Now that I’ve had a couple of days to cool off after the devastating loss last Sunday, I’ve been reflecting on our Minnesota Vikings. I would caution everyone to not underestimate the effects of the lockout. In looking over the NFL Standings, and researching which teams had new head coaches/coordinators and significant player turnover, it should come as no surprise that those teams that had the luxury of maintaining consistent coaches and players through the lockout have fared better in the opening weeks of the season. Consider the following 2-0 teams: Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Houston, Washington, Detroit and Buffalo. With the exception of maybe Washington, the rest of these 2-0 teams all have consistent coaching staffs and very little turnover in their starters. While Detroit and Buffalo may also come as a surprise at 2-0, they shouldn’t. For the past few years both of those teams have been trending upward, and have consistent coaches and players in the same system for a few years now.
Contrast that with teams that have new coaches and/or significant player turnover: Minnesota, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Carolina, Oakland, Dallas, Cleveland, Tennesse, Kansas City and Cincinatti. All of these teams are either 0-2 or 1-1 to start the season. The only other 0-2 team that hasn’t had significant coaching or player turnover is Miami, except that they did add 4 new position coaches, and have some new players at key positions on offense and defense. And let’s not forget that Miami just wasn't a good team last year. This leads me to believe that the impact of the lockout, especially on these teams is significant. Coaches and players on these teams haven’t spent enough time with each other in their new systems to gel.
I am cautiously optimistic that based on the potential we’ve seen in the first halves of our week 1 and week 2 games that we can be dangerous on offense, and suffocating on defense. Hopefully as our players continue to get more comfortable with each other and with our coaches, that as the season progresses, we’ll find success. We’re all disappointed in the Vikings 2nd half collapses, and there are a variety of potential causes that have been brought up ad nauseam here at DN. I’m trying to focus on the positive of what our team can do, and what they’ve done well up to this point. I’m also trying to remember that the lockout did happen and it is seemingly having a real effect on teams across the league.