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VIKINGS: 2-7 team has to 'move on from Green Bay' loss, Frazier says

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier entered the season with hopes of making December games meaningful. Another humbling loss on prime-time television has reduced the Vikings' goals to something more manageable: picking up the pieces ...

Leslie Frazier
Minnesota Vikings' head coach Leslie Frazier on the sidelines against the Washington Redskins in second half action at FedExField in Landover, Maryland, Sunday, November 28, 2010. (Pioneer Press: Chris Polydoroff)

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier entered the season with hopes of making December games meaningful.

Another humbling loss on prime-time television has reduced the Vikings' goals to something more manageable: picking up the pieces in time to play a respectable game Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at the Metrodome.

Keeping the locker room engaged means walking away from the embarrassing 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night.

"In our business, it is so, so important to put a loss behind you; otherwise it becomes an extended problem," Frazier said Tuesday. "And we have to be able to move on from Green Bay. As painful as it was, we have another game this Sunday that we need to win at home. We need to play a lot better than we did on Monday night, and if we are moping about last night, we will have problems when we line up on Sunday."

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The Vikings entered the bye week coming off improved play in a six-point loss to Green Bay on Oct. 23 and a 24-21 win over Carolina on Oct. 30.

But the Packers exposed them for what they really are -- a 2-7 team struggling for answers.

Save Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson, the Vikings are having a hard time finding consistent playmakers.

Despite rookie quarterback Christian Ponder's promising start, his 69.8 passer rating after Monday's 16-of-34 performance ranks him ahead of only Indianapolis' Curtis Painter (67.4), Washington's Rex Grossman (65.3) and Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert (63.6).

Defensive end Brian Robison took to Twitter on Monday to vent his frustration.

"For all those wondering, we have not quit," Robison wrote on his Twitter account, @Brian_Robison. "Credit to the pack, there's a reason they're undefeated. That's no excuse for how we played...

"Myself included. We have to get better. I'm starting to by taking a good critical look inside of myself. Time to go and put it on the line."

Frazier is taking Robison's advice, saying "no question" the coaches deserve blame for the Vikings' place at the bottom of the NFC North.

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Everything should be evaluated after the franchise's worst loss in 27 years against the Packers.

But Frazier isn't ready to pinpoint which of his coaching tactics aren't resonating with players. When the Vikings correct one area, several blemishes seem to surface elsewhere, he said.

One example: The Vikings' defense prevented deep downfield gains against the Packers -- quarterback Aaron Rodgers averaged 8.33 yards per passing attempt -- but Randall Cobb ripped through the special-teams coverage unit for an 80-yard punt return touchdown.

"The penalties were coming down," Frazier said. "This is the first time we've had double-digit penalties in probably four, maybe five weeks. And all of a sudden it happens in a big ballgame like that. The third-down conversions on offense, we've been doing a real good job the last two or three weeks. But we did some things in early downs that put us in some bad situations for third downs. Then all of a sudden we were having trouble in the second half sustaining drives. So a number of different things."

The Vikings believed they would give Green Bay a spirited performance after spending the bye week fine-tuning every area.

"Based on last night, you can think it didn't help us a whole lot in what we did in our self-scout," Frazier said. "But we got some other games to play, and we'll see how things go going forward."

Five of the Vikings' last seven opponents have winning records, including the Raiders (5-4), the Falcons (5-4) on Nov. 27, the Lions (6-3) on Dec. 11, the Saints (7-3) on Dec. 18 and the Bears (6-3) on Jan. 1.

A 5-11 finish would be optimistic for the Vikings, who also have the 4-5 Broncos on Dec. 4 and 3-6 Redskins on Christmas Eve on the schedule.

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Only spirited performances will help the Vikings moving forward.

"I think I know the character of our guys pretty good," Frazier said. "I think they'll battle through this and we'll have to talk about some things tomorrow."

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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