After Mike Zimmer recalled the three fumbles — the Vikings’ biggest issue in Sunday’s 14-7 loss to the Lions — he made sure to point out another key error in his postgame assessment.
“We missed the field goal in the third quarter,” Zimmer said.
For the third time in four games, kicker Kai Forbath missed a kick. That’s too much inconsistency for a Vikings organization fresh off jettisoning All-Pro kicker Blair Walsh for not settling into a groove.
On Sunday, Forbath dinged a 39-yard field goal attempt off the right upright, preventing the Vikings from cutting into Detroit’s lead. Forbath had already missed an extra point in each of the first two games.
“It felt good leaving my foot,” Forbath said, unsure of Sunday’s mishap before reviewing the film.
Forbath has now missed a kick in five of 11 games since signing last year as the Vikings’ midseason replacement for Walsh.
The Vikings defense made life difficult for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, deflecting five of his passes in addition to taking him down for six sacks. A few of those deflections could’ve been had for interceptions, including one by cornerback Xavier Rhodes on a throw to Lions receiver Marvin Jones near the sideline.
Rhodes undercut Jones’ route and got both hands on the ball for a would-be interception. But during an otherwise strong outing, the Vikings defense failed to get a takeaway for the third time in four games.
“We missed out on a lot of turnovers,” Rhodes said.
Crack in the armor
The Vikings defense still has not surrendered a 100-yard rusher this season, although Lions running back Ameer Abdullah came close with 94 yards on Sunday. With the Vikings battering Stafford in a one-score game, the Lions gave a career-high 20 carries to Abdullah.
Abdullah’s 29-yard run in the first half is the longest surrendered by the Vikings so far this season.
“Throughout the course of the game, it started to affect the way they played on defense,” Lions guard T.J. Lang said. “They were blitzing off the edge and bringing extra guys in the box to try to stop it.”
Rhodes’ evolution continues
Rhodes’ development continues as the Vikings’ top cornerback is now following receivers into the slot, where he got his pass deflection on a back-shoulder throw to Jones.
Zimmer has now had Rhodes shadow an opponent’s receiver in every game, from the Saints’ Michael Thomas to Jones on Sunday against Detroit. Previously, Rhodes hadn’t followed receivers into the slot, where defending receivers can be more challenging without a sideline.
Jones finished with just two catches for 42 yards against Rhodes.
Ahmad Rashad inducted
Former Vikings Pro Bowl receiver Ahmad Rashad was inducted into the Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony, becoming its 23rd member in franchise history. Rashad, who was also honored by his alma mater Oregon with helmet decals featuring his No. 28 this weekend, made four Pro Bowls for the Vikings from 1978 through 1981.
Many of his former Vikings teammates and friend Michael Jordan joined Rashad, who called the honor one of the best of his professional life.
“I had a love affair with this city and these fans,” Rashad said at halftime. “I still feel like I represent Minnesota.”
•Most Vikings players stood and linked arms during the national anthem on Sunday, continuing the display of unity they showed during the rendetion of the “Star-Spangled Banner” the previous week.
•Receiver Michael Floyd is now eligible to return Monday after serving his four-game suspension. The Vikings will need to make a corresponding roster move to reinstate Floyd from the suspended list.