4 Downs to 1-1: Non-Complementary Football

1st Down: The phrase "complementary football" is often used to describe a contest where the offense and defense synergistically feed off each other. The monday night massacre by the Philadelphia Eagles was the exact opposite. At first, the Vikings offense was battling—but the defense could do nothing in the face of Jalen Hurts (26/31, 333 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 57 rush yards, 2 rush TDs) & Co. Then, once the defense settled down, Kirk Cousins (27/46, 221 yards, 1 T, 3 INT, 1 fumble) melted down--not helped by other mistakes across the board--and couldn’t hit water (a wide receiver) if he fell out of a boat (the pocket). Never once could the Vikings take momentum from one side of the ball and immediately apply it to the other.

2nd Down: I am certainly not going to pin the blame of this loss on one play. But, I will say that Irv Smith’s wide-open-behind-the-defense, sure-TD drop at the end of the first half seemed like the turning point. If Irv corrals that pigskin and dances/prances/waltzes/cartwheels into the endzone, the Vikes are only down 7 and about to get the ball to start the second half. Instead: a Vikings punt, a long Eagles drive & a FG as the first half expired, and a 24-7 Philly lead hitting the showers. At home, maybe Minnesota claws back from that deficit. On the road (and raucous Philly, to boot)? Forget it. Now I sort of know how Green Bay felt last week when Watson’s wide-open whiff changed the tone of that contest.

3rd Down: I’m not going to overreact too much to the brutal loss. Why? Because it is—or should be—all a learning experience for first-year HC Kevin O’Connell. Learning how to handle road noise/pressure/adversity—learning that an offense cannot live by Justin Jefferson (12 targets, 6 rec, 48 yards) energy alone—learning that Dalvin Cook (6 carries, 17 yards) needs to be a bigger part of the overall proceedings until all is truly lost—learning that completely shotgun-ing Cousins and eschewing under-center or play-action plays is risky. The process of learning and adapting was not a strong suit of the previous head coach, but perhaps that can/will change with KOC. Only time will tell on that front.

4th Down: What shouldn’t be lost in this analysis is that Philadelphia was simply an explosive team on both sides of the ball. I spent all offseason doubting the prognostication picks of the Eagles as deep-playoff participants, but I’ll admit to being wrong. When did Hurts become such a solid thrower—I mean, wasn’t he just supposed to be just the stopgap between Wentz and whoever came next?! Whether intentional or not, it means the Eagles have a rookie QB contract--and the player performing well--to flesh out their roster, and it certainly looks like they have done exactly that. Philly won this game even more than the Vikings lost it, despite what this fanbase’s "all our fault, sky is falling" well-conditioned response always tells us.

Up next: vs. Detroit Lions (1-1). The Motor City Kitties have shown surprising offensive firepower to start the year, so this isn’t going to be the usual rollover of DET at home. Another effort like MNF and Minnesota will be looking up at the Lions in the standings.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.