Found September 17, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier seems prepared for his team to play many games this season the way the first two weeks have unfolded, with games being decided in the final two minutes.Late-game offense pushed the Vikings to a win in the opener and a tie on Sunday with 31 seconds left. Fraziers concern is how the defense has handled the two-minute situations."We're not doing very well right now in two-minutes, the two minutes before the half, the two minutes at the end of the game," Frazier said. "That's glaring. We've got to do better. The way our team is built, we're going to play a lot of close games."Following Christian Ponder's touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph with 31 seconds left Sunday, Minnesota felt it was headed to overtime for the second straight week.All the defense had to do was keep the Indianapolis Colts and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck out of field-goal range for Adam Vinatieri. Three plays later, the Vikings were left to hope that Vinatieri, who has a history of clutch kicks, would miss a 53-yard field goal. He didn't and Minnesota lost, 23-20.Through two games this season, the Vikings defense has been on the field in two-minute situations three times. Minnesota has surrendered points on each of those possessions, accounting for 18 of the 46 points scored against the defense this season."It's everybody; it can never be on one person," linebacker Chad Greenway said of the breakdowns. "It's team defense. It's been different situations each time, and I think it's important that we look at it that way, too. Just go to work, and we know this week things aren't going to get easier for us. So we've got to shore things up in a hurry. No excuses. No explanations. Go to work and get it right."The Jacksonville Jaguars finished a drive in the final two minutes in Week 1 with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts to take a short-lived, 23-20 lead with 20 seconds left. Jacksonville second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert was 4 of 6 on the drive, accounting for all 76 yards in 58 seconds.Luck looked every bit as polished in the same situations on Sunday.Leading 10-6 with 1 minute, 11 seconds left in the first half, Luck orchestrated a 64-yard drive in which he was 4 of 5 and connected with Reggie Wayne for a 30-yard touchdown with 14 seconds left.Then following Ponders own late-game success, the rookie Luck had his own last-minute drive ready in the fourth quarter. With only 31 seconds on the clock after Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh had started off with a touchback, Luck avoided the pass rush and found receiver Donnie Avery for a 20-yard reception and quickly followed with another 20-yarder to Wayne. Luck completed one more pass, a seven-yarder to Avery, but Indianapolis accepted a five-yard offsides penalty on Everson Griffen."Honestly, I dont know," linebacker Erin Henderson said of the two-minute defense. "Communication areas; I dont know if its the calls that are being made, us just not going out there and executing. Its really hard to put your finger on one specific thing. I feel like there are some plays where it might be one persons fault, next play it might be somebody elses fault. We just got to get it to that point where nobodys to blame for anything because nothing bad is going wrong. Everybodys doing their job and taking care of their assignment and what theyre responsible for, and well go from there."Minnesotas defense is ranked 12th in the league after two weeks in fewest yards allowed and 16th in points. But timing has been critical for the Vikings. Before Lucks final drive on Sunday, Minnesota had allowed the Colts just 42 offensive yards in the second half. Indianapolis finished with just 278 yards of offense and 194 passing.But the two-minute situations have masked any success.Greenway said it was "splitting hairs" looking for positives in a loss. He likened it to early last season when the Vikings would play well in the first half, before surrendering big leads which ended in losses."Well, we did this good and that good," Greenway recalled. "We didnt finish, but we had a really good first half. Well, youre losing, so it doesnt really matter. At the end of the year, youre 3-13 and all you have is a bunch of excuses. Were not trying to do that again this year. Were really not. We know were capable of being better, and weve got to get it done, now. We cant wait until, Well, hopefully by Week 6 well figure it out. Well be right back where we were."Harvin victim of "terrible call": Receiver Percy Harvin was not pleased with the offensive pass interference he was charged with early in the fourth quarter, instead believing he was the one interfered with by Colts safety Antoine Bethea."It was a terrible call," Harvin said. "He kind of was shielding me from the ball. I was just trying to get around him to the ball and I dont know what they (saw). But he was shielding me off. So it was bad call, but its all good."Harvin still believed he was interfered with after watching the game film on Monday and believes some of the calls have come from the replacement officials emphasizing certain penalties."Its frustrating because I think there was no offensive pass interferences called the whole preseason so thats kind of what theyve been emphasizing," Harvin said. "It wasnt just our game but a lot of offensive pass interferences called. It just seemed like they were gunning for the offensive pass interferences this week. Its frustrating not knowing exactly what they are looking at but we cant worry about that. We have to adjust to the game and be ready to go from there."Harvin said he never got an explanation on the call, where he and Bethea got tangled up with both looking back for the ball."These guys are going to try to do their best and they are going to make bad calls," Harvin said. "Unfortunately it went against us at a pivotal time of the game. But we cant worry about that.Carlson still missing: Minnesota signed tight end John Carlson to a five-year, 25 million contract in the offseason and he hasnt had a catch through two games. Carlson missed a lot of practice time during training camp and the preseason with a knee injury, but Frazier doesnt think his injury or the time missed is the reason for the lack of production."I don't think it has anything to do with not being up to speed," Frazier said. "He's pretty much where we need him to be right now, it's just a matter of finding an opportunity. We tried some things and it didn't work out yesterday but we're looking for him and we do expect him to be a contributor as we go forward." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.

