So far this season the Vikings had avoided a major injury. In the third quarter Thursday, that changed when cornerback Chris Cook broke his right wrist on a Doug Martin run. Cook left the game and didn't return. Tampa Bay scored on the next play when Martin turned a screen pass into a 64-yard touchdown.
After the game Vikings coach Leslie Frazier reported the break -- Cook had a hefty cast on the wrist as he left the stadium -- but didn't give a timeline for his return.
Josh Robinson replaced Cook in the base defense, with A.J. Jefferson playing in the nickel. That might be how the Vikings operate going forward.
"They need to step up now," cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "I don't know how long Chris will be out. Broken wrist, that's not good. But our motto is when somebody goes down, it's the next man up."Loud for a while
It was the loudest Mall of America Field had been this season. It was late in the third quarter when, on a Josh Freeman incompletion, Tampa Bay's Donald Penn and Jared Allen of the Vikings got into an altercation. Allen said he fell on the play, and Penn pushed him while he tried to get up. In the ensuing scuffle Allen lost his helmet -- which left a gash on his nose -- and both of the players were penalized.
After a timeout, on third-and-10, the fans were very loud when Allen beat a double team, pushed Penn out of the way and sacked Freeman. At the time it appeared it could be a game-changing play.
"Unfortunately it wasn't a sack-fumble," said Allen. "So we didn't get points out of it."
When asked what was said during the altercation, Allen laughed. "Nothing vulgar," he said. "I know Donald from back at Utah State. He was playing hard, I was playing hard."Up and down
It was a bittersweet game for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. He scored a touchdown on a 64-yard third-quarter run that cut Tampa's lead to 13 and appeared, for a moment, to give the Vikings momentum. But he also lost a second-quarter fumble that gave Tampa the ball at the Minnesota 37-yard line. Six plays later the Bucs scored to take a 20-7 lead.
Peterson had his second consecutive 100-yard game (123 yards on 15 carries), giving him a franchise-best 30th game of 100 or more yards in his career. But the team lost.
"I'm not really worried [about stats] right now," Peterson said. "We lost."London calling
The Vikings will be doing some advance scouting this weekend.
Four team vice presidents will get on a plane bound for London on Friday to learn what they are up against in advance of the Vikings' game there next season.
The St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots play each other Sunday at Wembley Stadium, which is where the Vikings will host the Steelers on Sept. 29, 2013.
"We're all going to be a part of the NFL experience," said Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development. "We're going to tag along. The league has us set up with a number of functions."
Also going are VPs Steve LaCroix (sales and marketing), Steve Poppen (finance) and Kevin Warren (legal affairs).
Bagley said his group will be assessing everything, topics such as when best to arrive in London in advance of the game, how each team is handling the experience and how to limit distractions for the football team.
"We want to know what the teams are going through," Bagley said. "We're going to get the lay of the land, get a feeling for the game, the experience there, so that when the Vikings go over there we'll know what to expect."
Bagley and the others will observe the buildup to the game, attend the game, then meet with both local and NFL officials on Monday.Ring adds Blair
Matt Blair joked Monday that he hoped emotions wouldn't get in the way of what he had to say.
That was a difficult challenge. The former Vikings linebacker was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime of Thursday's game. There were video tributes from former coach Bud Grant and a brief speech by owner Zygi Wilf.
"Tonight is a special moment in my life," said Blair after donning a purple blazer. "I'm proud and humbled to receive the 20th Ring of Honor award."
Blair had been working on his speech since being informed of the honor in July. But, more recently, he was thrown a little curve. The time slot for his speech had been trimmed from its original three-minute length to two minutes.
It still gave him time to thank his former coaches, starting in high school. And his former coach, and especially former teammate -- and friend -- Fred McNeill.
"Dreams do come true," he said.