0-2? No Need for Vikings to Hit Panic Button
Despite the 0-2 start to the season, there should be no need for the Vikings to hit the panic button. At least… not yet.
Now, I know — any team that comes in with lofty expectations and starts a season 0-2, there is definite cause for concern. But this is nothing new in the NFL. Just look at the Cincinnati Bengals. They started last season 0-2 and went to the AFC championship game.
While it’s not a great omen, there have been 39 teams since the AFL-NFL merger back in 1970 to make the playoffs after an 0-2 start. And, according to Luke Norris of FanSided, there is still hope. In fact, the Vikings are a part of the list. Minnesota and their opponents this week, the LA Chargers, both started 0-2 in the 2008 season. Both teams would finish with 10+ wins and advance to the postseason.
So, as it turns out, there is no major need to hit that panic button yet for the Vikings fan base. But if the team starts 0-3, there may be a more legitimate reason to raise some red flags.
As Dustin Baker notes, having the 0-2 mark does not sit well with the national media. But why should we, as a fan base, not be hitting that panic button despite the 0-2 start? Let’s take a little bit of a deeper dive…
No Need To Hit Panic Button for Vikings Fans, Even With 0-2 Mark
It’s only September. Sure, while there is some meaningful football to play in the first month, and 0-2 is a disappointing beginning, there is still plenty of season to go through.
One positive thing that fans can take away is that quarterback Kirk Cousins is one of the leaders of the offense, and he is putting together a hot start to the year already. Through two contests, Cousins is second to only Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in passing yards (708 for Cousins, 715 for Tagovailoa) and tied for the NFL lead with NFC North rival QB Jordan Love with six passing touchdowns.
The 72.7% completion rate also makes Cousins third in the NFL behind Buffalo slinger Josh Allen and Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Meanwhile, fourth-year star wide receiver Justin Jefferson is tops in the NFL with 309 receiving yards already through two games. If he can keep up the pace, he could be bound for a 2,000-yard receiving season, a feat never accomplished in the league’s history. The closest anyone has gotten to that fabled mark? Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson with 1964 total yards in the 2012 season.
Don’t Let The Defense Get the Fans Down
Sure, while the defense may not be as effective as seasons past, they still do a fair job of holding their own. Danielle Hunter already has four sacks in the first two games, and with this being a contract year for him, Hunter may very well be forcing the Vikes’ hand to give him more money.
All told, Minnesota is one of the better tackling defenses in the NFL through the first couple of weeks, registering 167 total tackles to this point.
Another positive note to take away is that when third down comes, Minnesota is one of the more stout defenses early on. Through two games, in 31 opportunities to convert on third down, the Vikes’ D has only allowed 12 conversions, only a 38.7% conversion rate, tied for 15th-best in the league along with the Indianapolis Colts.
So, while the statistics suggest that the fans should not be hitting the panic button yet, they will need to turn things around. They only have one interception and a -6 turnover ratio.
History Says Panic Button Need Not Be Involved… Yet
The old adage would say that fortune favors the brave. To be fair, the Vikings have been brave, with a bit of a difficult draw to start the season. And the schedule shouldn’t be a panic button not either, necessarily.
Tampa Bay and Philadelphia were relatively difficult match-ups while looming games against the LA Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Francisco 49ers make the first half of the schedule a true gauntlet.
That shouldn’t be why people need to look to the panic button. But, after seeing some nasty remarks on social media toward Mattison after last Thursday’s game, there is a bit of turmoil surrounding the team at the moment.
While 0-2 is undoubtedly a stressful opening start to the season, the schedule is still very young. And there is plenty of time for the Vikings to turn things around. So, Vikings fans, don’t press that panic button just yet. With three and a half months still of football to go, there is still hope that you can make the playoffs again. You were 0-2 in the 2008-09 season and still made it to the dance. Why can’t history repeat itself? Don’t give up after just two games. Learn to roll with the punches, and I’m sure things will be just fine.