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The Good, Bad, And Ugly After Vikings’ Week 3 Loss To Chargers

The Minnesota Vikings are 0-3 after yet another loss, this week to the Los Angeles Chargers. It was a hard-fought game that ended in one of the more ridiculous ways possible. A fitting end to a game in what has been a rollercoaster of a season thus far for the Vikings. As with every game so far in 2023, the passing offense was on point, with Kirk Cousins throwing for over 350 yards and three touchdowns.

And, again like every game so far this season, it was all for naught, as turnovers once again ultimately doomed the team. Let’s take a look at the good, bad, and ugly from the Week 3 loss to the Chargers.

The Good: Justin Jefferson’s historic pace

The Vikings are 0-3, but it has nothing to do with the performance of star wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Jefferson has been on a torrid pace early on this season, and that pace continued against the Chargers. With another 7 receptions and 149 yards, Jefferson is up to 27 receptions on the season for 458 yards. Today was Jefferson’s first game of the season below 9 receptions and 150 yards.

Sure, the pace is (likely) unsustainable, but right now Jefferson is on pace to not just become the first wide receiver to top 2,000 yards on a season, he’s on track to completely obliterate that mark. Were Jefferson able to keep this pace up through the 17-game season, he’d wind up with 153 receptions — an NFL record — and just under 2,600 yards, completely shattering Calvin Johnson’s record of 1,964.

Clearly Jefferson isn’t going to continue that pace. He can’t. But for right now he’s by far the biggest bright spot for the Vikings. The passing offense is holding up their end of the bargain this season. It’s just nearly every other facet of the game that’s letting them down and contributing to the disastrous start.

If there was one blemish on the sterling start Jefferson is off to, it’s that he hasn’t been putting points on the board for the Vikings offense. Today’s game against the Chargers was the first touchdown of the season for the Vikings star. However, with the Vikings averaging 23 points per game in 2023, that’s just trying to find something to be upset about.

The Bad: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers

If this whole football thing doesn’t work out for the Vikings, the offense has a promising pastry career blossoming. So far in 2023, Kirk Cousins and company have had more turnovers than your local bakery. They opened the season with three killer turnovers against the Bucs in what wound up to be a 3-point game. Minnesota followed that up with a four turnover performance against the Eagles in another one-possession game.

Today against the Chargers, the Vikings “only” gave the ball away twice. A marked improvement over the Philadelphia game, but still crushing nonetheless. This week it wasn’t so much about the volume of turnovers, but rather when those turnovers came. Particularly the second one, as it cost Minnesota the game. Of all the times to throw an interception, at the goal line in the final minute of the game when going in for the game-winning score is the worst.

The fumble in the first quarter was bad, but the game-clinching interception at the end is a mistake you just can’t make.

The Ugly: A lost season already?

It’s fairly obvious and on-the-nose, but there’s really no other way to say it: The Minnesota Vikings 2023 season is in trouble – if not already completely sunk. Starting off the season 0-2 is bad, but it’s recoverable. Starting off the season 0-3? Well you can just about forget about making the playoffs and having a successful season at that point.

Only five teams in the Super Bowl era (excluding the strike-shortened season of 1982) have recovered from an 0-3 start to make the playoffs. Only two of those teams recovered to win the division, and only one (1992 San Diego Chargers) won a playoff game.

The Vikings obviously aren’t in the “tanking” discussion for the #1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, but it’s safe to say that the lofty expectations the team – and fans – had coming into the season aren’t going to be reached. Minnesota may very well still make the playoffs, but it’s going to take one fairytale of a season from here on out to make it. And fairytale endings aren’t exactly something this franchise is known for. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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