Sid Hartman: Blame this one on Vikings defense, not Cassel

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 23, 2013 - 6:22 AM

The Bears and the Eagles came to town as contenders for playoff spots, and the Vikings, despite the fact that they were out of playoff contention, dominated the Eagles and beat the Bears in overtime. In between those games they lost a thrilling contest on the road against Baltimore.

Matt Cassel had played three good games in a row, posting a 94.46 passer rating over those contests — 80.7 against the Bears, 86.0 against the Ravens and 116.6 against the Eagles.

The local media were convinced that Cassel was the solution to the Vikings’ quarterback situation, but for some reason things were a lot different in Sunday’s 42-14 thrashing by the Bengals. Cassel wound up with a 32.6 quarterback rating, the third-lowest total in his nine-year career, after completing just 13 of 27 passes for 114 yards with a fumble and three interceptions, including a pick-six score for Cincinnati.

Nobody can blame Cassel for this loss, though. When a defense gives up 429 yards and five touchdowns, it’s hard to put the fault on the quarterback. There was plenty of blame to go around.

To be fair, the Bengals are a pretty good team and are unbeaten at home.

However, after this performance it wouldn’t surprise me if coach Leslie Frazier turns to Christian Ponder for the final game in the Metrodome this Sunday against a Lions team that was eliminated from playoff contention Sunday.

This team isn’t going to win many games when Adrian Peterson winds up with 45 yards on 11 tries. There is little doubt Peterson is playing hurt; otherwise he would be doing a lot better the past few games.

It’s been very difficult for anybody to figure out this team, which has lost four games by a total of 12 points, allowing opponents to win with a score in the final two minutes.

When Bob Hagen, Tom West and the rest of the Vikings public relations crew put together their postseason wrap-up book they are going to find a lot of negatives about a team that was good enough to make the 2012 playoffs but has completely collapsed, especially defensively.

Among those negative statistics is the fact that for the first time since 2001 the Vikings didn’t win a road game. The only other season they did that was their inaugural year, 1961.

If the Vikings lose to the Lions next Sunday, their record of 4-11-1 would be the fifth worst in franchise history.

Those four years include the first two years of the franchise — 1961 when they were 3-11-1 including a season- opening victory over the Bears and 1962 when they were 2-11-1.

The other years they were worse were 1984 and 2011, both 3-13 seasons.

Defense must improve

You’d be hard-pressed to find a season in which the Vikings defense fell so far from one year to the next. In 2012 the Vikings were tied for 14th in the NFL in points per game, giving up just 21.8 per contest. They also ranked 16th in yards allowed per game, giving up 350.

Coming into Sunday’s game the Vikings were ranked 31st in the NFL in both categories. They were allowing a miserable 30.4 points per game and 406.5 yards per game, and that was before they were destroyed by the Bengals.

Cincinnati scored the second-highest point total against the Vikings this season. Only Green Bay topped it when it scored 44 points in Week 7.

Kill sees tough D

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Orlando 7:00 PM
Memphis
Boston 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Army 35 2nd Half
American Univ 29
Wright State 33 2nd Half
Detroit 27
Syracuse 40 2nd Half
North Carolina 35
Cleveland State 22 2nd Half
Oakland 33
Delaware State 29 2nd Half
NC Central 27
High Point 31 2nd Half
Presbyterian 28
Howard 4 1st Half 17:20
Bethune-Cookman 5
Coppin State 0 1st Half 20:00
NC A&T 0
Nicholls 12 1st Half 10:22
Northwestern St 20
Hampton 9 1st Half 13:25
SC State 3
Gardner-Webb 7:00 PM
Campbell
MD-Eastern Shore 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Lamar
Central Arkansas 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Norfolk State 7:00 PM
Savannah State
TX A&M-CC 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Sam Houston St 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
McNeese State 7:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Milwaukee 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Southern U 7:30 PM
Alabama State
Prairie View 8:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Texas 8:00 PM
Iowa State
Texas Southern 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 39 2nd Half 12:13
Alabama A&M 34
Southern U 46 2nd Half 9:47
Alabama State 36
Texas Southern 43 2nd Half 11:13
Miss Valley St 38
(12) Texas A&M 31 2nd Half
(1) South Carolina 39
Robert Morris 36 2nd Half
Mount St Marys 21
East Tenn St 25 2nd Half
Mercer 25
Wofford 27 2nd Half
Furman 25
Morehead St 27 2nd Half
Tenn Tech 24
Illinois 24 2nd Half
Michigan 39
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 8:00 PM
Auburn
(15) Nebraska 8:00 PM
(20) Iowa
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