The first two weeks of the Minnesota Vikings 2022 season couldn’t have been much different. In Week 1, the Vikings beat down the Green Bay Packers, and the Packers never had a chance to pull off a victory. In Week 2, however, the Philadelphia Eagles did the same thing with the Vikings.
From start to finish, the Vikings didn’t have a chance, and the best thing for the purple team was that the loss was only by 17 points. In Week 3, the Vikings have to face a tough Detroit Lions team that lost a nailbiter to the Eagles and beat the Commanders. Both teams are 1-1.
Will the Defense Bounce Back?
The defense just allowed 31 points in two games. However, they were not close to stopping the Eagles in the first half, allowed 24 points, and the game was over. The unit didn’t show a lot of effort, and some fans rightfully took offense to that. From a scheme standpoint, Ed Donatell, the defensive coordinator, should ask himself if he wants offenses to continue to dominate the game with wide-open short passes and running the football.
The Vikings’ defense didn’t show any resistance to that. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts completed one pass after another. Most of them were easy throws. During the eight-year tenure of former head coach Mike Zimmer, whose contract was terminated after a disappointing 2021 campaign, the Vikings allowed more yards just five times.
The Eagles dominated the time of possession with over 36 minutes and were able to move the ball on the ground and in without any resistance. The defense looked better in the second half, but the damage was already done, and it’s unclear if the Eagles took the foot off the gas.
Can Passing Game Get Back on Track?
There are no excuses to be made; Kirk Cousins played a horrible game. He was panicky when the Eagles brought the blitz, made bad reads, wasn’t on the same page with his receivers, and missed some throws. It was his worst game as a Vikings. Just one week earlier, he played well against the Packers. That game was almost flawless.
Every quarterback has bad games, but Cousins has to respond now and bounce back after his three-interception game. Historically, the Vikings quarterback has been great against the Lions. Head coach Kevin O’Connell and quarterback Cousins have to get together and develop a good game plan to righten the ship.
Another part of the passing offense is the pass catchers. They couldn’t get open most of the day. If they were, either Cousins didn’t find them, or they dropped the pass. The whole passing offense was dreadful to watch. Usually, if a star cornerback plays against a star receiver, both win some reps, and it’s hard to determine a winner. However, Darius Slay genuinely won the battle against Justin Jefferson.
Adam Thielen, the reliable veteran receiver of the Vikings, and K.J. Osborn have been a no-show through two games. Irv Smith made two plays but dropped a potential game-changing deep bomb. The passing operation was out of sync, but their next opportunity is right around the corner.
Can Anyone Stop Amon-Ra?
The number one receiver of the Detroit Lions is coming into the matchup red hot. He recorded 248 scrimmage yards in the first two games of his sophomore season and scored three times. Six consecutive games with at least eight catches and a touchdown are a new NFL record, just like eight consecutive games with eight more touchdowns.
He’s also one of only three players to score a touchdown in six consecutive games at age 22 or younger. The other two were NFL royalty Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski. Amon-Ra means “Sun God,” and he certainly looked like one recently. Cameron Dantzler and Patrick Peterson have to be on alert all game.
Will the Running Defense Continue to Struggle?
The Vikings’ rushing defense has been a catastrophic failure so far. According to footballoutsiders.com and their DVOA statistics, the Vikings are the worst rushing defense in the NFL through two weeks. Against the Eagles and the Packers, the Vikings gave up an average of 137 rushing yards per game.
Lions’ star running back D’Andre Swift, meanwhile, is averaging an insane 10 yards per carry. Harrison Phillips, Dalvin Tomlinson, and the full defense have to work together to stop the run. Another part of the running offense is the offensive line, and the Lions have an excellent one. After facing the Eagles and their arguably league-best unit, Danielle Hunter and the crew face another tough test.
Can the Team Deal With Adversity?
A lot of positive energy surrounded the Vikings organization throughout the last months since the hiring of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell. Dealing with adversity and losses had not been on the menu until the Vikings got blown out by the Eagles. Doing a good job dealing with adversity makes good teams great, and the Vikings have to show just that.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt