Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings postgame: 27-13 loss to Bears

Posted by: under Vikings, Bears, Brad Childress, Vikings offense, Vikings players, Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Bernard Berrian, Brad Childress, Brett Favre, Chad Greenway, Heath Farwell, Jared Allen, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice Updated: November 14, 2010 - 8:40 PM

CHICAGO -- Brett Favre summed up the Vikings predicament perfectly after a 27-13 loss to the Bears dropped them to 3-6.

"We’re running out of games," he said. "At the rate we’re playing, it won’t take but a couple more, and we’ll be out of it. And that’s just being honest. I don’t know how to sugar-coat it. If we don’t play any better than we did today, or we did for 56 minutes last week, the writing’s on the wall. So, I’d love to sit here and tell you something different, but that’s the way it is."

The mood in the locker room wasn't much different. The Vikings in reality have no more margin for error. They are not mathematically eliminated from anything yet, but they are hanging by a thread after this latest loss. Here was some reaction from the locker room:

-- Jared Allen: "Honestly, it’s gut-check time. It’s getting old, the same song and dance. Different game, same story. We’re just inconsistent. We’ve shown times of being really good. It really just comes down to playing with energy and effort and executing your job, and when we do that we’re pretty good. When we don’t, you see what happens. You can sit there and make excuses and try to explain away, but the bottom line is we lost a game in the division that we easily could have won. We easily could have won this game. So it’s time. Guys need to be gut-checking and see why they play this game and realize every day -- we still have what, seven games left? We’ve got four at home -- to go out there and put it on the line. It’s not good enough to practice hard all week. You’ve got to go out and put it on the line on the field and make plays."

-- Adrian Peterson: "Our backs are against the wall. We have seven games left. What are we going to do? Are we going to put ourselves in position to have a chance or are we going to tap out? I feel like the guys will get in together and get back on track."

-- Chad Greenway: "No question are backs are against the ropes. Now you really see the character of a team. Hopefully we’re the type of team that’s going to bounce back and continue to battle. The type of guys we have in here, we’re going to keep fighting. We can’t be the team that’s going to just roll over. There’s still a chance. We have to hold onto that."
 
The Vikings lost Sunday because they did not play well in any of the three phases. They gained only 79 yards on offense in the second half and had four turnovers by Favre; the defense gave up too many third-down conversions; and the special teams allowed several big returns by Devin Hester.
 

Here are some notes and quotes from the locker room:

Forgettable day for Favre

One week after passing for a career high in yards, Favre had a day he would rather forget. He completed only 18 of 31 passes for 170 yards and one touchdowns with three interceptions and one fumble. He had a 44.5 passer rating.

Berrian sits

Bernard Berrian was in uniform but didn’t play a snap because of a groin injury. The problem was that Berrian informed the Vikings of this too late in the process and thus ate up a spot on the 45-man game-day roster.

"He was set to go, we had him up and I knew it was bugging him a little bit," coach Brad Childress said. "He said he didn’t feel like he’d be able to go. ... Whether it was the conditions or he got tight, cold, tweaked it again, I’m not exactly sure. He just said, ‘I can’t go."

Harvin re-injured

Percy Harvin re-injured his sprained left ankle during a fourth quarter kickoff return. "Same spot," Childress said. "All the things that are going on with that. He tweaked it." Harvin did not talk to reporters after the game.

Sidney Rice made the trip with the Vikings but remained on the physically unable to perform list.

"We went through yesterday morning to see how he came back from Friday’s practice," Childress said. "I’m not going to say we went to the 3 o’clock deadline but we had our mock game yesterday morning and just talked to him. He didn’t feel like he was able to go yet."

Rice has been practicing and must be activated by Nov. 24 or his season will be finished.

Offense struggles

 How bad was the Vikings offense? Consider: They had 79 total yards, six first downs and three points in the second half. They converted only 1-of-9 third-down opportunities for the game, had four turnovers and went 0-for-3 in the red zone.

“What changed?” Peterson said of the second-half struggles. “I don’t really know. We really didn’t do a good job of converting on third down and that hurt us a lot.”
 
Peterson finished with a season-low 51 yards rushing on 17 carries. He also dropped two passes and slipped on another route, which allowed Lance Briggs to intercept Favre’s pass.
 
“There were some opportunities out there that we were left on the field from different players, including myself, that really could have kept the drive alive and kept us going, put us in better field position,” Peterson said.
 
Hester shines in few role
 
The Bears used Hester on kickoff returns for the first time this season and he returned two for 100 yards, including a 68-yarder that set up a field goal in the third quarter. Hester also had a 42-yard punt return.
 
“There’s a reason why Devin Hester is the best returner in the league,” Heath Farwell said. “You see him lined up on punts and obviously he’s dynamic. When he starts doing kickoffs, you have to worry about him doing that too.”

 Cutler keeps plays alive

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler completed 22 of 35 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
 
Cutler went at Lito Sheppard repeatedly with success particularly on third down. The Bears converted 11 of 19 third-down opportunities.
 
Cutler also did a good job of keeping plays alive with his feet and moving around when he felt pressure.
 
"That was pretty much the problem the whole day," Antoine Winfield said. "Him running around, buying time for his receivers to get open. We were playing some zone so there were holes in the zone and they would sit down and he would complete them. Have to give him credit."
 
That's it for tonight. We'll have plenty more online and in the paper. We'll check back in from Winter Park tomorrow.
 
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