This post was guest-written by Luke Braun, who is a writer for Purple PTSD and co-host of the Purple Journal Podcast. Since before he can remember, he was immersed in the ups and crippling downs of Vikings fandom. In adulthood, he’s taken an analytical approach to evaluation, but the compelling stories of each NFL player are not lost on him. Outside of football, Luke works in digital media and the film industry, giving him a unique perspective on the characters and story of the NFL.
It’s fairly clear that the 2016 Minnesota Vikings were held back by their offense more than their defense or special teams. By DVOA, the Vikings ranked 26th on offense, while turning in the ninth-best defense. They experienced a post-bye streak of seven games where they only topped 21 points once, losing all six of the other games.
In response to the general failure of the offense, Mike Zimmer set the bar at 21 points per game for 2017, establishing a clear goal to improve. The first step to fixing a problem, however, is diagnosing it. Where did we go wrong?