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By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
I used to be able to say that "I haven't seen it all," then I watched the Vikings drop a heartbreaker to the Bears on Sunday afternoon. Any possible way that a team could score a touchdown (or shoot themselves in the foot), the Bears and Vikings did it on Sunday. There was a kickoff returned for a TD, an interception returned for a TD, a fumble returned for a TD, a game winning drive ending with a TD and then every odd play that you could imagine between the goal lines.
At the end of the day it was the Bears walking away victorious with a 31-30 victory over a dejected group of Minnesota Vikings players.
As it did with Adrian Peterson's 78-yard touchdown run the week before, the game got off to a good start for the Vikings when rookie kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kick off 105 yards for a Minnesota Vikings touchdown. The teeter-totter effect of this game would be felt right away as Devin Hester would return the ensuing kickoff 76 yards and to the Vikings 32-yard line.
"We've seen it too many times here," head coach Leslie Frazier said of Hester who had a record day returning kickoffs for 263 total yards. "Too often we put them on short fields."
Also hampering the Vikings in the first-half was the play of their third year quarterback Christian Ponder.
Ponder, who struggled in week one against a suspect Lions defense, came out flat again on Sunday. As the second-quarter wrapped up, Ponder was sitting with a stat line of 6-for-14 passing for 82 yards and an interception that was returned by T. Jennings for a touchdown. Ponder did find a saving grace late in the second-quarter lobbing in a pretty TD pass to Rudolph.
Working with those short fields most of the afternoon, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler lead the Bears into halftime with two touchdowns and clinging to a slim lead. Thanks in part to a Cordarrelle Patterson kick return for TD and a Brian Robison fumble recovery for TD, the Vikings only found themselves down 24-21
The second-half was just as crazy. The normally sure-handed Adrian Peterson lost a "butt-fumble" to the other team after bouncing off of John Carlson's backside. We saw Jarius Wright fumble at the goal line only to have it overturned upon review. And we saw the M.V.P. go over 100 yards, back under and then eclipse the century mark once again ten minutes later.
Amidst all the oddities that plagued this sloppy game, Christian Ponder actually came to play in the second half. It was Ponder who rallied the troops up and down the field if only for field goals, but the effort gave the Vikings a six-point lead with 3:15 seconds to play.
Down by a pair of field goals, Cutler and the Bears didn't flinch. It was three third-down conversions that led the Bears into the redzone with :16 seconds to play. What happened next will surely sting inside the Vikings locker room for weeks to come.
Passing out of the shotgun, Cutler targeted tight end Martellus Bennett who was "loosely" covered by Vikings CB Chris Cook. Bennett made the catch, put a little twist in his step and crossed the goal line tying the game only to have kicker Robbie Gould give the Bears the lead for good.
"It sucks," Vikings defensive end Brian Robison told KFAN after the game. "To be in a position to win a ball game in a place where we haven't won in a while. Bottom line is we came up short."
Coach Frazier had much of the same sentiment directing much of the blame towards himself.
"This ball game comes back to me," Frazier said. "There were some things that I didn't do right in those last two minutes that I should have handled a little bit differently and they should not hold their heads down at all."
Taking his coach's words to heart, left tackle Matt Kalil (who had a bounceback game), saw the promise in today's game.
"I think today, even though we didn't have the win, it's a start for us," Kalil told KFAN after the game. "The way we were moving the ball down field, stepping it up as an offense...I think we're making progress as a team and we've just got to move forward from here and forget about this loss."
Unfortunately, finding the silver lining doesn't take the sting away from a game that should have ended in victory for the Vikings, but it's all they have to grasp on to.
It's back to the drawing board once again for the Vikings who fall to 0-2 on the season and begin preparations to face the Cleveland Browns next weekend at Mall of America Field.
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN