The Minnesota Vikings’ four-game stretch to change the fortunes of their season began with a thud on Sunday with a demoralizing 31-27 loss to the Cleveland Browns. This was the game where Minnesota was going to turn things around. They were playing at home against a team who just traded their best offensive player and implemented third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer as their starter.
These factors that were supposed to be in the Vikings’ favor had no impact on the outcome of the game. Hoyer threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns, and despite three interceptions, he led the Browns on a game-winning drive in the final minutes of the game. The Browns’ running game struggled, but the success of their passing attack offset this deficiency.
Turnovers and the lack of a downfield passing attack were the demise of the Vikings once again as Christian Ponder continued to look passive in the pocket, choosing to throw the short pass rather than go for a game-changing play down the field. Adrian Peterson fumbled for the second game in a row and failed to make a major impact after his first quarter touchdown.
There were some positives for the Vikings, but after another last-minute loss, they continued to evade the eyes and minds of Minnesota fans. The next three games remain winnable for the Vikings, but fans’ confidence in the team has diminished significantly. Many people will protest that the Vikings should throw the rest of the season to try and get a high draft pick, but I prefer to follow the other road. One player doesn’t save football teams; this isn’t basketball where a player like LeBron James can change a franchise instantly. Football requires general managers, owners and coaches to build a team, not a one-man band.
No team wants to start their season 0-3, but let’s give this team another chance before we put a stake in their heart.