The Vikings fell to 1-4 with an uninspired and lifeless 35-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers at Mall of America Field. The Carolina Panthers also came into the game at 1-3, but they dominated the Vikings in every facet.
The Vikings performance was as bad as the score suggests. The offense failed to build on what it showed in a victory against Pittsburgh in London before the bye. Matt Cassel threw two interceptions on two badly overthrown passes.
His struggles likely clear the way for Josh Freeman to start against the New York Giants next week if he's comfortable enough with the offense.
The Vikings defense continued to struggle and had no answer for the Panthers running game or Cam Newton's passing. One play in particular summed up their performance.
On the opening possession of the second half, cornerback Josh Robinson was playing zone while rookie Xavier Rhodes played man, and the busted coverage resulted in a 79-yard touchdown catch by Brandon LaFell. That gave the Panthers a 21-3 lead and the rout was on.