Why the sky isn’t falling for the Minnesota Vikings
There’s an old saying, one that Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells loved that goes “You are what your record says you are.” Which, for the Vikings, an 0-3 record suggests they are one of the worst teams in the league but that’s not quite true.
Consider this. As soon as the Vikings’ schedule came out, we knew there was a possibility that they’d lose two of their first three games. After all, both the Eagles and Chargers reached the postseason a year ago.
So now that the Vikings did lose those, plus their season opener, is an 0-3 record really drastically worse than being 1-2? No, it’s not. Would the fanbase be sticking a fork in the Vikings if they lost Week 1, beat the Eagles and lost Week 3 vs. the Chargers? Probably not.
Then why is a one game difference causing panic? It’s a long season folks and there are still 14 more games left to play. A three game losing streak now is much better than doing so in December. It may be cold, but I’m willing to bet playoff teams will hit similarly cold patches too. In other words, it’s not too late for the Vikings to bounce back.
Has it been done before? Not by the Vikings, but the 2018 Houston Texans did start 0-3 before turning around and reaching the playoffs. Amazingly, they’re the only team to accomplish this rare feat, and they did so back when there were just 16 games. Now, in a 17-game season, this achievement will be slightly easier to accomplish. The Texans may be the only team to start 0-3 and still reach the playoffs, but soon enough, there will be several others. Perhaps even the 2023 Vikings.
But first they’d have to eliminate the biggest issue plaguing them all season, which are costly turnovers. There isn’t a team in the NFL who’s turned the ball over more than the Vikings’ nine, and no one comes close to the seven fumbles lost. The next closest team has lost five fumbles, and then there are five teams tied with three.
The Vikings are tied with the Raiders for having the worst turnover differential in football. But unlike throwing interceptions, these aren’t bone-headed mistakes, they’re also a product of the other team placing a greater focus on stripping the ball. It’s not an area that can’t be addressed in-season, and that’s why fixing fumbling problems is a lot easier than suddenly asking your QB to stop making risky throws downfield.
The Vikings are 0-3, they can’t erase that fact. But it’s also not hard to see that without T.J. Hockenson fumbling or dropping a would-be touchdown, the Vikings could be 1-2. Or even going back to Week 2, if Justin Jefferson didn’t fumble out of the endzone for a touchback, the Vikings could potentially be 2-1. We haven’t forgotten about Week 1 either. if Kirk Cousins doesn’t lose two fumbles, the Vikings could be 3-0.
Obviously the Vikings aren’t the only team that feels they are just a play or two away from a few more wins, but unlike the Bears or Broncos, this team has been in position to win each game. It’s not like they’re getting blown out, or dominated in all three aspects.
The Vikings have one of the best passing offenses in football, and if the defense can make some strides, it’s still possible for this group to turn their season around. However, if they continue leading the NFL in turnovers, the Vikings will have a hard time avoiding a top ten pick.
The future is in their hands, and as long as they don’t drop the ball, the Vikings can still have a productive season, and possibly even one that results in competing for a playoff spot, even if it’s hard to see right now.