It’s been 5 years since an NFL offense failed the way the Vikings did Sunday


When Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway intercepted a pass and returned it to the Detroit Lions’ 18-yard line in the second quarter Sunday, it sure seemed like Minnesota was about to jump-start an offense that has flatlined after a 5-0 start.

Instead, the Vikings reached a new level of futility, becoming the first team since the 2011 Rams to punt after beginning a drive inside the red zone.

Minnesota, which seemed a lock to break a 3-3 tie, went from the 18 to the 40 in four plays, like this:

  • 4-yard run to the 14
  • False start penalty to the 19
  • 2-yard pass to the 17, plus an illegal block penalty to the 27
  • -4-yard run to the 31
  • -9-yard sack to the 40

And then the punt.

It may be hard to believe that it’s been five years since an NFL team has gone from the red zone to a punt, but it probably didn’t feel quite that long to Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford. That’s because he was the Rams’ quarterback the last time it happened in 2011.