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Updated: December 14th, 2010 2:30am
Notebook: 'Embarrassing' effort against run is fatal for Vikings 'D'

Notebook: 'Embarrassing' effort against run is fatal for Vikings 'D'

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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DETROIT -- It's been a long time since the Minnesota Vikings' defense got gashed like this on the ground.

Brandon Jacobs chugged 73 yards to set up one touchdown, Ahmad Bradshaw exploded 48 yards for another and the New York Giants' dynamic duo finished with 219 yards on 25 carries (8.8 average) in Monday's 21-3 runaway at Ford Field.

"It's embarrassing," Vikings end Jared Allen said. "That's all I can say."

The Vikings hadn't allowed an opponent to run for more than 200 yards since Oct. 2, 2005, when Atlanta racked up 285 in a 30-10 blowout as Mike Tice coached his final season. They ranked No. 1 against the run each of the next three seasons and were No. 2 in 2009 at 87.1 yards per game.

But with Jacobs (14 carries for 116 yards, 8.3 average) and Bradshaw (11-103-9.4) each crossing the 100-yard barrier on Monday, the Vikings fell to 10th in the NFL with an average of 101.3 rushing yards allowed per game -- both a cause and product of a 5-8 record that's seen opponents play with the lead much of the season.

"We had some missed tackles, and we had some guys get out of their gaps," interim coach Leslie Frazier said. "They had two real long runs by both backs, and (that is) very uncharacteristic of us. It's something we'll have to go back and get fixed."

The Vikings defense actually got off to a strong start, with Frank Walker and Asher Allen recording early interceptions as Giants quarterback Eli Manning struggled to a 4-for-10 start. But the game changed on the Giants' fourth drive, when they ran on six consecutive plays and Jacobs' long burst gave life to the stagnant offense.

Vikings linebacker Ben Leber was playing inside on a run blitz, allowing a crease to open to the left side as middle linebacker E.J. Henderson got caught in traffic and safety Madieu Williams took a bad angle to the ball.

"I knew (Leber) wasn't really going to be able to chase me down outside," Jacobs said, "so when I came downhill, I got towards the line of scrimmage and pressed the line, went outside and (was) off and running."

Jacobs' 1-yard touchdown run through a massive hole four plays later gave the Giants the only lead they'd need. And Bradshaw all but sealed the decision late in the third quarter, when he slipped through a crease on a zone-left run and went the distance down the sideline.

"Big plays obviously killed us," Allen said.

Scary moment

Halfback Adrian Peterson and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson banged knees as Peterson tried to avoid a slot blitzer on a first-quarter handoff, sending both to the turf in a heap and giving rookie Joe Webb his first NFL snap at quarterback.

The collision appeared ugly when it occurred with 2 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first quarter. But the Vikings quickly announced Peterson and Jackson were "fine," and they returned on the next drive.

Webb, the No. 2 quarterback because Brett Favre was inactive, got a single-safety look on third-and-11 and threw deep down the left sideline for Sidney Rice. The throw was on the mark, but Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas made a good play to rake it out and force a punt.

Later, Jackson injured the big toe on his right foot while scrambling, giving Webb some more action. The rookie finished 2-of-5 passing for 8 yards.

"I feel OK," Jackson said. "Hopefully, some of this stuff will feel a lot better (Tuesday) or later on this week."

Booker debuts

The Vikings weren't shy about using halfback Lorenzo Booker in his debut.

The former United Football League standout caught a swing pass for 6 yards during his limited action on offense and also returned kickoffs -- including a 96-yarder called back on a highly questionable illegal-block penalty on linebacker Jasper Brinkley.

"We intended to play Lorenzo because we felt like he would give us something in third-down situations and certain other situations, and he did a great job on kickoff," Frazier said.

Quick hits

• Frazier once again expressed optimism about receiver Percy Harvin, who missed a second consecutive game while dealing with migraine headaches. "Barring any unforeseen situation," Frazier said, "we expect him back on Thursday when we start practice again."

• SS Husain Abdullah missed one snap, returned for a few more and then left for good after getting poked in the eye late in the first quarter. Jamarca Sanford replaced him.

• P Chris Kluwe tied two team records: career punts inside the 20 (154) and career games with a 50-yard punt (68). Kluwe joined the team in 2005.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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