NFC North: rapid reaction nfc wild card 2
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota's season ended Sunday evening much the way it began: With questions at the quarterback position and a series of mistakes that called into question how prepared the team was for the playoffs.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson misfired on 18 of his first 29 passes, had an interception returned for a touchdown and hardly appeared to be the Vikings' quarterback of the future. Coach Brad Childress -- who returned Jackson to the starting lineup even after backup Gus Frerotte won eight of 11 starts -- committed a first-quarter game management gaffe. And fittingly, the Vikings solidified the loss when center Matt Birk's shotgun snap hit Jackson in the shin, resulting in a fumble late in the fourth quarter.
Philadelphia played a strong game, especially considering the rowdy Metrodome crowd. But 10 of the Eagles' 26 points came courtesy of Jackson's interception and Childress' gaffe. The Vikings will watch film of this game and wonder why they weren't sharper for their first home playoff game in eight seasons.
Simply put, the Vikings had far too many cases of players appearing out of position or otherwise uncertain what to do. Where was the coverage on DeSean Jackson's two long punt returns, of 62 and 30 yards? Why was Adrian Peterson on the sideline for most of the fourth quarter?
Unfortunately for them, the Vikings will have an entire offseason to answer those questions.