Kevin O’Connell Insists Vikings Main Problem Is Fixable

after revenge game
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The 2023 Minnesota Vikings appear to have the biomolecules of a playoff-contending football team — if they stop fumbling the ball. And that’s a literal statement.

Kevin O’Connell Insists Vikings Main Problem Is Fixable

The 2003 St. Louis Rams began their season with six lost fumbles through two regular season games, and this year’s Vikings are the first team to mimic the naughty stat since.

That’s right. Minnesota has turned the ball over seven times in two games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles while forcing just one takeaway, a gift-wrapped interception from the fingers of Jalen Hurts to Theo Jackson on Thursday Night Football.

Insists Vikings Main
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Meanwhile, the franchise must clean up other items, too, like rush defense, rush offense, and protecting quarterback Kirk Cousins. But it all starts with the fumbles. Minnesota could arguably be 2-0 if it simply eliminated the fumbles — even with the other sins in play.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell recognized the fumble problem after the TNF loss, vowing to fix the glitch.

Analyst and Vikings,
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

“Although the results these first two weeks have not gone our way, I do think that there’s some encouraging things about our team right now from a standpoint of certain aspects of how we’re playing, whether it be Kirk’s performance last night, the way our pass game continues to keep us in football games, despite a lot of things that negatively affect us as far as turning the football over with the fumbling issue. Our team’s fight to be an onside kick away from having a chance to win that game in a very, very tough place to go win on a short week,” O’Connell explained.

Reigning Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson fumbled the football out of the endzone near the end of the 1st Half at Philadelphia, a transaction that fundamentally altered the game and basically canceled Minnesota’s hopes of winning.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell added about the fumble plague, “But there is, no doubt, some major, major areas of improvement from a standpoint of ball security. You just can’t be minus-6 after two games in the turnover differential. It goes against everything we do believe with our football philosophy, and we’re already in the process of finding new and hopefully more results-based ways of getting back to the basics of drilling and techniques and fundamentals of every rep we take to make sure ball security becomes a premium.”

A reasonable case can be made that the only method the Vikings could be 0-2 through two games with all other aspects of their performance is a lopsided turnover differential, which they own. 

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

If the Vikings fix their fumbling malady — like today — they can probably beat any time in the league or at least take the best of the best down to the wire. This is rudimentary stuff. Don’t drop the ball, finish drives, and the box score will look markedly different. The Vikings are a fixed fumble problem away from consideration as a playoff football team.

And the team’s skipper seems to recognize it.

The Vikings host the Los Angeles Chargers in eight days at U.S. Bank Stadium, a matchup with desperation stakes for Minnesota.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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