Found October 26, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS Jared Allen stood near his locker, a nasty gash across his nose from having his helmet pushed off during Thursday's game, looking every bit like he took the full brunt of a punishing fight. Allen talked about a complete defensive letdown the likes of which Minnesota hadn't had this season. He gave credit to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Thursday's 36-17 win and setting the tone by running the ball at the Vikings' once-proud run-defense. "Hats off to them, they came in here and kicked our butts," Allen said. "Just top to bottom, I don't know if we overlooked them or not, but it's an embarrassing game for us." Minnesota's defense, which keyed the team's surprising start, had been shredded by little-known rookie running back Doug Martin. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman hit just enough big passes, especially on third downs, to leave the Vikings (5-3) scratching their heads for answers into a long break following the Thursday night game, the only scheduled national TV appearance for them this season. The Buccaneers, who had two of the top-10 offensive-yardage performances in team history the past two weeks, added 416 yards against Minnesota's ninth-ranked defense, the most yards allowed by the Vikings this season. Minnesota entered Thursday allowing 319.7 yards-per-game and 18.3 points-per-game. Martin, the 5-foot-9, 215-pound rookie back selected in the first round in April, was the one doling out the punishment Thursday with 29 carries for 135 yards and added an explosive 64-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass. The Vikings, who were once ranked in the top five in run-defense, have allowed Martin and Arizona's LaRod Stephens-Howling to each surpass 100 yards rushing in back-to-back games and left defenders on the ground from missed tackle after missed tackle. The Buccaneers (3-4) ran for 159 total yards Thursday. "These little backs are killing us," Minnesota defensive end Brian Robison said. "I mean, short stature, I don't know if guys are trying to tackle high and getting stiff-armed or what it is. We have to look at the film obviously. Last two weeks is not where we want to be in the run game, not where we've been this year, just not pretty, not pretty football at all." The inability to corral Martin kept Allen and Robison from doing what they do best get after the quarterback. And Freeman was calm in the pocket, finishing 19 of 36 for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He was sacked once and was on point as Tampa Bay finished off Minnesota with a 16-play, 87-yard drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run for Martin with just over seven minutes left in the game. Freeman was 4 of 5 on the drive, connecting on all of his four third-down passes as the Buccaneers were 5 of 5 on third-downs. Road teams were the ones that had struggled on Thursday nights this season. Minnesota was the lethargic team this Thursday. This wasn't the physical, aggressive Vikings' defense that led the team to a three-game winning streak earlier this season when Minnesota tackled everything in sight and played its own punishing brand of defensive football. Instead, the Vikings came out of Thursday bloodied and overwhelmed. "Bottom line is they did a good job of pretty much beating our brains in," Robison said. The Vikings' defense was put in bad spots early on Thursday as Tampa Bay's first three-scoring drives all started from the Buccaneers 42-yard line or in Vikings' territory following two poor punts and a turnover. Allen, the defensive star, tried to resurrect Minnesota late in the third quarter. After an altercation with Tampa Bay left tackle Donald Penn that left Allen bloodied and fired up, Allen followed through with a sack and the Metrodome was as loud as it's been since 2009. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the emotion and motivation didn't come three quarters earlier. And after Allen's sack, which was his seventh in six games, Minnesota's offense ended up with yet another three-and-out, sapping the energy out of the home crowd. "You think, 'Alright, here we go. We got some momentum on our side,' " Allen said. "And then something happens. Credit them. They weathered our storms." Now the Vikings try to weather their biggest storm of the season, losses in two of the last three weeks, surrendering the most yardage and second-most points all season with four extra days to think about Thursday's loss. "It's just bad fundamental football from top to bottom," Allen said. "There's not one person that's responsible for this. Everybody will own it, get better, tighten the ship up and we'll get back to work." Said linebacker Chad Greenway: "You can't panic." But you sure can wonder which Vikings team will show up on Nov. 4 when it travels to Seattle the tough, defensive-led squad that racked up three quality wins earlier this season, or the team that hasn't been able to gain rhythm, offensively or defensively, in the past three weeks. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

The Vikings are one of the biggest surprises of the season. But how long will it last? A look at their remaining schedule and the NFC North.

