Found January 02, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
The Minnesota Vikings failed to secure their fourth win of the 2011 season on Sunday, losing 17-13 to the Chicago Bears. Poor grades come with another disappointing outing, mirroring the season-long inefficiencies.At one point or another, Minnesota has suffered letdowns in every facet. Sunday was no different and the grades reflect the inconsistency. Running offense: CWhile Toby Gerhart was in the game, the Vikings were having success running the ball. Gerhart had 15 carries for 67 yards. Percy Harvin added a rushing touchdown. But after Gerhart left with a knee injury, Minnesota became one-dimensional and backup quarterback Joe Webb wasn't able to provide a threat once he entered the game in place of injured starter Christian Ponder. In all, the Vikings ran the ball at a 2.9 yards-per-carry average. Webb had four carries for two yards. Gerhart's backup, Lorenzo Booker, had two rushes for minus-3 yards.Passing offense: DPonder started strong in his final start of his rookie season, but started missing receivers and left the game in the first half after aggravating his hip pointer injury. Minnesota still doesn't really know what to expect of Ponder at this point. He finished 4 for 10 passing for only 28 yards on Sunday and his pass behind Gerhart, went off the back's hands and ended up in an interception return for Chicago. Webb relieved Ponder after the injury and gave the Vikings a spark, but then the Bears adjusted. Webb finished 17 for 32 for 200 yards and threw three interceptions. Three times he drove the offense deep into Chicago territory before settling for field goal attempts, only one of which was converted.Run defense: BMinnesota's run defense held the Bears under 100 yards (92 yards total) and 3.7 yards per carry. Chicago starter Kahlil Bell didn't provide much, finishing with 17 carries for 54 yards. Quarterback Josh McCown had 30 yards rushing, 28 coming on one play. Even when the Bears tried to run out the clock and limit Jared Allen's impact by running the ball late in the game, they didn't have much success.Pass defense: BAllen's game became the focus for Minnesota and its fans in the second half as he chased Michael Strahan's single-season sack record. Allen finished with 3.5 sacks, setting the Vikings single-season record with 22, but fell short of the NFL record. Minnesota sacked McCown seven times and cornerback Cedric Griffin came up with big interception in the fourth quarter. McCown was 15 for 25 for just 160 yards, but did find receiver Roy Williams wide open for a touchdown. Running or passing, the Bears offense was a shell of its former self without starting quarterback Jay Cutler and starting running back Matt Forte out with injuries allowing Minnesota to have one of its better defensive performances of the season.Special teams: DDevin Hester has been a problem for the Vikings ever since entering the league. However, Minnesota's beleaguered coverage teams actually contained the explosive returner. The Vikings' biggest problem Sunday was the kicking unit. Long snapper Matt Katula had a tough time while filling in for the injured Cullen Loeffler. Kicker Ryan Longwell had one kick blocked and couldn't get another attempt off after holder Chris Kluwe couldn't get one of Katula's bad snaps down in time.Overall: DAnother bad loss in a season full of them left Minnesota equaling the franchise record for losses in a season. Allen's chase of the sack record provided some temporary excitement on Sunday but it was all the drama that was left in the season. Now changes are coming for Minnesota. Too many inconsistent, poor performances have opened the door for nearly every aspect of the team to be evaluated. Coach Leslie Frazier will likely return and get a chance to turn things around. Not many other players and coaches have the same assurances and Sunday's loss was another example of why every facet needs to be evaluated.
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