fourth time this season, the Vikings' defense surrendered a lead on the final drive of the game on Sunday. This one came against the Green Bay Packers -- who had switched quarterbacks in the second half -- and while the game ended in a tie, the Vikings gave away another win. In fact, if they had been able to make those four stops, they would be 6-5, tied with Detroit and ahead of both Chicago and the Packers in the NFC North standings.

As it is, they're 2-8-1, and as Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune points out, the Vikings' collapses have followed a predictable formula. Each time, they've had a chance to close the game out and have been unable to do it. And each time, they've let an opposing quarterback -- ranging from proven passers like Jay Cutler and Tony Romo to upstarts like Brian Hoyer and Matt Flynn -- pick them apart.

It would be easier for coach Leslie Frazier, in some ways, if the Vikings' biggest problem was at the quarterback position. But four late-game collapses don't wear particularly well on a defensive coach, and they are all that stand between the Vikings and being in the middle of a competitively mediocre division. It remains to be seen whether there will be more collapses in the final five games, but the four the Vikings have already suffered will undoubtedly tell a big part of the story of their 2013 season.

Here are Wednesday's other Vikings stories of note: