The drubbing of the Vikings at the hands of the Bengals 42-14 Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium may not be the worst news to come in the aftermath of the game.
Coach Leslie Frazier's job isn't even on the proverbial hot seat - it is, in fact, cold as a Minnesota December. Even the coach himself isn't sure if he'll be around next week to coach the final game of the season at home against Detroit.
More than that, Adrian Peterson is so banged up even he admits to being hurt, which he never does. And he's half-heartedly backing Frazier.
One ESPN account notes that the loss "could prove fatal to the chances of coach Leslie Frazier keeping his job. Running back Adrian Peterson - who had said on Friday he looked forward to playing for Frazier 'for the rest of my career,' was even more pointed in his support of Frazier on Sunday."
Pro Football Talk says "earlier on Sunday, ESPN reported that Vikings ownership has been telling others around the league that a coaching change is expected. Last week, CBS reported that the Vikings already have contacted Penn State Bill O’Brien; perhaps most tellingly, the Vikings informed PFT earlier this week that the team had no comment in response to the O’Brien report."
"I'm definitely not an individual that's looking for dramatic change," Peterson said to the Pioneer Press after being held to just 45 yards on 11 carries against the Bengals. "So, yeah. it would hurt if (Frazier) leaves."
Fox Sports talks about the horrible day by quarterback Matt Cassel: "Cassel missed several receivers and his passes often floated. He was not sharp in going 5-of-14 passing for 52 yards in the first half. The one positive -- really all game for the passing attack -- was a 36-yard touchdown to Jarius Wright. Turnovers by Cassel helped Cincinnati put the game out of reach early."
Another Fox Sports North piece details defensive woes: Sunday was the 10th time in 15 games Minnesota has allowed more than 400 yards of offense.
Yahoo! Sports says the big winners are Bengals season ticket-holders: "Not only did the Bengals maintain control of their playoff chances with a 42-14 win over Minnesota a week after a putrid performance against Pittsburgh, but Cincy also continued its awesome run of offense at home."
Another Yahoo! Sports piece notes the success of Bengals QB Andy Dalton, who the Vikings passed over in favor of Chrsitian Ponder in 2011 draft: "Dalton became only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons. He has thrown 31 touchdown passes, one behind Carson Palmer's club record from 2005."
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer adds this: "The Vikings had allowed the second-most points in the league heading into the game. They gave up 40 for the third time this season. Two of Cincinnati's touchdowns came off their defense."
Cincinnati.com offers more on the Bengals' explosive offense: "A.J. Green had two touchdowns while Mohamed Sanu and Jermaine Gresham also scored. Green, who has 10 touchdowns on the season, finished with seven receptions for 97 yards."
Another Cincinnati columnist offers a view of the paranoia that strikes many NFL fans: "After the Bengals lost at Pittsburgh last Sunday, the masses were ready to call the season. Those who aren’t fired today, should be cut tomorrow. Everyone else should pack a bag. The pessimism was strange, given the resilient, optimistic way the Bengals have played this year. Maybe it’s a Cincinnati thing, and even those of us who have been here 25 years wouldn’t understand."
OK, OK, enough of the fear and self-loathing on both sides. There is one bright sport, Vikings fans: Cordarelle Patterson.
Patterson had four returns for 143 yards, with a long of 48 yards. He's four yards shy of breaking the franchise record for return yards in a season.
Patterson actually led all ball carriers in yards on Sunday. He had three carries for 54 yards rushing, including a 35-yard touchdown run, taking a toss out of the backfield. He added three catches for eight yards.
He's clearly emerging as a multiple threat that the Vikings need. For next season.