Vikings on losing side of 'wild ride' this week

After winning 26-23 in overtime in Week 1, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was asked if he was bracing for a "wild ride" this season. Frazier simple answer was, "It could be." Sunday's 23-20 loss at the Indianapolis Colts was another wild ride. Frazier had also talked last week about being ready to play a lot of close games, the importance of finishing...

Christian Ponder: “Football is my girlfriend”

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder is single and plans on keeping things that way.  It looks like there’s only room in his heart for one love right now, and that’s football. “Football is my girlfriend,” Ponder told me last week, when he, ahem, refused to go along with my speculation that the Vikings would put a beating on the Colts. “I’m not saying that,”...

Vikings waive WR Gurley, sign T Kropog

Tori Gurley's stay on the Minnesota Vikings practice squad didn't last long. Just over two weeks after adding the former Green Bay Packers wide receiver, the club announced Tuesday that it had waived Gurley and added offensive tackle Troy Kropog to the practice squad. Gurley, 24, rejected a contract offer on the Vikings active roster last season in order to stay with Green...

Vikings need touchdowns, not field goals

If the Minnesota Vikings have proved one thing through two games this season, their games must be watched until the very end. The game is not over until that final second ticks off the clock. Sunday at Indianapolis looked very similar to last week when Minnesota rallied in the final seconds and won in overtime. The Vikings were on the flip side in Sunday's 23-20 loss to the...

Hurry-up offenses are hurting the Vikings

For all that has gone right for the Minnesota Vikings in the thick of their first two games, their defense has revealed a crucial flaw in those critical closing moments that determine success in the NFL. When the intensity has picked up for the offense on the other side, Minnesota's defense has been glaringly vulnerable to giving up scores. The Vikings were at their worst during...

Vikings' Henderson learns from Wayne score

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. After close games, certain plays can be magnified and Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson was having a hard time letting go of one pivotal play in Sunday's 23-20 loss against the Indianapolis Colts.Henderson was responsible for covering Indianapolis receiver Reggie Wayne down the middle of the field when Wayne got behind the linebacker for a 30-yard...

Special teams lead Vikings in NFL rankings

The Vikings have a number of top-10 rankings in the NFL, and they have been especially strong on special teams. On offense, the leaders are no surprise – Percy Harvin and Christian Ponder. See how the Vikings fared in numerous top- and bottom-10 categories among the NFL rankings.

Up next: Vikings doomed by defensive lapses

For all that has gone right for the Minnesota Vikings in the thick of their first two games, their defense has revealed a crucial flaw in those critical closing moments that determine success in the NFL.

PJD's Game Two Recap: Vikings Gonna Vike

Vikings Gonna Vike: Let's get the bad news out of the way first - The Vikings lost in a total heartbreaker on Sunday afternoon, when they fell 20-23 to the Colts. Not to say that this loss was wholly unpredictable. I mean, we all saw it coming. I was expecting a loss before we even started the game, and even more so, when they were driving for the game tying touchdown...

Week 3: 49ers-Vikings matchup

San Francisco at Minnesota Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minn. - TV: FOX; DirecTV: 706 *TV announcers: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa *Keys to the game: Adrian Peterson said last week that he's about 95 percent of his pre-injury self. The Vikings need every percent they can get against San Francisco's stifling run defense...

Kuharsky's notes on Colts-Vikings

Paul Kuharsky of ESPN says that he loved Luck's pocket presence and mobility during the Vikings matchup, among other notes.  What I liked: Luck is just fantastic on the move, whether it’s a relatively small step up or slide over or a big rollout or run away from pursuit. Obviously he cannot lose 22 yards trying to run out of a late sack and has to surrender at times. But...

Vikings might be ready to increace Adrian Peterson’s work load

Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier has indicated that they believe running back Adrian Peterson might be ready to have his workload increased this week. “We think he’s getting to that point where we can think about a few more carries,” Frazier said, via the Sacramento Bee. “He’s getting close to that point, so we’ll see how he does this week in practice. …...
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
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.