12 Snap Reactions after Buccaneers at Vikings

justin jefferson
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

From a suggestion by a reader, we continue our “snap reactions” weekly piece this season detailing thoughts and analysis after a Minnesota Vikings game.

12 Snap Reactions after Buccaneers at Vikings

This will be off-the-cuff, a wee bit “random,” and hopefully insightful.

The Vikings lost 20-17 in Week 1 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a puzzling, out-of-nowhere defeat for a team that won 13 games and a division title one year ago.

after Buccaneers
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1 – If a team is going to turn the football over three times without forcing any of its own, it must play mistake-free football otherwise to still win. Of course, the Week 1 Vikings did not play mistake-free football before and after the three giveaways, so they lost. Before Sunday’s games, NFL teams that lost the turnover battle 0-3 had a win-loss record of 70-732-4 (.089) in such games since 1966.

2 – There’s no other way to dice it — this Week 1 contest was the easiest on the Vikings schedule, on paper, mainly because it was at home against a Baker Mayfield-led team. Minnesota blew it, and now fans must wait to determine if this was a fluky Week 1 ordeal or if the team flat-out isn’t very good.

3 – The new Brian Flores defense looked absolutely wonderful for most of the 1st Half. It felt weird and refreshing, fast defenders hungry for the ball and opposing playmakers. Then, the 2nd Half arrived, and it seemed Baker Mayfield and Co. had them figured out with dink-and-dunk plays. Tampa Bay’s medicine worked.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

4 – If you’re an optimist, Jordan Addison’s Week 1 heroics were incredibly promising. The man looks the part. It’s too bad the team’s sloppiness vastly overshadowed his individual performance.

5 – Social media tried to make a thing out of Justin Jefferson acting mad on the sidelines after the loss. Jefferson was asked after the loss if his feelings regarding the team + his contract changed, and he replied, “Not really. I have the same mindset as I had before. At the end of the day, all I can do is play football. And that’s what I continue to do. I know my team. My team doesn’t care about the contract, you know? And I don’t either. I just want to be here for my teammates, play for my teammates, and, of course, get these wins.”

We’re really going to do this after every game, huh? Ask him about the contract when it’s quite evident both sides will revisit the extension talks in the offseason. Lunacy.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

6 – Multiple Vikings players and coaches told anyone who would listen in the last eight months that they want to run the ball more and do so more effectively. With the new mantra intact, Minnesota did neither.

7 – Kirk Cousins sponsored three turnovers, although many Vikings fans were quick to say, “They weren’t his fault.” While those statements may be true, how long will the Vikings continue to endure the turnovers with a slogan un-blaming Cousins? At some point, it doesn’t really matter if the giveaways were his fault or not. Fix it — with or without Cousins.

8 – The Buccaneers totally dominated the time of possession battle in the 2nd Half, a death blow to a purple team that couldn’t stop with the dumb errors.

9 – Before Trey Palmer’s touchdown, Minnesota was ready to get off the field with a field goal surrendered. But then an offside penalty arose, and Tampa Bay transformed three points into seven. That is how tight football games are lost. Plain and simple.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

10 – Write this down — every kicker ever hits career-long field goals against Minnesota. That’s the real “curse.” Former Viking Chase McLaughlin banged through a 57-yarder on Sunday because, of course, he did.

11 – Even if the Vikings play a pristine game at Philadelphia on Thursday night, they’ll likely lose. The Eagles are a Top 3 NFL team, and Minnesota showed its follies in playing at that stadium last year. All of this is shaping up for Week 3 at home versus the Los Angeles Chargers as a do-or-die game — a too-early part of the season for such stakes.

12 – If the 1st Half defense formulated by Flores is closer to the truth than the 2nd Half — and the Vikings eventually eliminate the costly mistakes on offense — this football team can actually be quite good. It’s waiting to see if either will happen in tandem that’s the hard part.

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.