Keep the Faith - via prod.images.vikings.clubs.nflcdn.com
The 0-2 start is certainly unfavorable, but the Vikings have shown us some good things. The team is still brimming with potential, and its enough to make this entire season worth watching, regardless of win-loss record. Here are five positives that should pay dividends as the season progresses.
Clean Football - The Vikings have wasted some fast starts. Close losses are worthless because almost doesn't count. It is important though to reflect on what the Vikings did to keep those games close. Penalties are a big part of it. The Vikings have committed 8 total penalties in 8 quarters of play, and their opponents have committed twice as many. Leslie Frazier, for all the criticism he's received, has his team playing clean ball. Hopefully this will continue and be an integral part of the Vikings rebound.
Dome Football - The Vikings have lost two road games. Yes, the road games were against divisional rivals, but if the team is going anywhere, they're expected to hold serve against Chicago and Detroit anyways. I'll take a 4-4 road record and a 5-3 home record if it means a playoff berth. That would also have the Vikings going 9-5 from here on out.
Pro Bowl Football - While the Vikings have made several personnel decisions that I don't agree with, we have some serious talent on this team. Most of our 7 pro bowlers from last year look pretty darn good at this point. Adrian Peterson is on the brink. Jerome Felton better come back with his head on fire. Kyle Rudolph has performed when his number has been called. Matt Kalil has some early struggles before showing up big time against the Bears. Jared Allen is set to have a big game. Chad Greenway.....has a lot of tackles? Blair Walsh is showing no signs of sophomore slump. I think we'll have to depend on these guys moving forward, and more importantly, I think we can.
The Rookies - While I don't think that Christian Ponder is being "held back" I certainly think that the rookies are! I can't think of a bad play that Cordarrelle Patterson, Sharif Floyd, of Xavier Rhodes has made yet. These three are steadily growing into good football players and they are the X factor of the 2013 season. The coaches need to unleash our rookies and reap the benefits.
Soft Schedule - Look at the schedule boys! Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Carolina, and New York have a combined 0-8 record. This four-game stretch will be what we look back on in 2013. We'll either say that this was the point in which the team gained confidence, and proved 2013 was no fluke, or say that losses in this stretch proved the Vikings should never have been considered contenders. I'm a fan of the former. If we aren't 3-3 by week 8, it's a failed season. I'm looking at a 4-2 team heading home against Green Bay. SKOL Vikes.
This is going to be a great year guys. We all knew it would be rocky, like every season is. BUT STICK WITH IT. So what the rocks hit early? This team still has the potential to win games. In bunches.