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Sunday, September 16, 2012
Wrap-up: Colts 23, Vikings 20

By Kevin Seifert

Wrapping up Sunday's events at Lucas Oil Stadium:

What it means: The Vikings fell to 1-1 after Adam Vinatieri's 53-yard field goal with 12 seconds left wiped out a fourth-quarter comeback from an otherwise lackluster showing. As a franchise, the Vikings still have not won in Indianapolis and are now 0-11 there all-time.

What I liked: For the second consecutive week, quarterback Christian Ponder revived the Vikings' chances with an aggressive fourth quarter. Sunday, he threw two touchdown passes in less than five minutes of the fourth quarter to erase a 20-6 deficit. Granted, his seven-yard scoring pass to Stephen Burton was tipped twice before caught. But through two games, Ponder has demonstrated encouraging efficiency in pressure situations.

What I didn't like, Part I: The Vikings' defense didn't give up a ton of yardage to the Colts (278), but rare was the stop in important situations. Quarterback Andrew Luck completed his first two passes of the Colts' final drive for 20 yards apiece to get in position for Vinatieri's field goal. Overall, Luck completed 20 of 31 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns.

What I didn't like, Part II: Ponder completed 77.1 percent of his passes, largely because the Vikings' offense was excessively short-range for most of the game. Receiver Percy Harvin, who caught 12 passes for 104 yards, was worked so hard he cramped up several times in the fourth quarter. Tight end Kyle Rudolph wasn't a factor until late in the game, and it's clear the Vikings lack a downfield threat from both a personnel and philosophical perspective right now.

What I didn't like, Part III: Everson Griffen's 22-yard sack of Luck in the fourth quarter was a rare instance of someone making a play. For the most part, the Vikings defense and special teams made it more difficult on themselves. Safety Andrew Sendejo extended a drive with a late hit on punter Pat McAfee, and defensive end Jared Allen extended the same possession a few moments later by hitting Luck after he had taken several steps out of bounds. Finally, Griffen essentially put the Colts in field goal range with a false-start penalty with 18 seconds remaining. Without those five yards, Vinatieri is looking at a 58-yard attempt.

What's next: The Vikings return to the Metrodome next Sunday to host the San Francisco 49ers.