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With the offensive line struggling in pass protection, do you think that moving the pocket by doing more bootlegs would give Teddy Bridgewater enough time to hit our receivers on more deep and intermediate routes? -- Brandan L. Fargo, ND
The Vikings pass protection issues are not only the responsibility of the offensive line; running backs and tight ends must do better in pass protection, receivers must do a better job of getting open, and Bridgewater must do better at getting the ball out in time. With that said, moving the pocket is one method the Vikings could use to avoid giving up sacks, especially given Bridgewater's mobility. But I don't feel it's something upon which the Vikings should lean heavily. When you move the pocket by having the quarterback bootleg, you are minimizing how much of the field you can attack. If the quarterback bootlegs to his right, it's not wise to ask him to throw across his body to the middle and left side of the field.
Are you pleased by the performance of Teddy Bridgewater in his first three starts? Do you think he's the answer at quarterback for us? -- Steven U.
There's no doubt that Bridgewater can and must improve from what we've seen in his first three starts. But there's also no doubt in my mind that Bridgewater is the answer for the Vikings at quarterback. I believe he is going to be a special player in this League for a long time and I believe he will be that right here in Minnesota. I love his demeanor during the week at practice and after both wins and losses. I love his combination of arm talent, athleticism and awareness. And I love that he is a natural leader who has the confidence of his coaches and teammates.
I know the losses are hard to take and the interceptions are discouraging, but I also know that it's hard to play quarterback at this level and I also know that Bridgewater has faced two very good defenses the last two weeks, so it's not a surprise to see a rookie quarterback struggle. I don't mean to put comparisons on Bridgewater, but let's remember that even the greatest quarterbacks in history went through the struggles. Peyton Manning, as one example, threw 28 interceptions his rookie season. Drew Brees threw more interceptions than touchdowns in his first two seasons as a full-time starter.
View images from the week seven matchup at Ralph Wilson Stadium between the Vikings and Bills.
4th and 20. I could care less about any other play in that game...that can't happen. Period. -- Chris M. @cmart624
The 24-yard completion from Kyle Orton to Scott Chandler on 4th and 20 is a play this team and its fans will probably not forget for the duration of the 2014 season. I understand it was as frustrating a moment as there's been to this point. But this game did not come down to that one play, or to any one play or moment. The Vikings had opportunities before and after that play, in all phases of the game, to seal a win. They just didn't make enough plays or make a play at the right time to earn the win. The offense had two 4th-quarter drives where a touchdown on either possession would've sealed the game. The special teams group wasn't able to pin the Bills deep inside their own territory on a late punt, and the defense allowed conversions on 3rd and 17 and 2nd and 20 along with the 4th and 20 on the last drive.
What do you think about the fact that Sammy Watkins was the only one getting the ball thrown to him and we didn't cover him at the end? -- Pearson @MvikingN
Watkins did have 14 targets in the game, which was more than twice the amount of anyone else on the Bills offense, and he also had team-highs in receptions (nine), yards (122) and touchdowns (two). But Watkins is a very good player and I'm not surprised the Bills targeted him as much as they did nor am I surprised he found a way to be productive with that many targets. At the end of the day, it's hard for me to pin this loss on the way the Vikings defense handled Watkins. The Vikings forced four turnovers, sacked Orton six times and held Buffalo's running game to 65 yards on 18 carries outside of the 53-yard run by CJ Spiller.
Obviously a brutal loss for the Vikings, extremely tough to watch. But it's obvious that Mike Zimmer has this team on the right track. If you see Zimmer, or any of the coaches/management personnel, please tell them that Vikings fans are proud of the way that this team fought on Sunday. Skol Vikes! -- Kevin C. Bozeman, MT
I appreciate the optimism and agree that it's clear this team has determination and heart. It can be hard to recognize that in the face of disappointing performances and gut-wrenching losses, but there are improvements upon which this team can build.
Here are a few other positives from Sunday's loss:
-- The Vikings defensive front four is playing well and on Sunday was responsible for all six of the team's sacks.
-- Rookie LB Anthony Barr had another outstanding game. He was unofficially credited with 10 tackles, with one of those tackles coming for a loss, and he also had a pass defensed and two fumble recoveries.
-- Blair Walsh hit from 55 yards and added three more touchbacks to his season total. The Vikings have seven field goals of 55+ yards in team history, and Walsh has five of them.
-- Jerick McKinnon rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries and did so against the best run defense in the NFL. Credit also goes to reserves Joe Berger at center and Mike Harris at right guard for their performance while filling in for John Sullivan (concussion) and Vladimir Ducasse (leg).
-- The Vikings defense held Buffalo to four of 12 (33%) on 3rd downs, the third game in a row in which the defense was good on 3rd downs.
-- Bridgewater found ways to get Greg Jennings involved; he had six receptions for 77 yards, including two clutch grabs for 38 yards on a 3rd and 7 and 13 yards on a 3rd and 9.
-- Jarius Wright flashed once again, catching four passes for 60 yards, including a big 28-yard hookup with Bridgewater on a 3rd and 18 at a critical juncture of the game.