The Vikings head to Kansas City with an 0-3 record and no rush to start the Christian Ponder era.
“I don’t think the quarterback position is our problem right now,” coach Leslie Frazier said after the Vikings blew a 20-0 halftime lead en route to a 26-23 overtime loss to the Lions at the Metrodome on Sunday. “No, we’re not thinking about (any changes) at the quarterback position.”
The Vikings will arrive in Kansas City with some extra baggage. Mental baggage. They went into the Lions game as the only team in NFL history to open a season by blowing two double-digit halftime leads.
Make it three in a row in a nightmare that’s seen them blow leads of 17-7 at San Diego, 17-0 at home to the Buccaneers and 20-0 on Sunday.
The Vikings said all the right things about sticking together – again – and not giving up. But there’s also a look of bewilderment heading into the rest of the season. And that’s understandable for a team that’s 0-3 despite trailing for only 6 minutes, 51 seconds all season.
“What is it, fool me once, shame on you?” defensive end Jared Allen said. “Fool me twice, shame on me. I don’t even know what they call it for fool me three times. I don’t even have a phrase to answer what is going on.”
Kansas City also is 0-3, but the Vikings tend to struggle on the road against teams that play on grass. After that, the Vikings play the Cardinals at home before starting a four-game stretch in which they play the Bears once and the Packers twice.
The Vikings have been outscored 67-6 in the second half this season. In 16 second-half possessions, McNabb has put two field goals on the board. And defensively, the Vikings have given up 698 yards passing in the second half, including 314 to Matthew Stafford (on 22 of 30 passing) on Sunday.
Although the root of the problem is the new offense and a lack of adjustments and execution in the second half, the defense isn’t innocent.
After forcing Detroit to punt on its first six possessions, the Vikings faded quickly. When they played zone, tight end Brandon Pettigrew crushed them for nine second-half catches for 88 yards. And when they gambled and played man on the outside, Calvin Johnson beat them even when they had good coverage. He caught six second-half passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He beat good coverage by cornerbacks Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin. Cook got out-leaped at the goal line for a 32-yard touchdown. Griffin had good coverage, but watched as Johnson adjusted beautifully for an over-the-shoulder 40-yard catch that set up the game-winning field goal in overtime.
“I feel sick right now,” said running back Adrian Peterson, who wasn’t alone.