12 Snap Reactions after Chargers at Vikings

Jeffrey Becker-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 Chargers at Vikings

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

The Vikings lost 28-24 in Week 3 at home against the Los Angeles Chargers, dropping Kevin O’Connell’s team to 0-3 and seriously hampering any postseason aspirations.

after Chargers
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

1 – In 2022, the Vikings found ways to win against all odds. In 2023, the Vikings find ways to lose against all odds.

2 – The most significant problem with the Vikings record is two losses at home. U.S. Bank Stadium used to be a fortress for Vikings dominance. Now, they’ve lost three straight at their house and needed mini-miracles to win the two before that (2022: IND, NYG). If the Vikings lost on the road at Tampa Bay, at home against the Eagles, and then on the road again versus the Chargers, maybe the 0-3 start would be easier to stomach. But nope. Good teams win football games at home, and the Vikings, for now, aren’t a good team.

3 – In the loss to Tampa Bay, fans could reasonably blame fumbles or rust for the undesirable result. Thereafter, they fumbled ad nauseam at Philadelphia. Now, they’re dropping game-winning interceptions, beset by penalties, and fumbled once again. This is who the 2023 Vikings are — so close to putting it all together but so far away from last year’s late-game magic.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

4 – The Vikings feel like the 2020 or 2021 team — in that they’ll find a way to get hot at some point soon, but it will only result in an 8-9 record and an eye-rolling draft pick.

5 – Alexander Mattison finally getting off the schneid was encouraging, but implementing more rushing production was supposed to result in a win. It did not, and the run game got cooking during the same game when the defense allowed Justin Herbert to tally 405 passing yards. Nothing simultaneously positive happens for these Vikings through three games. It’s all disjointed examples of, “Well, that looked good.”

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

6 – Jordan Addison is and will be the real deal. He’s playing like a vet just three games into his career. And he’ll be around for 4.8 more years. Silver linings.

7 – Vikings long-term talkers, among fans, should turn to whether Justin Jefferson wants to stick around for a rebuild. Minnesota will likely part ways with Kirk Cousins after this season, and does Jefferson really want to stick around in his career’s prime and hope for some new rookie quarterback who eventually matures in Year 3 or so? Probably not. The byproduct of fans embracing a rebuild for the Cousins afterlife may mean no Justin Jefferson. Which is just brutal.

8 – Marcus Davenport’s backups continue to do next to nothing. Hopefully he returns soon. Until then, Minnesota will just blitz all the time without forcing any real pressure on quarterbacks.

9 – Camryn Bynum continues to impress and appears to have locked down a starter’s spot for good when Harrison Smith departs.

Vikings to Showcase
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

10 – With this current batch of players, Brian Flores’ blitz-all-the-time system might work against non-elite quarterbacks. But Herberts, Hurtses, Mahomeses, and Burrows will chew it up.

11 – Cam Akers and Dalton Risner will soon become acclimated to offense and playbook, which is wonderful, but is it too late? No team in NFL history has ever started 0-3 and later reached the Super Bowl.

12 – Sunday’s game may turn out to be rather pivotal in recent Vikings history. In a backs-against-the-wall game — at home — Minnesota came up short, sending the win-loss record to a gloomy 0-3. It could be the game folks look back on and realize the rebuild part of competitive rebuild came to life in that loss.

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.