The Minnesota Vikings are presently in the midst of their BYE week after opening the season with a 5-1 record. Despite sitting atop the the NFC North with only one blemish on their record, it hasn’t exactly felt awesome. At the end of the day they’re getting the wins, but confidence that the Vikings are actually a “good team” is not yet fully there.
Yesterday I highlighted “5 Things That We LOVE” from the team’s first six games. Today we go doom and gloom as we highlight the 5 Things That We DON’T LOVE from the team’s first six performances.
- There’s been approximately ZERO consistency from week to week…
Outside of the team winning more games than they’re losing, there really hasn’t been much consistency to the team this season. Week #1 the Vikings looked like they were gonna be gangbusters this season. Offensive flow, defensive stops and utter domination of their division rival Packers. The next week, nothing went right against the Eagles…nothing at all. Then it was the Lions who blitzed the Vikings off the bat as the defense forgot how to play. Following that a trip across the pond and a fortunate win over an utterly depleted Saints team. Week #5 brought an opportunity to get right against the Bears, but the defense couldn’t wrangle Justin Fields. And Week #6 the offense was MIA through much of the game. No phase of the game has found consistency yet, but each has done just enough and avoided full implosion enough to get five wins out of the scenarios above.
- Forever the bane of our existence, the kicking game is gonna get us…again…
If this isn’t the most Minnesota thing you’ve ever heard someone say, I don’t know what is. But it’s only a matter of time before a missed Greg Joseph kick is going to cost the Vikings a win they should’ve gotten. Already with two extra points missed on the season and a 1-for-5 success rate on FGs from 50+ yards, the struggle is real. For a fanbase that will forever remember the names Gary Anderson, Blair Walsh and Daniel Carlson are vomit inducing phrases, we’re all just waiting for the moment where one of these missed kicks ends up factoring into the final outcome of a match.
- Kirk Cousins is having his worst season as a starting quarterback in 2022…
The statement sounds more dramatic than it actually is, but for a quarterback that has often been criticized in the past to lean on the phrase “having his worst season” is not a comforting note. As Kirk continues to seek a comfortable grasp on Kevin O’Connell’s new Vikings offense, his play on the field has been lacking consistency and success. We’ve seen glimpses in week one, and week five, and here or there throughout the extent of other games, but it’s clear that he’s not yet comfortable with the new scheme. the 66.2% completion percentage is his lowest as a Vikings and his lowest since becoming a regular starter in the league. His yards per attempt are the lowest of his career, and second lowest in the league right now. His touchdown percentage is lowest of his career right now and his interceptions are on pace to set a new career high in interceptions thrown.
He’s got the weapons, he’s got the talent and he’s got the resume to be better than he’s been this year. Let’s hope the Bye Week offers an opportunity for the QB and the coach to find lockstep on a more regular basis.
- Dalvin Cook and Danielle Hunter largely remain MIA…
We call out these two names in particular because we’ve seen the impact that they’ve been able to have on the field in the past, but for one reason or another this season Dalvin Cook and Danielle Hunter have both seen a drop off in production this year.
For Dalvin, there was an injury mixed in but fully healthy now it would appear as if the Kevin O’Connell offense just doesn’t feature the running back all that heavily. Cook cracked off a 53-yard touchdown to salvage his day in Miami last week, but before that he was averaging only 2 yards per carry and is not as much of a focal point as in year’s past.
For Danielle, it appears that the concerns surrounding his ability to rush the QB from a standup position as the OLB in a 3-4 defense might have been accurate. With only three sacks on the season, the number of QB pressures, hits and tackles for loss are down this season rather dramatically compared to the last time we saw him healthy and on the field.
- Missed opportunities cannot continue as schedule gets tougher…
All in all, the story of the 2022 season has surrounded a multitude of missed opportunities. Short fields and positive situations that do not result in points have plagued the Vikings so far this year. All the three and outs last week, the turnovers back in Week #2 against Philly and the drives that end with 3-points rather than 7-points. Those are the scenarios that cannot continue if this team has hopes to keep pace with the Buffalo Bills, the Cowboys and the Giants later this. These are precisely the kind of mistakes that you can get away with against the Lions and Bears, but not against real life, actual playoff football teams.
So there you have it. If this one left you feeling a bit too negative, take a moment to check out the 5 Things We Love post from yesterday to wet your whistle just a bit.