They were expected to lose but were still in the game in the last five minutes.
After a first half dominated by the Falcons, the Vikings had pulled to within 17-14 with a dramatic 4th-and-13, 39-yard touchdown pass from Christian Ponder to Percy Harvin.
Atlanta went back up by 10 points with 6:40 remaining. This is when things got real interesting.
Percy Harvin returned the ensuing kickoff 104 yards—but was run down by Atlanta's Christopher Owens at the Falcon 3-yard line.
Harvin went to the sideline, there was confusion on the field and Ponder had to call a timeout.
On first down Ponder rolled out right and was sacked at the five. On second down, a Harvin run put Minnesota at the 2-yard line. Then on third down, initially Harvin's forward progress appeared to have been stopped, but he extended the ball forward to a point where it clearly broke the plane of the goal.
One official was marking forward progress inside the 1-yard line, but the whistle did not blow before Harvin extended the ball over the plane of the goal.
This brings up question No. 1: Why no challenge at this point?
Even if the officials say forward progress was stopped, why not at least question the officials about whether or not a challenge would be allowed?
Now, the Vikings have a fourth down inside the one. They are down by 10. They must score twice. The clock is ticking toward the four-minute mark.
Question No. 2: Why not kick a field goal?
I know the mentality is to get a touchdown, but you have to score twice. Why not go for the certain three?
Get a field goal, pull to within seven, kick off—long or on-side—and put your defense out there to try to get the ball back.
There is a possibility that the Vikings don't get the ball back even with a field goal, but give your team a chance to win.
Instead the Vikings went for it, Toby Gerhart was stopped for a loss and the Vikings never got the ball back.
Question No. 3: Why not give the ball to Harvin on fourth down?
There is no guarantee that he would have scored, but would he have been a better option?
To the Falcons' credit they made two huge stops—on the kickoff return and fourth down—but I still have some questions regarding how the Vikings approached this game without Adrian Peterson.
Question No. 4: Why wasn't Percy Harvin utilized more in this game? He is the fastest player on the roster, and the Falcons had problems containing him, especially in the second half.
Question No. 5: Is it all because Minnesota is using a rookie quarterback, or should Leslie Frazier bear the blame for the Vikings' failures, not just today, but ever since Week 1?
Which brings up the final question: Is Leslie Frazier going to be the Vikings' head coach in 2012?