The Vikings Got Rid of Their Boogeyman

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell watches his team warm up before a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

It may not completely feel like it, but the Minnesota Vikings confronted their most haunting demon.

Turnovers ravaged the season’s first four games, causing the club to start 1-3 out of the gate and fall to 1-4 after a valiant effort versus the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5.

The Vikings Got Rid of Their Boogeyman

Many Vikings fans — and this website — speculated that if the team could simply fix its damn turnover bug, smooth sailing may lie ahead. Well, quietly, Minnesota indeed rectified the turnover sins, and wouldn’t you know it? The team hit a 4-4 record after the repair.

Got Rid of Their
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell after the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Of course, the Vikings have not totally ended all turnovers, but one per game is better than the NFL standard, and in fact, is quite acceptable (if that’s all it is — one giveaway per game).

From Week 1 to Week 4, so Vikings games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Chargers, and Carolina Panthers, Minnesota had tabulated 11 turnovers — or almost three per game. That’s nauseating, and it plopped the Vikings in the NFL’s basement per giveaways.

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hands the ball off to running back Alexander Mattison (2) against the Los Angeles Chargers in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Now, in Weeks 5 through 8, the turnover woes have stabilized, and the Vikings are actually conducting ball security at an efficient clip. In the last four games, the Vikings have turned the rock over four times, which isn’t masterful but isn’t 11 times like the first four weeks.

Here’s the stat to absorb:

Vikings Turnover Ranking,
Fewest Giveaways,

Week 1-4: 32nd
Week 5-8: 4th

Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) runs after the catch against the San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw (57) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

That’s right. Folks yearned for Minnesota to stop fumbling and tossing picks at a worst-in-the-league clip, and the team has fielded the request to the tune of a Top 4 clip in the last four games.

Because the Vikings turned the ball over so often in the first four weeks, their gross turnover total still scrapes the bottom of the league (29th), but recency suggests the problem is fixed, at least for now.

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) rolls out to pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Meanwhile, with quarterback Kirk Cousins out of the season, the Vikings will presumably turn to Jaren Hall if no veteran quarterback is added in the next several days. Maintaining a low turnover total will be tricky with a raw passer, but the “other guys,” the playmakers, have stopped fumbling.

The Vikings take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, a team ranking 28th in giveaways in the last four weeks.

Interestingly, the aforementioned Chiefs have now turned the ball over more on offense and special teams than the Vikings in 2023, if that can be believed.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by