By Jim Souhan

Los Angeles

This is a quick-reaction blog following the game. My actual column will be in the Friday Star Tribune and online at startribune.com.

Mike Zimmer has a problem. He built a statistically great defense that has collapsed in the calendar year of 2018.

The Saints in the first playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Eagles in the NFC Championship game. The Packers with an ailing Aaron Rodgers. The Bills with a rookie quarterback starting on the road. And now the frighteningly talented and innovative Los Angeles Rams, who beat the Vikings 38-31 on Thursday night at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Not only is the Vikings’ defense no longer dominant; now it looks dazed and confused.

Next stop for the Vikings: Facing the defending Super Bowl champions in Philadelphia with the Eagles celebrating the return of star quarterback Carson Wentz.

The Rams targeted Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, who was beaten for three touchdown passes, only one of which went to a running back. Thursday night, the Rams were playing chess, and the Vikings were playing checkers.

 

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