Big quarterback questionsThe quarterback position has been a carousel for Minnesota this season. Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman have all started games for the Vikings, and all three passers have struggled. Ponder started last week's game against the Bears, but he ultimately suffered a concussion and was replaced by Cassel. Freeman has not played since Oct. 21 when we has picked up by the Vikings (from Tampa Bay) and struggled mightily in his debut. With Ponder's status uncertain because of the concussion, the Vikings could go with Freeman or Cassel Sunday in Baltimore.
The defense is vulnerableMuch has been made about Minnesota's uncertainty at quarterback, but the defense has been the team's biggest problem this season. The Vikings statistically have one of the NFL's worst defenses, and rank last in the league by allowing 30.5 points per game. The unit also ranks 30th in the NFL by giving up an average of 407.6 total yards per game. The Ravens offense has shown improvement in recent weeks, and facing a struggling Vikings defense could present opportunities for quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens to break.
Leslie Frazier could be fighting for his jobThe Vikings surprised some people by making the playoffs last season, but that playoff run raised expectations coming into this year. Now Head Coach Leslie Frazier is facing heat after his team's 3-8 start. The Vikings are likely not headed to the postseason, but Frazier could be coaching for his job during the month of December. He is 18-30-1 during his time with the Vikings, and he could need a strong finish to extend his tenure into 2014.
Down season for Jared AllenThe face of the Vikings defense for the last several years has been defensive end Jared Allen. The talented defender with a colorful personality has been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, putting up double digit sack totals in seven of his nine NFL seasons. He has notched at least 11 sacks every year since 2006, but he's in danger of not reaching that total this season. Allen has six sacks through 12 games, and has just 1.5 sacks in his last six contests. The 31-year-old defender is still a threat to put up sacks in a hurry, but he is not having the same kind of success that he's been accustomed to throughout his career.
Adrian Peterson is still a beastWhile the Vikings are in the midst of a down season, not much has changed at running back. Peterson is still the best running back in the league and arguably the best of this era. He is not on pace to match his record-setting numbers from last season, but he still has 1,208 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. Peterson showed his ability Sunday against the Bears when he rushed for 211 yards. He is the Vikings' biggest weapon, and stopping him is the top priority to slowing down their offense.