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Vikings' offensive problems not just on McNabb

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Posted Sept. 12, 2011 @ 5:06 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Donovan McNabb called his performance "embarrassing" and lamented the fact that he couldn't do anything in the Vikings' 24-17 loss to the Chargers on Sunday, passing for a mere 39 yards.

"I could do that in a series," McNabb said. "That is embarrassing for me with the players that we have."

But the players they have were just as much to blame for the Vikings' failures. Head coach Leslie Frazier was right when he said, postgame, "In losses like this, it is never about one player."

The PFW Spin

The way this game played out was hard to believe. Percy Harvin took back the opening kickoff 103 yards for a score. Adrian Peterson ran hard and had a 46-yard rumble to set up a Michael Jenkins TD catch. The defense schemed well and played well, holding the Chargers to seven points in the first half. Few teams take the Chargers out of what they do so very well, but the Vikings were doing that.

Said one NFL scout, who watched the Vikings' Week One performance, "Where were the tight ends? They used them creatively in the preseason; that's one of their best assets," he said. "They were out there, (they) just didn't do anything. I would scrap the 'Wildcat' stuff with (Joe) Webb. The offensive line doesn't look good at all. That's a bad group right now. There's a reason (OLT) Charlie Johnson was on the street before.

"I don't know, it's just a lot of things there, not just McNabb."

The team's first pffensive play of the game, which resulted in a a sprawling interception by Chargers OLB Shaun Phillips, can be put squarely on the quarterback's head, however. He stared down the quick toss and threw it right into the waiting arms of Phillips. On a called run, McNabb saw the eighth defender in the box and audibled to the quick pass; it was bad execution.

Several times throughout the game, however, the offensive line failed McNabb and the rest of the offense. Even though Peterson was picking his way through and making some strong runs, the line was getting pushed around routinely. On the game, the offense totaled only two plays longer than 14 yards and only seven plays longer than eight yards.

The pro scout did add that McNabb looked "slow as mud" and was "grinding his gears" going through his progressions and pulling the trigger on a few throws and that "he didn't look sharp at all" in the second half, in which he was 1-for-6 passing for two yards. The Vikings were outgained 234-26 after halftime.

TEs Visanthe Shiancoe and Kyle Rudolph, the latter of whom was busy in the preseason, barely showed up despite being on the field a good deal — each was targeted once with zero catches. Neither did WR Bernard Berrian, who couldn't come up with an underthrown deep ball on his only appearance on tape of the day. Oh, and McNabb was hit on that throw.

Right now, the offense appears severely hindered in both its lack of pop and its lack of punch at the line, and behind it. McNabb did look slow and ineffective, but he hardly was the only one.

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