Philadelphia, better known as the City of Brotherly Love, was a rude host to the Vikings. Minnesota, the NFL’s then-only unbeaten team at 5-0, ran into the fired-up Eagles and were exposed for all to see.
For the ninth time in Vikings history, they started on a road to a perfect season: 1973, 9-0; 1974, 5-0; 1975, 10-0; 1996, 4-0; 1998, 7-0; 2000, 7-0; 2003, 6-0; 2009, 6-0.
The greatest seasons in Vikings history resulted from those great starts. In 1973’s Super Bowl VIII it was Miami 24, Vikings 7. In 1974’s Super Bowl 9 Pittsburgh 16-Vikings 6.
In the 1998 NFC Championship it was Atlanta 30, Vikings 27. In the 2000 NFC Championship it was New York 41, Vikings 0, and in 2009 it was New Orleans 31, Vikings 28. In 2016…?
Until Sunday in Philadelphia the Vikings were 5-0 and had no losses and zero turnovers. Sunday they had four turnovers, and quarterback Sam Bradford, on his return to Philadelphia, was sacked six times. He fumbled four times and had three turnovers.
The Vikings special teams were awful, including allowing a 98-yard touchdown return by the Eagles’ Josh Huff. Marcus Sherels fumbled away a punt. Harrison Smith’s roughing penalty led to a two-point Eagles conversion.
The Eagles and Vikings were a part of NFL history, however, with the league’s first-ever 11-3 halftime score.
Maybe the bye week distractions and news of DWIs by Coach George Edwards or the DWI by the released development roster player contributed.
The Vikings’ resolve and focus were definitely missing. In the NFL it does not take much. “It was…embarrassing, really,” said Mike Zimmer, “the offense and special teams. I’m very disappointed in the performance in this game today. If you’re going to do those things, you have no chance to win.”
Or did having a patched-up offensive line, losing both starting tackles and the league’s 30th-ranked offense and league-worst 32nd-ranked running game, catch up to them?
“We need to do a better job,” Zimmer said. “We’re not going to go down the street and pick up a bunch of guys. We need to get these guys better, and we need to do it quickly.”
After Sunday’s 21-10 defeat, the Vikings (5-1) travel to Chicago next week. It’s Monday Night Football against the Bears.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.