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Souhan: Rapid reaction after Vikings loss to Steelers

RAPID REACTION

My actual column will appear on startribune.com and in the Monday paper. This was filed at the final gun.

 

Pittsburgh _ Sam Bradford couldn’t play Sunday because of a sore knee. Xavier Rhodes played sparingly because of a hip injury, and perhaps other undisclosed ailments.

Once Bradford was ruled out, Sunday’s game became more about survival than competition. Six days after Bradford put together his best game as a pro, he left the team’s current and future situation at the quarterback position in doubt, which left the Vikings’ ambitions in doubt.

Case Keenum is not the answer to any question that involves making the playoffs, and the Vikings can’t know that Bradford will be ready for next Sunday, given how gingerly he moved while trying to warm up on Sunday night.

The promise of the Vikings’ opening-night victory melted on a hot day in Pittsburgh, in a 26-9 loss that felt like an exercise in hopelessness.

The defense played gamely and the Vikings’ skill-position players made plays when given the opportunity. But without Bradford the Vikings not only lacked a crisp passing offense, they looked unsure how to counter the Steelers’ pass rush.

The Vikings also committed penalties at the worst possible times, aiding a Steelers’ offense that has yet to look sharp this season.

If Bradford returns to full health, the Vikings may be favored to win their next three games. If not, they’ll have trouble beating anyone.

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Minnesota Vikings: Bradford out, 2009 memories

Sam Bradford walked onto the turf at Heinz Field, threw a small number of passes, didn’t run or cut, and walked off with athletic trainer Eric Sugarman.

It didn’t look promising, and it wasn’t. An hour later, the Vikings released their inactives, and Bradford was on the list.

On Monday night, Bradford had his best game as a pro, inflating expectations for his team.

Six days later, his left knee, on which he has endured a couple of surgeries, wouldn’t allow him to play on a grass field.

The Vikings are right to protect him, but this is a terrible sign.

The Vikings have two franchise-quality quarterbacks and neither was available to them on Sunday.

Teddy Bridgewaters remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list and may never be the player he seemed destined to become. Bradford is dealing with chronic knee soreness.

I saw Bradford walking around the lockerroom on Wednesday and he looked fine. He did not get hit often on Monday night. He just has a problematic knee.

The Vikings’ offensive line finally has a good game, and their quarterback gets hurt, anyway.

Not that the Vikings are cursed. Nope. Not that. I don’t even know why you brought it up.

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Last time the Vikings were in Pittsburgh, they lost, 27-17, at Heinz Field.

It was 20-17 before Kevaron Fox returned an interception 82 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Having covered the game, what I remember is the epic feel of Brett Favre facing Ben Roethlisberger in one of the most intense football atmospheres in the NFL. From the stands, you can see the rivers and downtown Pittsburgh.

This is another reminder of how compelling the entire 2009 season was. Everywhere Favre went, he brought drama with him.

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Stupid prediction:

I picked the Steelers to win, 24-20, before we learned of Bradford’s situation.

Given his injury, the Steelers playing their home opener a week after a mediocre performance at Cleveland, the Steelers’ traditional home dominance and the Vikings’ short week, I’ll amend that to 27-16, Steelers.

Last week I picked the Vikings to win 26-20. The final was 29-19.

 

Please check out the VikingUpdate Show with Tim Yotter, plus shows with Michael Russo, Jon Krawczynski, Roy Smalley and my show, SouhanUncensored, at MNSPN.com and The Mix Sports Radio facebook page.

We have a game preview up on the VikingUpdate Show.

@Souhanstrib