Sunday, November 3, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Vikings
By Ben Goessling
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
What it means: The Vikings have matched their worst start in franchise history. They are now 1-7, having lost three games on touchdowns with less than a minute to play. Sunday's came on a scoring strike from Tony Romo to Dwayne Harris with 44 seconds left, and even though the Vikings held the ball for nearly 10 minutes in the fourth quarter, they went home wondering how they could let another game slip through their fingers.
Stock watch: Rising: Adrian Peterson. He'd never had a big game in his home state, but on Sunday, Peterson surged in the second half. He ran for 140 yards, breaking off a 52-yard run in the fourth quarter and finishing the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1. On the play, Peterson secured the first down, got a push from Chase Ford and bulled his way to the end zone, carrying Cowboys defenders from the 3-yard line to the end zone. It was his first 100-yard game since the Vikings' last win on Sept. 29 in London, and Peterson ran for more yards in the second half than he'd run for in an entire game since then.
Depleted secondary: Already missing Chris Cook, Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford, the Vikings saw their secondary depth depleted even further in the fourth quarter when Xavier Rhodes went off with a leg injury. That left A.J. Jefferson, Marcus Sherels, Josh Robinson and Shaun Prater as the team's only healthy corners. It looked like the Vikings might survive when Jefferson picked off Romo late in the fourth quarter, but on Dallas' last drive, Romo sliced through the middle of the Vikings' secondary on a nine-play, 90-yard drive, completing a touchdown pass to Harris, who beat Sherels on a crossing route.
Sack-fumble looms large: After right tackle Phil Loadholt left at the end of the first half with a concussion, J'Marcus Webb started the second half with the Vikings pinned at their own 5-yard line. He got beat by George Selvie, who sacked Ponder and forced a fumble that Nick Hayden recovered for a touchdown.
What's next: The Vikings (1-7) face the Washington Redskins at home on Thursday night.