By John "The Mighty" Quinn
Cold, Hard Football Facts Vikings beat man
Let's be honest, nobody expected the Minnesota Vikings
to be competitive this year in the NFC North. The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship last year and the Detroit Lions have suddenly become relevant. As for the Vikings, they have a new starting quarterback and an entirely new coaching staff. And in Week 1 of the 2011 season they showed that they have a long way to go.
Here are five thing we learned about their 24-17 Week 1 loss to the San Diego Chargers
One: Maybe it's time to page Dr. Ponder.
McNabb's first pass was intercepted after a ill advised tip, and a total of 7 of 15 for 39 yards isn't going to cut it, even in the UFL. If your starting QB can't at least throw for at least 10 yards more than his age, perhaps first round rookie Christian Ponder should be starting next week.
Two: Seriously, 39 passing yards?
We got nothing else to add. Probably the Coldest and Hardest fact of Week 1.
Three: We'll always have the first play of the game.
Percy Harvin took the opening kickoff back 103 yards for a touchdown, showing that he is one of the most explosive players in the league. The rest of the game did not go so well, unfortunately. But at least Harvin cowed the Chargers into special teams submission: later in the fourth quarter, San Diego resorted to a short kick to keep the ball out of Harvin's hands, albeit by the punter after their starting Kicker, Nate Keading went out with an injury.
Four: The Vikings need Antoine!
Antoine Winfield might be over the hill in football terms, but he's still more than effective. His pick at the end of the first half put a bow on a solid defensive half for the Vikings, but can he hold up physically over a full season? Vikings fans can only hope!
Five: Minnesota cracked in the second half.
The Vikings enjoyed a 17-7 lead at halftime, and then were toasted 17-0 in the second half. Minnesota's defense bent, and then broke, on the first drive of the second half, allowing the Chargers to quickly march 69 yards on seven plays for a touchdown. San Diego's Mike Tolbert got low and scored a 7-yard touchdown. The Vikings gave up another fourth quarter touchdown, showing that they don't have what it takes to be a defensive force this year.
The Vikings didn't make any stupid mistakes in the game, but they certainly didn't show that they have what it takes to win games when it counts