It’s no secret. The Minnesota Vikings laid an egg on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. This brutal loss has Minnesota at 0-2 on the season and looking like a shell of its former self.
Fans figured they couldn’t play any worse than in Week 1. They were wrong.
At least against the Green Bay Packers, there was still hope Minnesota could patch some things up in time for Week 2. Seeing the Vikings fail to get any momentum going throughout the entire game against the Indianapolis Colts was disheartening. The 28-11 loss was brutal.
What does this all mean? Should head coach Mike Zimmer be on the hot seat? Let’s look at that and other aspects of the Vikings’ early-season struggle below.
Kirk Cousins is to blame
Once again, the game got out of hand early. The running game was fine at first, but the passing attack was a different story.
Throughout the entire game, it seemed as if quarterback Kirk Cousins either couldn’t find the open man or he held on to the ball too long. When he did feel confident enough to toss one up, it was usually nowhere near anybody in purple.
They looked like a team who had absolutely no chemistry on offense when passing the ball. Cousins targeted Adam Thielen eight times, but they were rarely on the same page. Thielen hauled in three catches for 31 yards. The leading receiver for the Vikings on Sunday was rookie wideout Justin Jefferson with 44 yards.
Kirk Cousins also had less passing yards (113) than the Colts had as a team running the ball (151) while throwing three interceptions.
When the Vikings did run the ball, they couldn’t do it efficiently enough. While 4.5 yards per carry for Dalvin Cook isn’t bad, the inept passing offense led to short possessions on offense.
Despite struggling mightily in the passing game all day, they were eventually forced to pass. Nothing worked. The offensive line couldn’t protect and Cousins couldn’t throw strikes.
Vikings’ defense is to blame
On defense, it was the same story as Week 1. The Vikings struggled in coverage and couldn’t clog up lanes in the running game.
Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor ran through the Vikings’ defense, topping 100 yards in his first NFL start replacing the injured Marlon Mack. A long with the soft run defense, they couldn’t cover Mo Alie-Cox to save their lives. Who? Yeah, exactly.
One bright spot defensively was the inspired play of Yannick Ngakoue. The newest Vikings star had two quarterback hits, a forced fumble and a sack in his second game with the team.
General manager Rick Spielman is to blame
In the first quarter, linebacker Anthony Barr got hurt and had to leave the game after just 16 snaps. Perhaps the worst news of the loss came the day after.
On Monday, it was announced that the first quarter injury to Barr was a torn pectoral muscle. With the injury, the Pro Bowl defender is out for the rest of the season. Maybe Barr regrets not signing that Jets contract after all.
Attempting to patch things up on the fly after getting dominated in back-to-back weeks will be tough. Without the experienced defensive signal caller in Barr, the Vikings will have their hands full.
Tennessee at Minnesota outlook
If the Vikings want to salvage the season, the Tennessee Titans game is a must win. However, that is easier said than done. Undefeated on the season, Tennessee is a difficult matchup for Minnesota.
Last season, the Titans made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs. This year, the well-coached Titans are already off to a 2-0 start.
You can bet head coach Mike Zimmer is having a tougher time sleeping with his team sitting at 0-2. Hopefully after the upcoming Titans show down, fans will have a football team they will be proud to root for in Minnesota again. Otherwise, it’s going to be a really long season in the Twin Cities.