The Vikings Strange Predicament through 6 Games

Cam Akers Transition
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The Minnesota Vikings scored a scruffy victory last weekend at Soldier Field, downing the Chicago Bears 19-13 in a game where both offenses played pretty brutally.

It was the Vikings first game without Justin Jefferson attached to the roster since the 2019 season.

The Vikings Strange Predicament through 6 Games

And while Minnesota hopes to right the ship with a 2-4 record in Week 7 and beyond, it has really bizarre feature: according to Pro Football Focus, the Vikings are the NFL’s ninth-best team per its scoring system but have the seventh-worst record.

Vikings Strange Predicament
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Indeed, through six games, the Vikings have fetched an overall 82.0 team grade from PFF — weirdly better than the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, and Los Angeles Chargers, for example. But then Kevin O’Connell’s team has a worse win-loss record than the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, and Indianapolis Colts, to name a few.

In a season of oddities, the PFF discrepancy is the latest. The Vikings rank last in the NFL per giveaways (fumbles + interceptions handed to opponents), time of possession, and rushing playcall percentage, but also have very few penalties, have no problem producing explosive plays on offense, and are limiting explosive plays on defense.

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Here’s the Vikings full PFF report card after Week 6:

  • Overall Team Grade = 9th
  • Overall Offense = 5th
  • Passing Offense = 6th
  • Rushing Offense = 26th
  • OL Pass-Blocking = 3rd
  • OL Run-Blocking = 1st
  • Overall Defense = 15th
  • Run Defense = 13th
  • Pass Coverage = 7th
  • Tackling = 17th
  • Pass Rush = 31st
  • Special Teams = 22nd

The efficient part of the PFF metric will be tested this Monday as the San Francisco 49ers invade Minneapolis for a primetime showdown. San Francisco is considered the league’s second-best team per PFF, right behind the Miami Dolphins. The club fell to 5-1 — must be rough — last weekend after rookie kicker Jake Moody missed a would-be game-winning field goal at the Cleveland Browns from 41 yards away.

The 49ers are favored by a touchdown to defeat the Vikings.

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The Vikings also have the NFL’s looming trade deadline to consider. If Minnesota pulls off the upset over San Francisco, perhaps its season is salvageable, and it can become a buyer of assets before the Halloween trade deadline. Another loss or two, however, might tip Minnesota into the seller’s market.

Players like Danielle Hunter, Jordan Hicks, K.J. Osborn, and of course, Kirk Cousins have swirled in the trade rumor mill.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

No matter what, though, there’s a good DNA somewhere in the Vikings. Ranking ninth-best among 32 teams cannot be accidental. As the slogan has gone for about a month, if Minnesota could produce some games sans fumbles and interceptions, maybe wins would follow.

The Vikings haven’t defeated a non-Bears opponent on Monday Night Football since Week 1 of 2017.


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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