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 • dan.wiederer@startribune.com

  • WEEK 13 denver 35 vikings 32

    Week 14: Noon Sunday at Detroit • TV: Ch. 9

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do against Atlanta?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close