4 Most Disappointing Developments from Vikings in Week 1

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The Minnesota Vikings allowed turnovers and put forth an inconsistent performance on Sunday, losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-17 to start the 2023 regular season.

4 Most Disappointing Developments from Vikings in Week 1

Brian Flores’ new defense looked magnificent for about two quarters, but after halftime, Tampa Bay figured out the Vikings tendencies and dinked-and-dunked the purple team to the tune of a three-point win.

Among many, these were the four most disappointing developments, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important or most disappointing).

4. Starting LB Brian Asamoah Hardly Played

Disappointing Developments
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The second-year defender was listed as starting linebacker for the 2023 Vikings last week. And on Sunday, Asamoah played two defensive snaps in four quarters.

This was the lay of the land on defense per snap count against the Buccaneers:

  • Byron Murphy: 68
  • Camryn Bynum: 67
  • Jordan Hicks: 66
  • Harrison Smith: 65
  • Akayleb Evans: 62
  • Harrison Phillips: 60
  • Danielle Hunter: 58
  • Josh Metellus: 57
  • D.J. Wonnum: 54
  • Ivan Pace Jr.: 46
  • Dean Lowry: 46
  • Patrick Jones: 40
  • Jonathan Bullard: 29
  • Mekhi Blackmon: 15
  • Khyiris Tonga: 9
  • Troy Dye: 2
  • Brian Asamoah: 2
  • Theo Jackson: 1
  • Benton Whitley: 1

A lot can change in the next 17 weeks, but Asamoah’s representation as a starter did not translate to the field in Week 1.

3. The Rushing Attack Whimpered

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All offseason, Minnesota insisted it wanted to run the football more in 2023 and rush the rock more efficiently.

The regular season arrived on Sunday, and the club did neither. The Vikings produced a menial 41 rushing yards on 2.4 yards per carry. The Buccaneers weren’t much better — 33 rushes for 73 yards — but Tampa Bay won and Minnesota did not.

So now, the Vikings must either head back to the drawing board and fulfill their run-the-ball promise, or the offense will be a 2022 redux because nothing changed from last year to this season, at least not through one game.

2. Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth Zero Snaps on Defense

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General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first two career draft picks did not play on defense — at all — versus Tampa Bay. They intermixed into special teams duty, but these men were not drafted in Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft to play special teams.

The Vikings defense performed competently in the 1st Half and struggled thereafter. Hypothetical impactful performances from Cine and Booth could’ve helped — in the way 1st- and 2nd- Rounders are supposed to deliver — but they’re apparently not ready to play defense.

This is not a good sign.

1. Giveaways and No Takeaways

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Minnesota coughed away the ball thrice and took it away zilch. This will generally spell doom in an NFL game, and Sunday was no different.

If the Vikings were destined to fumble twice and toss a pick once, they had to play mistake-free football the rest of the way to achieve a win. Of course, mistake-free football was an afterthought, and the team lost.

In O’Connell’s first season, the Vikings won close games by protecting the football and forcing a turnover or two. Minnesota’s 11-0 record in one-score games from last season was shattered to start 2023 because of the underwater turnover differential.

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.