Coach Leslie Frazier’s Vikings were undone by penalties and defensive lapses in their 23-20 loss to the Colts on Sunday. (US Presswire)

In a winnable game against the worst team from 2011, the Vikings committed 11 penalties for 105 yards, forcing them to scramble late in the game to tie it. The defense couldn’t hold the Colts and gave up a last-second field goal for the loss. The Vikings made the Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck look like John Elway in his best fourth-quarter comeback, and the loss snuffed out any confidence the Vikings built up after their overtime win in Week 1.

Offense: D+

QB Christian Ponder had good numbers (27 of 35 for 245 yards and two touchdowns—114.6 rating) but his success came in the very conventional, game-manager-style, short-passing game in which Percy Harvin made up all the yardage after the catch. The unit looked good in the fourth quarter when they opened things up, but for the previous 3.5 quarters Ponder fumbled, players committed penalties and receivers could not get separation—all killing drives. Early on, when the Vikings did move the ball, they could only get to the Red Zone and kick field goals. Those early failures came back to haunt them.

Defense: D+

The defense gave up the big plays (CB Antoine Winfield got turned around on a long pass play to set up a touchdown and LB Erin Henderson was beat for a score right before halftime) and when they needed to stop the Colts in the last 31 seconds to force overtime, they allowed Luck to march up the field and set up the winning field goal. Penalties were a problem here also, with DE Jared Allen’s unnecessary hit out of bounds on Luck the most glaring. Luck was stopped for a loss, which would have forced a punt but Allen dove at him, knocked him over and kept the Colts moving toward a 20-6 lead. With three starting lineman missing from the Colts offensive line, the Vikings defensive front seven should have had a field day but could muster only twosacks of the rookie in his second game.

Special teams: C-

Special teams started out well with K Blair Walsh tying a Vikings record by hitting a 50-yard plus field goal (51 yards) in two consecutive games, and kicking the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs. But sub-par punting by Chris Kluwe and then a roughing the kicker penalty on a Colts punt that kept a scoring drive alive, turned the unit in the wrong direction. Punt returner Marcus Sherels’ decision to take a long kickoff out of the end zone also proved costly, and contributed to the unit’s poor grade.

Coaching: C-

Players play andcoaches coach, but when your team has an across-the-board breakdown in discipline--from the seasoned vets (Allen’s penalty) to the rookies (LT Matt Kalil, hitting a player well after and away from the play)--at some point it falls at the feet of the coaches. In addition, the schemes that didn’t exploit a debilitated offensive line of the Colts, or find running room without two Colts starting linebackers (including Dwight Freeney) in the game, appeared to belacking. Finally, where the offensive coaches were just last season not getting the ball in Harvin’s hands enough, they must now find ways to get other receivers involved. This weekend the 49ers will likely take Harvin out of the game and things could get ugly fast if no one else can get open.

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