Behind Enemy Lines: Vikings links


The Minnesota Vikings have the frustration that typically matches a 1-7 start. But this is a little bit different: The players have openly questioned the play calling, specifically at the end of games, by both the offensive and defensive coordinators.

After Minnesota lost 27-23 on Sunday to the Dallas Cowboys, some defensive players wondered why they only rushed three players on the final drive. They had pressured Dallas all game with a four-man rush.

Offensively, some players wondered why they didn’t try to run more clock -- especially with Adrian Peterson having an outstanding game. By the way, their offensive coordinator is former Redskins assistant coach Bill Musgrave. The defensive coordinator is Alan Williams.

As the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Jim Souhan writes, those complaining are considered leaders on the Vikings. And as they look around the locker room they see a team that should not be struggling as much as they have been this season. Souhan writes that the two coordinators “have cost the Vikings at least three games.” Read more here.

... Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he understands the players’ frustration, but obviously says he’s not planning any staff changes. Nobody plans those changes, by the way. And if they are, they’ll never say so.

... Sometimes players say things after a game, then catch heat from the team and alter their stance a day later. A heat-of-the-battle thing. Not Vikings defensive end Brian Robison.

... Quarterback Christian Ponder will continue to start. But Ponder must do better in late-game situations or the Vikings will go 1-8 for the first time in franchise history. He just doesn’t make any big-time throws at the end of games to make a difference. Then again, he is Christian Ponder. He’s not a big-time passer.

... Minnesota is banged-up and lost tight end Kyle Rudolph for at least a month with a fractured foot. He’s not the only one who’s hurting, however. With a short week, the Vikings could have some issues.

... Peterson is not far behind last year’s pace. Of course, he exploded in the second half of 2012.

… Add another name to the Redskins-name-change list: Former Vikings safety Joey Browner, who has Native American blood. Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann talks about the name here as well -- and what it meant to him to put the jersey on.