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Vikings vs. Bears: Minnesota Slips Back into Terrible Habits in Division Loss

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 25: Corey Wootton #98 of the Chicago Bears attempts to sack Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on November 25, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2012

The Minnesota Vikings did not play well on Sunday.

Well, check that—Adrian Peterson and Jarius Wright played well.

What about the defense, quarterback and receivers?

To call them under-performers would be an understatement.

Slipping back to bad habits, the Vikings defense had problems wrapping up on tackles and specifically containing the backfield duo of Matt Forte and Michael Bush.

While they were able to keep Brandon Marshall out of the end zone, he still caught way too many balls and was only a few yards shy of 100 on the day. While only Marshall and Earl Bennett caught more than one ball, Jay Cutler was able to spread the ball around to a ton of receivers and move the chains almost at will.

This team has been up and down all season, and that inconsistency showed up on the wrong week. You don't want to show up small against a division foe when you have hopes of making the playoffs but they managed to this week.

The poster boy for this streakiness is quarterback Christian Ponder. Forget the stats, which weren't awful, and focus on the fact that he continues to look uncomfortable under pressure and bails from the pocket far too frequently.

He needs to settle down, stay in the pocket longer and not ditch at the first sign of trouble.

It would help if offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave would try to call routes longer than three yards. I called for some short passes, but there's short and then there's short.

Wright made some nice catches, but when every one of them is short, it's not helping that much. Ponder looked for Kyle Rudolph on a few longer passes, but for the most part he was well-covered or the throws were off.

Ponder needs to show some fresh strides forward in this last stretch of the season.

Of course, the season isn't over yet—the Vikings play the Bears again at home and the Packers twice so they could steal the division—but they can't afford another game like this one.

Heading to Lambeau Field next week is a tough draw, but they'll have to find a way to overcome the problems on display this week.

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Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.

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