Remember when people thought the Vikings would be a contender this season and somehow improve on their 8-7-1 and 10-6 records despite the loss of experience and talent at more key positions than not?
After the Minnesota Vikings post-draft haul broke records and the hymens of those in Vikings media, I bemoaned the fact that the draft essentially was essentially the most Mike Zimmer/Rick Spielman thing ever. My hope, going into the last year (at the time) of their collective contracts, that the dynamic duo would show that they’d learned from their failures and successes and start anew with the (then) 12 picks they had in the draft.
They then spent the subsequent 15 picks on five defensive backs and exactly one offensive guard, I’ll let you guess what pick they used on that pick.
I could bemoan the lack of investment in the offensive line more, but the reality of today’s loss in Indianapolis is so awful on every single level that there’d be no point in pointing to the line (which, compared to other position groups had a good day).
The Vikings entered Week 2 with the most ‘Must Win’ pressure that can exist this early in the season after they laid an egg (that hatched and burned down US Bank Stadium) in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers. The hope was that somehow Zimmer would be able to coach up the corners (sans Cameron Dantzler) during the week to face a quarterback in Philip Rivers who had historically struggled against the Vikings under Zimmer.
Then today happened.
I could post stats and drive breakdowns but the real key to this game was… Everything, but particularly a failure of preparedness from the supposed veterans on the offensive side of the ball. Ironically, there had been a lot of talk about the fact that the Vikings had more continuity/veterans on offense than defense for the first time in the Zimmer regime, and that with new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, they’d be able to enter the elite level that they flirted with at times last season (even without wideout Stefon Diggs).
That’s a big nope.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins was 11/26 for 113 yards, no touchdowns with 3 interceptions on the day. He didn’t play great, but those interceptions weren’t solely on him (hail mary, deflected balls), but he forced the ball to Adam Thielen all day, but the real story for this offense was the drops by go to players like Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph, as well as supposed stars in waiting Bisi Johnson (who we should just agree is a mediocre at best possession receiver at this point, as people painted him as something he never has been simply because the Vikings finally found a third receiver that could catch (which should tell you all you need to know about Spielman’s prowess when it comes to drafting wide receivers)) and Irv Smith Jr.
The onus there falls on Zimmer, who clearly hasn’t coached up his team to any level of preparedness. Sure, there was no pre-season, but that doesn’t seem to matter to other teams like the Colts or Packers. All of the local and national media that mocked my reaction to the draft, and who called this a reboot and upgrade over Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes, have purple blood on their hands as well, as like I said last Monday ‘If you were surprised by Sunday’s action, you haven’t been paying attention’.
I expected the Vikings to be a 6-10 team in our season record round-table,
but even I’m surprised at just how bad this game was and how bad this team is playing. NO ONE came through, outside of our kicker and punter. I’m surprised just how bad things things were on offense in terms of play-calling. Gary Kubiak has been a King Midas of sorts during his long, successful career in the NFL, but like someone forced to join a leper colony Minnesota just has some sort of negative affect on everyone who comes here (ask the former second most accurate field goal kicker in league history, Dan Bailey, or literally everyone else ever).
The Vikings yet again moved down the field with relative ease to start the day and then did nothing afterward. Sound familiar?
The defense was just as bad as it was last week. Because of the COVID opt-out of new nose tackle Michael Pierce and the lazy opt-out of PJ Hall, the Vikings don’t have a true nose tackle and it shows. Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor dominated the Vikings front seven, and that allowed the Colts to pick up six or seven yards on most first downs. That opened up things for the passing game and I’ll let you surmise how that went.
You may call this reactionary, but unfortunately I’m on a roll when it comes to my predictions, this is NOT what the Wilf Family expected when they extended head coach Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman. They’ll keep Zimmer around for the season, perhaps, but like I’ve said since the extension… Ask Brad Childress how the Wilf’s roll when it comes to extensions and not living up to expectations.
The Vikings face the Titans next week and have to find answers at nearly every position.