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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Plus-1 in turnover ratio ... and still outscored 67-6?

Posted by: under Vikings, NFC, Packers Updated: September 28, 2011 - 11:26 AM

At least the Vikings are taking care of the football in the second half.

As for everything else? Well, not so much.

Normally, when an NFL teams falls apart as badly as the Vikings have in the second half, turnovers are to blame (see: 2009 NFC Championship Game). But the Vikings can't blame turnovers for having been outscored 67-6 in the second half of three blown victories.

In fact, they're plus-1 in turnover ratio in the second half this season. They've forced two turnovers and committed one. And the one they committed came on a desperation play as time ran out in the loss to the Buccaneers.

Overall, the Vikings are plus-1 in turnover ratio. They have three takeaways and two giveaways. To take care of the ball that well and still botch three double-digit halftime leads takes a lot of consistently bad football.

Without turnovers to blame, here are the three main culprits:

1, Penalties: The Vikings have 17 penalties for 141 yards in the second half alone this season. The NFL average for penalties in an entire game is 19. Yikes.

2, Third-down offense: We've kicked this dead horse for awhile. Here's another swing: The Vikings are 1-for-15 on third downs and ride an 0-for-14 slump into Kansas City. By the way, 1-for-15 is a 6.7 percent success rate.

3, Third-down defense:  The defense has allowed teams to convert on third down 59.1 percent of the time in the second half (13 of 22).


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