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Minnesota Vikings faked out by Cleveland Browns, 31-27

Even the berserkers among them couldn't help the eager Minnesota Vikings notch a home victory against the mighty Cleveland Browns.

Even the berserkers among them couldn’t help the eager Minnesota Vikings notch a home victory against the mighty Cleveland Browns.

Despite showing some flashes of promise in the first quarter, the Minnesota Vikings (0-3) were unable to hold their own agains the Cleveland Browns (1-2), stumbling to defeat after yet another series of head-scratching gaffes and miscues.

Inconsistent offense

The Vikings came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. Quarterback Christian Ponder completed four of his first five passes for 74 yards, and running back Adrian Peterson capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run.

Then the line, supposedly the best in the division, seemed to forget how to block, especially on the right side. They gave up seven sacks, three of which were charged to right tackle Phil Loadholt, two to guard Brandon Fusco, and one to center John Sullivan. Peterson was held to a pedestrian 3.4 yards per carry by the fourth-rated Browns run defense.

When Ponder was given time in the pocket he was able to successfully lead the Vikings down the field. Unfortunately, they were once again unable to convert critical late possessions into touchdowns, instead coming away away with field goals. This ultimately cost them the game.

Dismal defense

The Viking secondary took a hit early when they lost oft-injured cornerback Chris Cook to a groin injury. His replacement, A.J. Jefferson, was immediately burned on a double move by wide receiver Josh Gordon for a 55-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Brian Hoyer. He was immediately yanked, allegedly due to injuries but presumably for burn treatments. Safety Jamarca Sanford also left the game with an unspecified injury.

In their stead, cornerback Marcus Scherels played an inspiring second half of football, holding wide receiver Josh Gordon in check.

The defensive front seven failed to bring pressure on Brian Hoyer in the first half and he torched them for two touchdowns and 245 yards passing. However, in the second half, the defense harassed him to the tune of four sacks and two interceptions.

Unfortunately, the pass defense was nonexistent on the last-minute touchdown drive that put the Browns up 31-27.

As much as they wanted a win, it was not meant to be. The Minnesota Vikings are about as intimidating as these Viking Pigs.

As much as they wanted a win, it was not meant to be. The Minnesota Vikings are about as intimidating as these Viking Pigs.

Coaching catastrophe

Most disappointing of all, the coaching staff, which had the Vikings overachieving last year to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth, was unable to get this team prepared and focused for game day. The entire team seemed to be looking past this game to the upcoming contest in London against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At no point did the Minnesota coaches have an upper hand. They were outcoached and outmaneuvered by Cleveland head coach Rob Chudzinski in every facet of the game.

Most notable was the inability of special teams coach Mike Priefer — or really, anyone — to sniff out fakes on special teams plays.

Somehow the Browns managed to successfully dupe the Vikings not once but twice. Neither time was Minnesota prepared for the fake, even though everyone watching the game — including my wife — saw it coming.

The fake punt went for 31 yards. A few yards here or there would be understandable, but that is simply inexcusable.

On the fake field goal, tight end Jordan Cameron stood by himself on the sidelines in normal formation. Not one Viking player went over to cover him. Even worse, the coaching staff failed to recognize the situation and call a timeout. Cameron converted the play into a touchdown.

Head coach Leslie Frazier threw the challenge flag on what appeared to be a punt muffed by the Browns. On review, it turned out that the return man had grabbed the ball and attempted to advance it, meaning it should have been charged as a fumble. That was the point Frazier was trying to argue, but because it was an automatically reviewed play, the officials flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct. Instead of simply charging him a timeout, however, they marched off 15 yards. The extra yardage forced Minnesota to settle for a field goal.

What’s next

Minnesota heads to London to play a “home” game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3). Both teams are coming off of fairly crushing losses at home. At this point it is difficult to have confidence in the ability of the Vikings coaching staff to develop a game plan that takes advantage of the Steelers’ weaknesses.

664 comments
natradamus
natradamus moderator

one thing that I missed in life-  

I went to college in the same town that the vikings have pre season.  I could have frequented the local strip club during the times the vikings were in town.

I too could have had a Bryant McKinnie stripper story.  jesus-  every single one seems fucking golden

LSU4LIFE
LSU4LIFE

They asked Finley,Where was he?And he replied he was at home watching his friend and current teammate Donald Driver win Dancing with the Stars again.

natradamus
natradamus moderator

any chance the raiders blow up tonight- and by blow up I mean a  combination of no turnovers/ sacks and 21 points-  or 28-35 points with regards to numerous turnovers/ sacks

up by 2 in FF-  need a monday night miracle

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

@natradamus I need Janikowski to get me 14 points to win.

3 50+ field goals should do it.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

Through 3 games, James Anderson is PFF's highest rated 4-3 OLB.

Briggs is 10th.

LSU4LIFE
LSU4LIFE

@tmonson78 James Anderson was an excellent LB for the Panthers,didn't get a lot of ink,but very quietly a quality LB.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

DeAndre Levy is #2.

Big Deal
Big Deal

Cow-herd was tearing Rodgers and Packers fans apart on his show today.

You'd think Rodgers was throwing folding chairs at McCarthy or something.

BeerLion
BeerLion

As to the Finley hit the Lions Rashen Mathis was flagged for a personal foul for hitting a Redskin after he caught the ball, not leading with his helmet, not hitting his head, not hitting his knees.  He just hit him with his arm to the pads and knocked him down.  Was called as hitting a defenseless receiver.

LKP
LKP

@BeerLion Bullshit call. Oh well. We won. Boom to the baya

Buhlitz
Buhlitz

@BeerLion 

That facemask penalty on CJ Mosley was BS too. He grabbed him below his helmet and because morris' is an idiot and doesn't keep his helmet tight it fell off

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

So, the Lions resigned Fluellen to fill Jones' spot.

Scooped?

MIRaji
MIRaji moderator

Did Green Bay lose yesterday? I turned it off when they were up 30-14.


*heads for cover*