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Woeful third-down conversions doom Vikings' offense

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The Minnesota Vikings' offense stunk up another prime-time performance, totaling 276 yards and didn't score a single point until garbage time in a 21-7 loss in Seattle.

Once again, much of the blame is placed on quarterback Kirk Cousins, who laid an egg so large it might satisfy Veruca Salt.

"I don't know what the scale [of frustration] is for that level, but certainly when you're not putting as many points on the board as you know you're capable of or you've shown in past games, it's disappointing," Cousins said, via ESPN. "I think the added piece of the disappointment is when your defense is playing so well. Our defense, I feel the last couple weeks or the last several weeks, has played playoff football, high-level football, and put us in a position where we should and can be in the playoff conversation as a result of the way they are playing defense. You know that if our offense would bring it that way that we brought it in the earlier weeks of the season, we would be pretty dangerous."

It's often said that quarterbacks make their money on third down and in the red zone. If true, the $84 million-guaranteed-man is coming up short.

Asked where his offense has gone wrong the past two weeks, coach Mike Zimmer pointed directly to those two areas.

"Part of it is being better on third downs. We haven't really done a good job there. Part of it's being better in the red zone. We had the ball on the 2-yard line and didn't score," Zimmer said, via the team's official website. "So, you keep doing things like that, you're not going to score many points."

On the night, the Vikings were a pathetic 2 of 10 on third downs. To make matters worse, it wasn't as if they were consistently in third-and-long situations. Rather they botched a bevy of third-and-manageable situations. The only conversions on third downs on the day were Cousins sneaks:

Third-and-4: Delay of game
Third-and-3: Cousins sacked for loss of 9
Third-and-2: Incompletion
Third-and-1: Cousins QB sneak for 4 yards -- converted
Third-and-1: Incomplete
Third-and-3: Stephon Diggs makes 2-yard catch
Third-and-goal at the 2: Dalvin Cook up the middle for 1 yard
Third-and-1: Cousins QB sneak for 2 yards -- converted

The Vikings also missed two fourth-down tries in the second half.

Fourth-and-1: Latavius Murray stuffed for no gain
Fourth-and-goal from the 1: Cousins incomplete to Kyle Rudolph

"There were a couple that we didn't execute well enough, and then there were a couple that we probably could have called something better," Zimmer said when asked what the issues were in short-yardage situations.

Sitting at 6-6-1, the Vikings still control a possible path to the playoffs, but Monday night's showing suggests Zimmer's team would be first-round fodder if the offense doesn't figure out how to beat good defenses.

The Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo on Tuesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

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