We all thought after last Sunday’s game against Philadelphia that the Minnesota Vikings had a chance to beat the Playoff bound Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday.
Then Sunday came and everything took a turn for the worse. In the 42-14 blowout loss at the Bengals the walls around the Vikings started to crumble under the weight of their own offensive and defensive disorganization. And let’s not forgot about the four turnovers.
The Vikings also failed to convert a single third down as Cassel threw three interceptions in 27 attempts. His 114 passing yards are 127 yards fewer than his season low in the previous four starts.
Cassel’s 32.6 passer rating worse than any of Christian Ponder‘s nine starts– Ponder also watched from the sideline as fellow 2011 draftee and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton led his team to a perfect 7-0 at home and an unprecedented third-straight playoff appearance.
On nine third-down attempts, Cassel went 0-for-8, an interception and the first-quarter sack-fumble.
And returning running back Adrian Peterson couldn’t even save the day, he took his lone carry in the second half for 11 yards as he returned from a mid-foot sprain that held him out of last week’s 48-30 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Frazier pulled the NFL MVP midway through the third quarter.
The Vikings set a record of season-lows on Sunday, but the lone bright spot was rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. He notched his career-high rushing attempt on a 35-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Patterson was the Vikings’ leading rusher with 54 yards on three attempts.
But with just 10 first downs on the game, one by penalty, the Vikings set a season-low with 20:28 time of possession and their longest drive of the game – also a season-low five plays. Cassel took four sacks as the offensive line failed to hold up against a Bengals’ defensive front missing its best player in tackle Geno Atkins.
And just like the Ponder syndrome that was with us so long ago, Coach Leslie Frazier will be sticking with Cassel despite his lackluster performance for the Detroit Lions game on December 29th.
Let’s hope that the final game in the Metrodome is memorable for all the right reasons.