Vikings Offense Must Show Out on Sunday

Vikings 2023 Super Bowl Odds
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell looks on during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings are coming off their first win of the 2023 regular season. Having beaten the Carolina Panthers a week ago, they’ll need a much more crisp performance to hang with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Vikings won’t contain Andy Reid’s team, so they must try and hang with them.

Vikings Offense Must Show Out on Sunday

Minnesota almost found themselves on the wrong side of another contest last Sunday. With Kirk Cousins throwing an interception that was returned for a 99-yard touchdown, things got off to an ugly start. Thankfully Kevin O’Connell’s squad righted the ship, but this continued insistence of making mistakes can’t happen against one of the best teams in the league.

Offense Must Show Ou
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Reid has long been among the best coaches across the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs are still the reigning Super Bowl champions, and Patrick Mahomes remains the greatest quarterback in the league. Never mind that the team doesn’t employ any solid wide receivers. Thanks to their stellar signal caller, they are built to score points in bunches.

Of course, the current story for the Chiefs is that of Travis Kelce and his superstar girlfriend, Taylor Swift. The hidden narrative is that the team has been on a roll since dropping their opening night contest against the Detroit Lions during Week 1. Having beaten the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, and New York Jets, the Chiefs come to Minnesota with a 3-1 record.

Playing against Zach Wilson on Sunday night, the Chiefs didn’t run and hide from the Jets. Just a week after hanging 41 points on the hapless Bears, Kansas City didn’t do a great job distancing themselves from New York. That was partly because the Jets defense kept Mahomes somewhat in check, but the Jets also scored with Kansas City. That’s the blueprint for Minnesota.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) stiff arms Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis III (24) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Brian Flores has improved his defense over the past couple of weeks, but the unit has largely been hit or miss to start the year. The cornerbacks should have less of an issue against a lackluster wide receiver group, but they are still susceptible to being picked apart by Mahomes himself. The Vikings have had mixed results with the pass rush, and Mahomes can also make things happen with his legs.

If the Vikings want to pull off an upset on Sunday, Kirk Cousins will need to find his teammates in the end zone early and often. Justin Jefferson was held under 100 yards for the first time this season, and Jordan Addison was entirely non-existent in the passing game. That duo must do damage against Chiefs defenders on Sunday, and at least one of them needs to find the end zone.

It’s been an ugly few outcomes for T.J. Hockenson already this year, and him having a coming out game would be good to see after landing such a lucrative new deal. Cousins can get him involved in the passing game as well, and that should help to take away some of the pressure from the wide receivers.

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Cam Akers (31) runs after the catch defended by Carolina Panthers safety Xavier Woods (25) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota can opt to control some of the clock by using the ground game, and if Alexander Mattison pairs with Cam Akers as they did last Sunday, that strategy should bear fruit. The Vikings struggled to get the running game going early, but things clicked a week ago, and continuing along with that success is a must.

It would be shocking to see Minnesota win this game on the backs of their defense. Kevin O’Connell’s team needs to score early and often. Getting into a shootout with Mahomes isn’t ideal, but it may be the only way for the Vikings to get it done.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.