The Vikings Went from a Bad “Good Team” to a Good “Bad Team”

Vikings Can Deal With
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The 2022 Minnesota Vikings set an NFL record with an 11-0 record in one-score games, and the 2023 Minnesota Vikings are now the first team in 20 years to lose six fumbles in the first two games to start a season.

The Vikings Went from a Bad “Good Team” to a Good “Bad Team”

A telling stat almost on its own, the latest rendition of Vikings football is finding ways to lose, to the tune of a 0-2 record, because it is gift-wrapping the football to teams via fumble.

Went from a Bad
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Accordingly, with two games in the books for head coach Kevin O’Connell’s second season, Minnesota went from a bad good team to a good bad team — if that can believed.

The club coined a “situational masters” slogan last year, which has speedily transformed into “merchant of fumbles.” Fumbles ravaged the Vikings chances of defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, and fumbles canceled any hopes of an upset at Philadelphia on Thursday Night Football.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Of course, the Vikings aren’t utterly flawless everywhere else around the enterprise: The Eagles running backs abused the middle of Minnesota’s defense, the Vikings refuse to run the ball on offense, and quarterback Kirk Cousins is getting knocked around in the pocket like it’s a Netflix documentary.

Even with those follies, the turnovers are the bane of the 2023 Vikings first two games. Subtract those sins, and the Vikings are a 1-1 football team and perhaps even 2-0.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Some folks claim that all the luck the Vikings owned last year has vanished — and the nasty stuff or bad luck from Vikings history has returned. The team’s best player is fumbling out of the endzone. The punt returner produces a dazzling run-back and promptly fumbles. K.J. Osborn is dropping passes like your kid spills a beverage at the dinner table. Ed Ingram is forcing fumbles like the Sultan of Swat. The opposing kickers are connecting on field goals of 57 yards or more.

The Vikings are paying the piper for 2022. Plain and simple.

O’Connell said after the loss to the Eagles, “You lose the turnover battle 4-1. 7-1 in turnovers lost in two games, and we’ve lost by a combined nine points to two playoff teams from a year ago. So clearly, I’ve gotta coach it better from a standpoint of something we talk about every single day – ball security is a major, major focus in our football philosophy, but clearly I need to do a better job.”

The Vikings turnover differential (-6) is damn near rivaling the points differential (-9).

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

“And our staff, we need to go back and continue to find ways to re-emphasize how important it is when you have the football in your hands playing for the Minnesota Vikings. Because like I said, we’re really not giving ourselves clean opportunities to win these games, the way we’ve started,” O’Connell concluded.

The moral of the story? Watch for the next time that the Vikings have a turnover-less game. They’ll probably win — no matter the opponent.


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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