Vikings: Mark Craig's five extra points

  • Updated: September 17, 2012 - 1:55 PM
1. Where's the deep ball?

Bubble screens to Percy Harvin are a weapon, but the Vikings rely too much on them. Five of Harvin's 12 catches came either behind or at the line of scrimmage. At one point, he had more yards after the catch than actual yards receiving. He finished with 104 yards receiving and 71 yards after the catch. Quarterback Christian Ponder didn't throw a deep ball until 13:40 remained in the game. Harvin was called for pass interference on the play. Obviously, the deep passing attack will be helped when Jerome Simpson returns from his suspension in Week 4.

2. Calling John Carlson? John Carlson?

The prized free-agent signing of this past offseason is virtually invisible. Tight end John Carlson barely played in the season opener and didn't have a pass thrown his way against the Colts. He has no catches and has been targeted once in two games. Not exactly what the Vikings had in mind when they gave him a five-year, $25 million deal with $11 million guaranteed. In his defense, Carlson missed all of training camp because of a knee injury and isn't being thrown to. But at some point real soon, the Vikings need to incorporate him into their tight end-friendly offense. By the way, the tight ends weren't targeted until the 6:26 mark of the third quarter. By then, the Vikings trailed 20-6.

3. Peterson has quiet game

Don't worry. Adrian Peterson is still back, even though he averaged only 3.8 yards, didn't score and had no run longer than 6 yards. He also had only 19 yards on eight carries during the Vikings' second-half rally. But that doesn't mean he didn't flash signs of the old Adrian. He showed exceptional burst when he caught a pass on a crossing route over the middle and turned it into a 20-yard gain on third-and-9. The Vikings scored the tying touchdown three plays later.

4. Flag day

There are plenty of penalties to rehash. But let's focus on one that might get overlooked. It was Christian Ballard's 10-yarder for blocking in the back during a punt return in the third quarter. It ruined what could have been a turning point in the game. Vikings punter Chris Kluwe had pinned the Colts at their 2-yard line. Three plays and 3 yards later, Colts punter Pat McAfee boomed a 64-yarder that Marcus Sherels returned 11 yards. Ballard's penalty resulted in a 63-yard net for McAfee. The Vikings should have gotten the ball deep in Colts territory, not at their own 32.

5. Why, Coach?

So why the heck did Colts coach Chuck Pagano accept a 5-yard penalty for encroachment rather than take a 7-yard gain that would have enabled Adam Vinatieri to kick a 51-yard game-winner rather than the 53-yarder he made? His explanation didn't make it any clearer. "I was under the understanding that they were going to wind the clock and Andrew would kill it with four seconds left and then we'd kick the field goal and have the walkoff and don't have to defend a couple Hail Mary passes," Pagano said. Luck, however, ended up spiking the ball with 13 seconds left to avoid having to rush the field goal unit onto the field. Ultimately, the Colts could have done the same thing from 2 yards closer. But it didn't matter because they have the best clutch kicker in NFL history.

MARK CRAIG

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