Even when the Vikings secondary doesn't give up a lot of yards, it's still awful


We hate to be harsh, but watching big passing plays week in and week out by Viking opponents can get old.

This week is the most glaringly obvious its been all year.

Why this week when seemingly every game Minnesota is getting bombs dropped on them through the air attack?

Glad you asked.

There's two ways this can be answered, but we'll start with the fact-based statistical argument. Don't worry, these stats aren't complicated, because we're not smart enough to analyze the really complicated ones.

Look at this week's opponent, the Carolina Panthers.

They came into this week 30th in the league in passing, their six passing touchdowns were just three more than Jacksonville for worst in the league, and Cam Newton threw three interceptions to zero touchdowns last week. He also has failed to break the daunting seven-point barrier twice this year.

Today, he was 20-26 for 242 yards and three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Watching the game and looking at the stats when this came was semi-close (through the first half), it seemed the Vikings were doing one thing well in their pass defense: limiting big plays.

Minnesota had given up 326 yards per game through the air coming into Sunday, fourth-worst in the league, so to hold a team to 242 through the air, on paper, should be considered a success.

But it wasn't, because just 1:04 into the second half, Brandon Lafell got free down the near sideline for a 79-yard touchdown, a play on which Xavier Rhodes left Lafell all alone on the outside to follow a receiver cutting inside. When Rhodes tried to come back and make the tackle, he got blown up by Ted Ginn on a blindside block. Josh Robinson originally had Lafell in coverage, and sagged 10 yards behind him, thinking he had help over the top. Postgame, Leslie Frazier said everyone was in the right coverage, they just didn't cover their assignments well.

With that play, Minnesota instantly erased any good things they were doing in pass defense, and made things colossally worse, by turning the only thing they looked like they were doing well (limiting Newton to the underneath game) into a complete mirage, only showing that it was just circumstance that a receiver hadn't gotten deep on a confused and depleted secondary.

Rhodes and Robinson blew the big assignment, Robinson has repeatedly shown why he was a cornerback at FBS Central Florida rather than a legitimate football school, and the only productive member of the secondary, safety Harrison Smith, has turf toe and is due for an MRI tomorrow.

Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, and soon-to-be starter Josh Freeman aren't the sole reason this team has, and will lose football games. They're average quarterbacks behind a bad offensive line, a bad combination.

The single worst unit on this football team is the secondary, and even when they manage to do something that appears to be right, its just exposed as circumstantial evidence of why they continue to be wrong.

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