Penalties + injury + interception = Vikings loss to Jets

By sara.marsh

[picappgallerysingle id=”7649901″]It’s true; the Minnesota Vikings have started 1-3 now that they lost last night to the New York Jets as a result of all their penalties, one big injury (Cedric Griffin), and a Brett Favre interception.

But there’s also serious reason for Vikings fans to hope – the Vikings played very, very well late in the third quarter and into the fourth, racking up three touchdowns against one of the top three or four defenses in the NFL.

Late in the third quarter, the offensive line started blocking, and suddenly, Randy Moss was catching passes and Adrian Peterson was plowing down the field. Brett Favre looked very uneven, very up-and-down – until he missed Percy Harvin on a wide-open route, and until Favre’s game-ending interception with less than two minutes to go in the fourth. Then Favre just looked down.

I said a Vikings win against the Jets would depend on the offensive line blocking, and it did – the Vikings were right back in it when the offensive line stepped up. But it was too late; the defense was tired – they’d been on the field the entire first half and most of the third quarter, and invaluable cornerback Cedric Griffin went down with a knee injury.

Cedric Griffin’s injury was the game-changer, because Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez wisely targeted whichever receiver was being covered by Griffin’s replacement, young Asher Allen, and squeezed the ball in to that receiver every time. Only after Griffin left the game were the Jets able to score their first touchdown; the Vikings held them to four field goals or punts on all their previous drives.

That’s why I say the Minnesota Vikings have a championship defense.

The Vikings offense is not – they had so many penalties that it was frustrating to watch. If not for Vikings penalties and Cedric Griffin’s knee injury in the fourth quarter, the Vikings would have beat the Jets for sure. Favre’s interception is the easiest thing to blame, and it ended the game, but I’m not sure he’d have felt forced to throw it if those other two things hadn’t been working so hard against the Vikings.

So, the Vikings go 1-3 with a tight 29-20 loss to the Jets, but I see reason to hope. I think the offense will gel much earlier in the next game (if the offensive line blocks, of course). Remember, Randy Moss has only been around for a couple of days, and while he looked terrific, Moss couldn’t do things like the two-minute drill because he doesn’t know it yet. Moss sure had a positive effect on Percy Harvin, though – wow. Love it.

Keep your chins up, Vikings fans. I think we’re about to see a big change of fortune starting next week against Dallas.

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