Last season, the Minnesota Vikings found themselves on the winning end of 11 games that went pretty much the same way that Sunday’s game went. But, all of that good karma that came their way a year ago has completely flipped around and is now smiting the Vikings. Through the first three games, it seems that almost every lucky break that went the Vikings’ way last year has now gone against them this season. In just one example from Sunday, Akayleb Evans was in perfect position to pick off a pass. Had he done so, the Vikings would have stayed in front, and would’ve had another opportunity to run the clock down and get more points. Instead, it wound up being a serendipitous go-ahead touchdown after the ball ricocheted off of Evans’ hands and into the arms of Charger’s receiver Joshua Palmer. The Vikings had so many opportunities to close this game out at the end, and just couldn’t get it done. Is it worthy trying to save the season? Your 0-3 Stock Market Report follows.
Blue Chip Stocks
Justin Jefferson - Jefferson was one yard shy of being the first receiver in NFL history to start a season with three straight 150+ yard games. JJ also finally cashed in on his first touchdown of the season on a 52-yard breakaway score.
Jordan Addison - Another week of Addison proving that he is the real deal. Jordan hauled in six catches, many of them being pretty difficult grabs. I think we’re finally starting to see the wide receiver corps take shape, with Addison clearly being the number two option this week.
Run Defense - It was a good bounce back performance for a run defense that gave up 259 yards last Thursday. This week, the Vikings only gave up 30 yards on the ground. The last two weeks are two statistical extremes, so hopefully the Vikings can get to at least league average in run defense.
KJ Osborn - KJ has been much-maligned to start the season, but he authored what might have been the best offensive play for the Vikings this season when he caught a pass on fourth down, tiptoed the sideline, and did a full-superman extension to get the ball over the pylon. That was a great play.
T.J. Hockenson - Hock has been solid in all three games, but he had two plays in this game that I think are unacceptable for the guy who is the highest paid tight end in the league. First, the fumble on the opening drive. You just have to hang onto that, man, I don’t even know what else to say. And second, the dropped pass in the end zone that ended the game. The fumble is The pass wasn’t perfect, being placed into tight coverage, but I think it’s reasonable to expect the highest paid tight end in the league to make that catch. This drop probably doesn’t get as much hate if it doesn’t get picked off, but the fact that it did get picked off at such a crucial time means he doesn’t get let off the hook. You could make the case that neither of these turnovers were Hockenson’s fault, but I’m letting him fall on the sword and take responsibility here.
Kirk Cousins - Kirk had his third straight game with over 300 yards and multiple touchdowns. You can’t logically say that Kirk lost this game for the Vikings, because he was the reason they were even in position to pull out a win in the first place. But the sequence before the final play in the red zone was just... disappointing. Kirk said he couldn’t hear the play call because of the crowd noise... So why not clock it? Obviously, its easy for us to sit here and say, “well, Kirk should’ve just done this, or that!”, and in such a high pressure situation, nobody’s going to make the right decision every single time. But man, it would’ve been nice to win this one.
Alexander Mattison - Mattison just doesn’t look like he should be a starting running back. We haven’t seen any real burst or long run potential from him, and even though he had his best game of the season so far, every time he runs, I feel like he’s going to fumble. He got bailed out on what could have easily been a fumble had the play not been whistled dead. It was encouraging to see him gain some chunks of yards on Sunday, and I do believe that he should still have a role in this offense, but I don’t think it was worth bringing him back on another contract last offseason.
Buy - Cam Akers needs to get some playing time next week. As I mentioned above with Mattison, he does still have a place in the offense, but we need to see more from the other backs on the roster, and I think new addition Cam Akers has potential to shine bright in this scheme.
Sell - The running game is really bad. As absolutely horrid as the ground game was in the first two games, the Vikings actually showed some signs of competence running the football on Sunday. If they continue to stick with it and mix in all of their running backs, we might even see a rushing touchdown at some point.
Buy - Tanking wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. This next draft has a loaded quarterback class. If things continue to go wrong for the Purple, they could sell off all of their players with expiring contracts at the trade deadline, get a high draft pick, and get one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, while still having a really solid offensive core of Jefferson, Addison, Hockenson, and the two tackles to build off of. The likelihood of this actually happening is next to zero because, well, Vikings, but it’s a route that could potentially set the Vikings up with their next franchise quarterback.
Sell - Tanking. It’s never gonna happen. The Vikings will claw their way back to .500 and be in position to make the playoffs, only to lose to the Lions twice in three weeks, missing the playoffs and drafting in no-man’s-land at 13th overall, too low to draft any of the next generation of great quarterbacks. Instead, they decide to take a cornerback after trading down to 23. Kirk gets re-signed to a two year contract, and JJ walks after the Vikings lose to the Packers in the first round of the 2024 playoffs. I can’t wait!
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