One Aspect of Vikings Football Is Unacceptable

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The season is only one week old, and the Minnesota Vikings are already staring at a 0-2 record. Depending on the results of the Packers and Lions on Sunday, the group might be two wins out of the division lead. The Vikings were competitive in both games, but losing the turnover battle by three in each contest was too much to overcome, and the record is the logical consequence.

One Aspect of Vikings Football Is Unacceptable

One Aspect of Vikings Football Is Unacceptable
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A few things are working, like the passing offense. Kirk Cousins lit up both the Bucs and the Eagles for a franchise-record 708 passing yards and 6 touchdowns through two games. Receiver Justin Jefferson has already reached 309 of his 2,000-yard goal, also a franchise record through two games.

The defense looks much improved. Brian Flores’ unit gets beaten deep occasionally, but that is the trade-off when you get rid of Ed Donatell’s scheme and replace him with an uber-aggressive coach. While far from perfect, the defense held the Vikings in the game in back-to-back first halves.

But one aspect of Vikings football is a disaster. The rushing offense is non-existent. Through two weeks, the Vikings have produced 69 rushing yards, or 34.5 per game. The worst rushing offense in 2022, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rushed for 76.9 yards per game. Minnesota doesn’t even reach that number in two games. The 2000 Chargers had 66.4 rushing yards per game, the lowest in the Super Bowl era.

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Only eight teams in the Super Bowl era had fewer rushing yards in the first two games of a season, and they all missed the postseason.

The Vikings came off a season with bottom five numbers in most metrics that measure the rushing offense. For that reason, the Vikes made changes in the offseason, parting ways with aging star runner Dalvin Cook and installing his backup Alexander Mattison as the top rusher.

In addition, the franchise invested in tight end Josh Oliver, who is regarded as one of the league’s elite run blockers. They also feature fullback C.J. Ham and more sets that include either Ham or a second tight end.

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All of that resulted in absolutely nothing for two weeks straight. The offensive line got bullied by both the Eagles and the Buccaneers. Playing without Garrett Bradbury and Christian Darrisaw certainly didn’t help.

Mattison lacks the play-making ability that made Cook a special player in his prime who could shake off a tackle or two to gain more yards than he should have. The offensive line combined without a true star running back is a recipe for disaster.

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It should also be noted that opponents must try to slow down Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Jordan Addison in the lethal passing attack led by Kirk Cousins, and still, it is easy for them to stop the run — so much so that the Vikings have to abandon the running game early in games because it becomes obvious that they aren’t going anywhere.

That kind of one-dimensional offense is not sustainable, and the Vikings must be better at running the ball. Their next chance is against the Los Angeles Chargers, a team that fielded some bottom-five run defenses in recent years. That should be a nice change from facing the Eagles and Bucs, whose strength is to stop the run.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt