It's ugly, and it might only get worse before things improve. The quarterback situation with the Vikings may get the headline on a week to week basis, but the defense is a hot mess. The Carolina Panthers were able to do anything they wanted to in their 35 - 10 win at Mall of America Field.
After intercepting Matt Cassel on the Vikings first drive, the Panthers set the tone for the game with a 15 play drive that eclipsed nine minutes of the first quarter clock. On that drive, Jamarca Sanford had a sure interception fall in and out of his hands, then on a third down play after stopping the Panthers, Chris Cook was flagged for a penalty that gave the Panthers a first down.
Cassel, who was named the starting quarterback even after Christian Ponder was deemed healthy couldn't get the offense started and the Vikings offense were only able to muster 10 points and a total of 290 yards (89 of which came on the final drive). The lone touchdown came on that 11-play drive when Cassel hit Rudolph for his eighth catch of the game.
Adrian Peterson, who played days after the death of his son was unable to find much room and finished the game with just 62 yards on 10 carries.
Injuries also are beginning to take their tole as well. Linebacker Desmond Bishop left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury, and safety Harison Smith exited with a foot injury. Some frustrated fans hit the exits in the third quarter after Carolina quarterback Cam Newton scampered 10 yards for a touchdown making the score 28-3 and dashing any remaining playoff hopes and sending the Vikings to 1-4.
The Vikings travel to New York to face the winless Giants on Monday night football.