Early in the season, the Vikings had two easily identifiable strengths: the running game led by Adrian Peterson and a pair of defensive ends who could disrupt offensive game plans. Adrian Peterson left Sunday's game with a high ankle sprain. The defensive ends never showed up.
In a matchup of two Jareds playing at a high level, the Raiders' Veldheer dominated the Vikings' Allen from the opening snap to the final whistle. Allen's speed rush was completely neutralized despite the fact that he was matched up one-on-one with Veldheer for most of the game. In the running game, the Raiders' ran at Allen whenever they wanted to with great success. Veldheer sealed Allen to the outside often, creating running creases for Michael Bush to rumble through.
Brian Robison finally broke out of his sack slump with a third-quarter takedown of Palmer, but it was a cheapie because it came when Palmer ran a bootleg right into him. Otherwise, he wasn't strong against the run holding at the point of attack and his pass rush was nonexistent.
Early in the season, Robison and Allen were wreaking havoc on opposing offensive tackles, forcing teams to change their protection schemes to account for the pressure they could bring off the edge. The last few weeks, though, that hasn't been the case. While Allen has piled up the sacks, the consistency hasn't been there. He often seems to luck into a sack, then disappear for the remainder of the game. Robison got his first sack since Week Six.
The Vikings need Allen and Robison to put the opposing quarterback under constant duress, forcing him to be uncomfortable in the pocket to help protect a weak secondary. Otherwise, this season will only get worse.