The Vikings started off fast and surprised everyone.  I never bought into Ponder as a QB and I think he's coming back to earth.  They still play solid defense, have AP and can throw a little.  The problem is, their schedule gets a lot harder from here on out. Here's a look at their remaining schedule, predictions and a look at their division. @ Seattle - The...

Frazier: Ponder is starting QB, barring injury

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. With quarterback Christian Ponder's confidence looking shaky, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier reiterated his full confidence in his second-year starter on Friday. Coming off another shaky outing from Ponder (19 of 35 passing for 251 yards, one touchdown, one interception and three sacks) in Thursday's 36-17 loss at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers...

Vikings' QB situation something to Ponder

MINNEAPOLIS The boobirds started early. It was barely three minutes into the Thursday Night Football game at the Mall of America Field, and the Minnesota Vikings the 5-2 Vikings, nipping at the heels of the Chicago Bears in the NFC North, getting plenty of votes as the NFL's biggest 2012 surprise were already stinking it up. Their offense had a quick three-and-out to start...

Cook to have surgery on broken arm

Vikings cornerback Chris Cook will need surgery on his broken right arm and will be out seven or eight weeks. Coach Leslie Frazier said Friday that the team is planning to place Cook on revocable injured reserve following his injury Thursday night during a loss to Tampa Bay. Cook could be out for the remainder of the regular season. But the Vikings (5-3) are holding out hope he...

Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson Silences His Critics

I heard a lot of chatter last season when Vikings star running back went down with an ACL injury that he would never be the same player again. After all, this was a pretty devastating injury to a guy who relies on explosion as much as he does. Having to basically have his knee completely reconstructed, some even predicted he wouldn’t even be ready to go when the 2012 season...

Defensive ends call for ‘ownership’ of loss

Defensive ends Jared Allen and Brian Robison called for the Vikings to learn from the loss and not run from it, but did the Vikings get over-confident?

Vikings will try to avoid letting loss linger

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. The benefit for the Minnesota Vikings, at least initially, of playing on a short week as part of Thursday Night Football this week was an extra bit of rest before they travel to face the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 4.Minnesota hoped to have the extended break to heal, rest and prepare for a crucial second half of the schedule, loaded with tough games, road games...

Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Minnesota Vikings: Three Bold Predictions

Every year is full of surprising teams, some young, some otherwise.In 2010, the Bucs were that team, going 10-6.  Since then, they are 6-16, completely failing to repeat their success.  Freeman hasn’t been the QB he was in his sophomore year, and the team is trying to rebuild after firing their head coach.Meanwhile, the Vikings were worse than the Bucs with an abysmal 3-13 record...

Minnesota Vikings: Week 8 NFL Power Rankings (#10)

Last week: 11 (+1) Record: 5-2 The Vikings’ game last week was pretty boring, but since they’re playing tomorrow night in this week’s Thursday Night game, I’d like to take this opportunity to rant about Thursday Night Football. I hate it. One, it screws up my whole schedule. I like football and writing about football [...]

NFC North: The Vikings Turn to Play in Prime Time

The Minnesota Vikings take a rare turn in the spotlight to kick off Week 8 while the Bears look to keep hold on their division lead.

Bucs vs. Vikings: PJD's Masturbatory Game Eight Preview

Show No Mercy, Percy: Hey guys, welcome to a Thursday night, kind-of prime time game day/evening. I say kind of, because not everyone has the NFL Network, where this game is being shown on across the country. So unless you live in Minnesota or Tampa Bay (and really, who would want to live in either of those frozen poop stains or sweaty under cheese locations?!), it's not a guarantee...

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings: Hero and Zero of the Game

The Minnesota Vikings were flying high with a 5-2 record coming in to their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Undefeated at home, and looking like the real deal so far this year, most people probably had their Vegas bets in favor of a Minnesota win.Well, that's why they play the game. Tampa Bay came in, wreaked havoc on the Vikings, and ran through Minnesota for a 36-17...

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Prediction

Two NFC foes with drastically different 2012 results will meet on Thursday Night Football, when the Minnesota Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers...

Week 8: Bucs-Vikings capsule

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) at Minnesota Vikings (5-2)Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network, Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex FlanaganBodog.net line:Sagarin difference: Last meeting: The Buccaneers rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit to beat the Vikings 24-20. RB LeGarrette Blount barreled in for a 4-yard TD with 31 seconds left. Streaking: The Buccaneers have won five straight...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.