The Vikings’ first offensive play of Sunday’s game was called back after left tackle Matt Kalil tackled Green Bay linebacker Julius Peppers. The early holding penalty was an early glimpse into a bad day for the offensive line.
The line accounted for three of the Vikings’ eight penalties — a fourth was declined — and allowed six sacks in the 30-13 loss to the Packers. They also struggled to create much space for Adrian Peterson, who rushed for just 45 yards a week after compiling 203.
“I thought we took the next step,” left guard Brandon Fusco said Sunday. “I thought we were getting better and [Sunday] we just didn’t play as a whole.
“We had penalties to start [several] drives. … We weren’t physical enough against them. They had a good game plan of stunts and different looks and contain Adrian and make us one-dimensional.”
Green Bay’s defense put regular pressure on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and collected its first sack for an 18-yard loss despite Kalil holding on the play. The Packers’ third sack of the game briefly forced Bridgewater out of the game with a shoulder injury.
“As an offense and line we just weren’t able to pick [the blitz] up the best we could,” right guard Mike Harris said after the game. “We’ve got to do better and give Teddy more time.”
Viking coach Mike Zimmer wouldn’t let the offensive line take all the blame.
“It wasn’t all the offensive line,” Zimmer said Monday. “There were times Teddy didn’t get the ball out on time. There were times we didn’t block them. Guys missed blocks and their defensive front did a good job.
“It’s really not about biding time, it’s about getting the ball out to the right places. I think when you get in those situations where you’re first-and-20 and second-and-18, these guys can lay their ears back on you pretty good. That’s a part of our issue there.”
Good and bad
Peterson passed 1,000 yards for the season on his 10-yard run early in the fourth quarter, but fumbled for the sixth time — two have been lost — this season on the same play.
The fumble, his third in three games, killed the drive just outside the red zone with the Vikings trailing 27-13 at the time.
“[Peterson] was just trying to get some extra yards on that one,” Zimmer said. “I don’t think he saw the guy coming from the side. So we’ll just have to keep working on keeping the ball tucked and five points of protection.”
Veteran wide receiver Mike Wallace dropped a pass in the Vikings’ first offensive series Sunday and wasn’t targeted again until late in the fourth quarter. He finished the game without a catch and rushed for 6 yards on a jet sweep during the Vikings’ first possession.
Wallace has just two catches, while being targeted 14 times, for 26 yards in the last four games. In the Vikings’ first six games, he had 26 catches on 38 targets for 292 yards.
Zimmer didn’t want to talk about the receiver’s problems on Monday.
“My concern is about this football team, not concerned about stats, or individual stats or anything like that,” Zimmer said. “All I’m concerned about is how to get this team better and I’m not going to worry about those kind of things.
Starting free safety Harrison Smith sat hunched over in front of his locker after Sunday’s loss in no mood to talk. He hurt his left knee late in the first quarter and returned to the game, but had just two tackles the rest of the way.
He didn’t want to comment on his health after the game, but in response to his ability to return he said “I was out there, that’s about it.”
Zimmer didn’t have much more to add. “I don’t know [how he is],” Zimmer said. “He was here [Monday] morning.”
Injured center John Sullivan (back) will play host to an early Thanksgiving meal for young patients and their families on Tuesday at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.
Other Vikings, including T.J. Clemmings and Fusco, will also attend the meal.
“It definitely stinks not being out on the field and not helping the team, but I still play for the Minnesota Vikings and still a member of this team, and as a member of this team you have a responsibility to the community and my work with the children’s hospital is something that is important to me,” Sullivan said. “That’s not going to change based on my circumstances. I’ll continue to work with them no matter what.”