Vikings have four areas to fix — and they must do it quickly

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 15, 2013 - 10:19 AM

Sunday's blowout loss to Carolina dropped the Vikings to 1-4, and a sense of urgency hit Winter Park. "When you lose, heads roll,'' Jared Allen said.

 

The Vikings went about business as usual at Winter Park on Monday, 24 hours after their season drifted closer to an abyss that eventually could bring organizational changes.

Leslie Frazier announced no changes, and he attempted to remain upbeat after a 35-10 home loss to the Carolina Panthers left his team with a 1-4 record.

Several veterans vented in the postgame locker room, with defensive end Jared Allen offering a particularly blunt salvo. “When you lose, heads roll,” he said. “That’s just the way it is.”

Frazier doesn’t need any reminders that a 1-4 start in 2011 deteriorated into a 3-13 nightmare. What transpired Sunday had a similar look and feel. “It’s not a lost season,” Frazier said. “There has to be a sense of urgency, there’s no question about it. We can still get things turned, but we’re going to need everybody believing that, as well.”

Here are four areas that need immediate improvement to avoid a repeat of 2011:

1. A never-ending quarterback carousel

On Wednesday, the Vikings could announce their third different starting quarterback in six games. That’s never a good sign.

Frazier said he hopes to choose his quarterback that day so the starter — presumably Josh Freeman — can get the majority of snaps in practice this week. Freeman received a crash course on the offense after signing last Sunday night. Frazier said he wants to talk to Freeman to gauge his comfort level with the new system.

Given Matt Cassel’s two interceptions against the Panthers and the team’s overall record, Freeman looks like a safe bet to start because the Vikings need to evaluate him to determine if he is a long-term answer in their never-ending quest to solidify that position.

Cassel and Christian Ponder have accounted for nine of the team’s 12 turnovers and their combined 76.5 passer rating ranks 24th in the league.

The coaches said they will need to condense the playbook for Freeman because he is learning on the fly, but at this point, there’s no downside to evaluating how the offense functions with him at the controls. Freeman’s strong arm could bring a legitimate vertical aspect to an offense that lacks a consistent downfield presence.

2. Defense equally at fault

The Vikings rank 31st in total defense, 30th in scoring defense, 29th in pass defense and 31st in third-down defense. Can’t win that way.

Their deficiencies are particularly glaring on third down. Opponents are converting 49.3 percent of their third-down opportunities, which essentially means it’s a flip of the coin whether the Vikings make a stop and get off the field.

Their third-down defense is even worse than in 2011 when they allowed 44 percent conversions. Not surprisingly, the Vikings also are allowing more points per game than in 2011 — 31.6 vs. 28.1.

Frazier has resisted changes in scheme or personnel and instead pointed to a lack of execution.

“You’ve got to execute your assignments,” he said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 6:30 PM
Boston
Portland 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Toronto 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Dallas 7:00 PM
Miami
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Golden State 8:00 PM
Utah
Chicago 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
New Jersey
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Carolina
Nashville 8:00 PM
Colorado
Buffalo 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Chicago 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Harvard 5:00 PM
Princeton
Quinnipiac 6:00 PM
Canisius
Brown 6:00 PM
Cornell
Siena 6:00 PM
Manhattan
Marist 6:00 PM
Niagara
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
Penn
Oregon 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Yale 7:00 PM
Columbia
Monmouth 7:00 PM
Fairfield
IUPUI 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Oregon State 9:00 PM
Arizona
Kent State 9:00 PM
Buffalo
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 6:00 PM
Providence
Cornell 6:00 PM
Brown
Columbia 6:00 PM
Yale
Coll of Charleston 6:00 PM
Drexel
Penn 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
Elon 6:00 PM
James Madison
(19) Princeton 6:00 PM
Harvard
(9) Florida State 6:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Quinnipiac 6:00 PM
Siena
Richmond 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Loyola-Chicago 6:05 PM
Southern Ill
Georgetown 7:00 PM
DePaul
Villanova 7:00 PM
Marquette
Wichita State 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Xavier 7:05 PM
Creighton
Bradley 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Missouri State 7:05 PM
Drake
Arizona 8:00 PM
Utah
(11) Arizona State 8:00 PM
Colorado
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 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close