A quarter of the NFL regular-season is already in the books. The Minnesota Vikings currently sit at 2-2 heading into week five, against the New York Giants. However, based off reactions and energy levels, one would think the Vikings haven’t won a game all season.
There are some crazy overreactions, one example is how former Vikings quarterback Kyle Sloter would be more efficient under center than Kirk Cousins. Really? Give me a break!
Throughout social media one thing has been brought up and I’m going to bring it up again for the people in the way back of the room. The Vikings started the season 2-2 during the 2017 season, but managed to finish the year on a 11-1 run and a trip to the NFC Conference Championship game.
A quick nugget about the NFL this season: Thirteen teams have a record of 2-2, that’s about 60 percent of the teams in the league. The San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs are the only three undefeated teams.
Minnesota’s run into challenges so far this season. The offense has been inconsistent and unorganized from the get-go. Cousins is missing plenty of open passes, yeah he got thrown on his back a lot, but there was still passes that could have been made. Even though the passing game isn’t quite where it should be, the rushing game has made up for it.
Despite the offensive struggles, the unit still manages to be successful when in the red zone and when converting on third down. Minnesota’s ranked sixth with seven touchdowns in ten trips to the red zone (70 percent conversion rate). The offense is ranked 12th in the league for third down conversions with 42.2 percent.
Although the defense has allowed an average of 16 points per game, the unit has showed inconsistencies throughout the four games. An example would be when Minnesota faced the Green Bay Packers and gave up three early first half touchdowns.
The defense shutout Aaron Rodgers and company in the second half and continued that dominance against the Oakland Raiders offense. Linebacker Eric Wilson, defensive ends Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen all got to Derek Carr for four sacks.
Minnesota’s defense kept the Oakland Raiders’ defense under wraps after the momentum that was built during the second half of the Packer game. The Vikings contained the Chicago Bears’ run game and allowed only 74 yards off of 33 carries. However, the group couldn’t figure out the Bears’ passing game, even with backup quarterback Chase Daniels under center. He completed 22 of 30 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown.
Despite the inconsistencies, the defense is still ranked sixth in the NFL according to Pro Football Reference.
It’s a good thing there’s still 12 games left in the season. Minnesota has only played two of its six divisional games, not to mention three of the next four are home games. I don’t know about you, but I would rather see mistakes early on than a late season meltdown. Players and coaches need to hold one another accountable and edit the errors that have been shown so far.
The younger guys are looking good. Hunter is showing that he can dominate once again this year. On the other side of the ball, running back Alexander Mattison and Irv Smith Jr. have both solidified places in the offense. Mattison has 27 carries for 137 yards and a touchdown in his first four games of his rookie campaign. Smith Jr. has made quite the contributions through the passing game. His biggest game this season was against Oakland when he caught three passes for 60 yards.