Charlotte, N.C. --

This is my quick take following the final gun. My column will appear later on and in the Monday newspaper.

The Vikings have lost one game in a row. That loss came to an NFC contender playing at home with a sense of desperation. This is not a crisis, but because these are the Minnesota Vikings, this may be viewed as a crisis by everyone who remembers Gary Anderson or 12 men in the huddle.

Case Keenum committed three turnovers, the offense failed to produce a big play unil a desperation fourth-quarter drive and the run defense lapsed badly in the Vikings' 31-24 loss at Carolina on Sunday.

The Vikings' eight-game winning streak is over.

Another way to look at it: The Vikings were unikely to go 14-2, and Carolina was a logical place for a loss.

Coming out of their bye, the Vikings faced a five-game stretch that would determine their fate. They won four of those games. I thought they'd do well to win three, and might be able to survive winning just two.

They have overachieved. But now that they've overachieved, they need to use the final three games, all against weak opponents, to get their offensive line healthy, begin making big plays on offense again, and shore up their run defense.

This should should only be viewed as a crisis if it leads to a collapse. Given the remainder of the schedule, that's highly unlikely.


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