Vikings left dizzy by Broncos

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2011 - 6:05 AM

The Ponder-Harvin combo was magic, but the dull pain of defeat lingered after a day of trading punches.

What was this look on Leslie Frazier's face late Sunday afternoon as he glanced down and closed his eyes briefly to get his bearings?

The Vikings coach sure looked like a 13-year-old kid who had spent the previous three hours strapped into the Tilt-a-Whirl at Valleyfair.

Dizzied. Disoriented. Ultimately defeated.

Receiver Percy Harvin wore a similar expression, appearing as if he had just washed down two trays of nachos with an extra-large Slushee and then opted to take 10 consecutive rides on Steel Venom.

Here, after an exhilarating and entertaining afternoon, Harvin now felt sick to his stomach.

The Vikings lost yet again Sunday, this time 35-32 to the Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos. The fun ended with Matt Prater's 23-yard field goal as time expired.

"Disgusted," Harvin said. "There are too many times this year when we've come in here and been left repeating ourselves. The letdowns, the missed assignments. This is another game we felt we had control of and somehow it slipped away."

With 1:33 to play, the Vikings had the ball in a tied game -- with overtime seeming like a worst-case scenario.

Then came a luckless turn of events, a pass from rookie Christian Ponder to Harvin seized instead by Broncos cornerback André Goodman at the Vikings 35 and returned to the 15.

This time, Tebow didn't need any final-drive heroics. He simply handed off four times, knelt once, let Prater close the deal and walked out of Mall of America Field with the oversized stuffed animal slung over his shoulder.

You have to be kidding, right?

It's not just that Denver is 6-1 with Tebow as its starter. It's that the Broncos have claimed three of those victories on game-ending field goals and a fourth on a final-minute Tebow touchdown run.

On Sunday, the Broncos won despite managing only 48 yards and one first down in the first half. They triumphed even after their usually reliable defense was shredded by the Vikings for 489 yards.

If you like twists and abrupt turns and fireworks shows, then Sunday's game was all sorts of stimulating with five turnovers, 10 second-half scores and plenty of fourth-quarter drama.

If you were a Vikings coach, however, every positive development seemed to be negated by a costly mistake.

As good as Harvin was, making eight catches for a career-best 156 yards with two touchdowns, Demaryius Thomas also wanted his time in the highlight package. Denver's young receiver had 144 receiving yards and twice broke through busted coverage for second-half touchdowns.

Ponder? He played brilliantly at times, amassing 381 passing yards and bouncing back from a rough start. But all told, his three turnovers cost the Vikings 13 points.

Ponder's final throw was simply a poor choice, a failed attempt to lure Goodman down to cover Stephen Burton on a shorter route.

"I got a little too greedy," Ponder said.

It was also Ponder's ninth turnover in six starts, rookie growing pains that seem to be growing sharper.

"Everybody talks about it -- rookies are going to have their ups and downs," Ponder said. "And obviously it's so. But it's hard for me to hear that. I don't want to go through ups and downs. I just want to go through ups."

On the other side of the ball, the Vikings defense is doing its own soul-searching. A unit that registered a safety on its first play and delivered two first-half takeaways Sunday crumbled like a stale corn dog in the second half.

After halftime, Willis McGahee rushed for 85 yards on 12 carries. Tebow went 6-for-9 for 173 yards after the break.

His 41-yard scoring strike to Thomas came on Denver's first play after a Harvin touchdown gave the Vikings a 22-14 lead. It also came thanks to a mad scramble that had a half-dozen Vikings charging Tebow while Thomas was left alone in the middle of the field.

"Tebow did good things," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "You can't take that away from him. But we all know he's not the greatest passer. And you can't give up [202] yards to him. I love the guy. And he does a lot of good things. But there's no way you can let that happen."

Several times Sunday, the holes in the Vikings' zone were larger than the one that caused the Metrodome roof to collapse a year ago.

"There should not be that type of gap," Frazier said. "We've been playing that coverage forever. And to see it played the way it was played today was just bad."

Frazier said this with a perplexed tone and that look of exhaustion. So often when he and the Vikings board the roller coaster this season, they wind up having little control of the ride.

Dan Wiederer •

  • WEEK 13 denver 35 vikings 32

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Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay 2 Bottom 3rd Inning
Baltimore 2
Atlanta 1 Top 6th Inning
NY Mets 0
Cleveland 1 Bottom 1st Inning
Chicago WSox 0
Minnesota 2 Bottom 1st Inning
Kansas City 0
Texas 1 Top 1st Inning
Houston 0
Oakland - S. Gray 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Atlanta 21 3rd Qtr 2:35
Jacksonville 7
Detroit 10 2nd Qtr 5:55
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 0 3rd Qtr
Cincinnati 7
Kansas City 0 2nd Qtr 3:25
Green Bay 20
NY Jets 0 2nd Qtr 2:00
Philadelphia 7
St. Louis 10 2nd Qtr 2:00
Miami 0
Carolina 3 2nd Qtr 13:46
Pittsburgh 0
New England 0 2nd Qtr 13:55
NY Giants 3
Washington 3 2nd Qtr 15:00
Tampa Bay 0
Baltimore 3 1st Qtr 10:29
New Orleans 0
Chicago 3 1st Qtr 9:57
Cleveland 0
Denver 0 1st Qtr 8:53
Dallas 0
Minnesota 7 1st Qtr 8:54
Tennessee 0
San Francisco 0 1st Qtr 12:33
Houston 0
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 31 3rd Qtr 11:13
(9) So Carolina 14
Wake Forest 7 2nd Qtr 1:40
Boise State 0 1st Qtr 8:00
(18) Ole Miss 0
Tulane 0 1st Qtr 8:51
Tulsa 0
Temple 8:15 PM
Rutgers 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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