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Chip Scoggins

Scoggins instant reaction: Vikings should be embarrassed by this flop

The Vikings got caught looking ahead. Or they felt too comfortable against a supposedly inferior opponent. Whatever the case, they got humbled in the worst possible manner Sunday.

The Vikings looked totally and utterly unprepared to play in a 27-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Listed as 16½-point favorites, the Vikings played as poorly as any team could possibly look in digging a crater in the first half.

Teams that were at least 16-point favorites were 75-5 since 1978, according to Pro Football Reference. The Bills became the sixth, and the first since 1995. So this was a historic flop.

The defense gave up big plays because of busted plays created by communication breakdowns. Kirk Cousins lost two fumbles on sacks and had several wild overthrows.

There were two personal fouls on defense and two penalties on special teams in the first quarter alone.

The offense managed a measly 46 total yards and two first downs in the first half. Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes ran circles around left tackle Riley Reiff, and the rest of the offensive line wasn’t any better.

This was a colossal no-show across the board.

That falls on everyone. Mike Zimmer. His coaching staff. The players.

Can't blame Daniel Carlson for this mess.

The Vikings should be embarrassed by their lack of focus. A performance that inept is inexcusable. And now they face a short week with the Rams on Thursday, followed by a road game at Philadelphia.

Scoggins: Coughlin, Winfield, quarterbacks among Gophers to watch

The P.J. Fleck era officially begins this evening at 6 p.m. when the Gophers open the season against Buffalo at TCF Bank Stadium. As we wait for kickoff, here are five Gophers players that I’m most interested to watch tonight:

  1. Since Fleck named co-starting quarterbacks, we’ll combine Conor Rhoda and Demry Croft as one entry. The two quarterbacks are the No. 1 story line entering the opener. Neither was able to separate from the other during spring and fall camps, so Fleck decided to play both, at least to start the season. I’m curious to see how Fleck handles playing time and when he makes the switch. He didn’t promise a 50-50 split. He hasn’t even announced publicly which one will start tonight.
  2. Carter Coughlin. The true sophomore from Eden Prairie changed positions this season, moving from linebacker to rush end. The Gophers’ deep linebacker group allowed the coaching staff to move Coughlin to defensive line, which is thin in depth. It will be interesting to see if Carter can offset the size advantage tackles will have on him by using his speed and athleticism to create pressure off the edge.
  3.  Demetrius Douglas. Fleck has raved about this true freshman receiver from Day 1 of camp. The Gophers don’t return much production at receiver so Douglas was given an opportunity to win a significant role. He took advantage and is listed as a starter.
  4. Antoine Winfield Jr. The true sophomore is a difference-maker on defense. He’s easily one of their most valuable players because he’s versatile, productive and always seems to be around the ball. Fleck indicated the coaching staff will use Winfield in a variety of roles – safety, slot nickel, maybe even on the outside – which shows his impact on the defense and the trust coaches have in him.
  5. Brandon Lingen. When healthy, the senior tight end gives the offense another threat in the passing game. Injuries limited him to only three games last season. Lingen could be valuable for the two quarterbacks if he can stay on the field. He had two 100-yard receiving games in 2015.