CHICAGO — We have seen signs all season indicating that the Vikings are not what they used to be. Sunday night in Chicago, before a national television audience in prime time, the Vikings laid an egg.
The Chicago Bears completely outclassed the Vikings 39-10. The Vikings were humiliated and are virtually certain now to finish in last place in the NFC North for the second straight season after falling to 1-5.
For the most part, the Vikings have been a first-half team blowing big (10-17-20) point leads to San Diego, Tampa Bay and Detroit in the second half. Sunday night they were overwhelmed from the opening kickoff.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb was born and raised in Chicago and attended Mt. Carmel High School. McNabb has been the man blamed by fans and media for the Vikings’ failures. McNabb, by his standard, played his best game, completing 19-24 for 177 yards — no touchdowns, no interceptions.
He had passes dropped and his protection was awful. McNabb was sacked five times, once for a safety. Adrian Peterson was held to a season-low 39 yards on 12 attempts.
The Bears did what they wanted to the Vikings. They ran for 119 yards led by Matt Forte with 87 yards and Marion Barber with 32 yards and a touchdown. They threw often and deep; Jay Cutler was 21-31 for 267 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bears led 26-3 at halftime, so there was no drama. This baby was over early. Nothing special about the Vikings special teams unit — they missed a field goal, and Devin Hester returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, his 17th career kick return. Hester is tied for second all-time with Deion Sanders, who had 19.
The Vikings have become the Gophers of the NFC North at 1-5 and losers of 10 of their last 11 games at Chicago. Viking fans, remember when Dennis Green was head coach? Green in his 10-year tenure was 7-3 vs. the Bears in Chicago.
Sunday’s Vikings performance will likely keep them off NBC Sports in prime time in the future. NBC Sunday Night NFL is the number-one-rated program in television — they want competitive games. The Vikings are no longer competitive. The offensive line can’t block, the secondary can’t cover, and the defense can’t stop the run.
Head Coach Leslie Frazier has lost eight of his last 10 games as head coach, and the Bears, his former team, have beaten him 40-14 and 39-10 in Minnesota and Chicago.
It’s a shame, the performance the Vikings gave the world Sunday in Chicago. It does not matter who plays quarterback; the Vikings are playing bad football. The Vikings had no fight; they caved in; they did not bring it.
This is one of the few seasons in which the Vikings are not a factor in the division, and they are being out-coached also. Case in point: the inability to make adjustments in the second half of games. The Vikings have been out-scored in the second half in all six games 100-29. That is not just conditioning.
Sunday, rookie quarterback Christian Ponder was inserted into the game in the fourth quarter, and he did not part the sea. He put no points on the board. However, McNabb has become the scapegoat for some fans. Frazier announced Tuesday he will start Ponder at quarterback Sunday against the World Champion 6-0 Green Bay Packers at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome.
It’s a 3:15 pm kickoff Sunday on FOX. Frazier has yet to win a division game since becoming head coach. In fact, the last time the Vikings played the Packers at home, Brad Childress was fired after the game.
Frazier is 0-4 in division games, and this will be his first shot at the Packers. Good luck…
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2), and you can follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to email@example.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.