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.


A 30-minute team in a 60-minute league

Posted by: Mark Craig under Quarterbacks, Vikings, Lions Updated: September 18, 2011 - 8:37 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest the Lions will not be rattled if they're trailing at halftime of next Sunday's game at the Metrodome.

Considering the Vikings have been outscored 41-3 in the second half, they've established themselves as a 30-minute team in a 60-minute league.

 And the amazing thing is it's not because of turnovers. In fact, the only turnover the Vikings have in the second half this season is today's fumble as time expired in the 24-20 loss to the Buccaneers at the Metrodome.

It's hard to determine how much of the problem belongs to the coaching staff, the quarterback, the new offense, etc. If it's not halftime adjustments that are to blame, the coaches should at least share in the blame for how thoroughly outplayed the players have been in the second half.

It's not even close. For instance, the opposing quarterbacks -- Philip Rivers and Josh Freeman -- have combined to complete 33 of 43 passes (76.7 percent) for 384 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. Meanwhile, Donovan McNabb has completed 8 of 19 for 77 yards and no TDs.

But it's not just the quarterback play that's been different. Today, in the first half, Adrian Peterson ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 15 first-half carries, while LeGarrette Blount had four yards on five carries. In the second half, Blount ran for 67 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries (8.4), while Peterson was held to 37 yards on 10 carries.

The Lions are riding a six-game win streak and are coming off a 48-3 win over the Chiefs. But they haven't won at the Metrodome since 1997. That's 13 consecutive losses.

At this point, it's hard to imagine it will reach 14 straight, no matter what the score is at halftime.

   

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