Never Has It Been Easier to Identify the Problem

Vikings Handed Same
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The Minnesota Vikings have lost to the Chicago Bears for the first time since 2020, putting the hopes to win the NFC North for a second straight year to rest. Once again playing without the deadly duo Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, Kevin O’Connell’s operation couldn’t find their offense all day, gaining only 242 yards on offense.

Never Has It Been Easier to Identify the Problem

Never Has It Been Easier to Identify the Problem
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Gaining yardage was a struggle all night as the team went into the locker room at halftime with only 76 yards. The defense was lights out and made plays to keep the team in the game, at least until the final drive, but losing the time-of-possession battle by more than ten minutes surely hurt.

There shouldn’t be placed an ounce of blame on Brian Flores and his unit. They had to deal with short fields all game and made the best of it, holding the Bears to only 12 points. Justin Fields was mostly limited to throws behind the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s offense, the group that should be the heart and soul of the team, was lifeless besides one excellent drive in the fourth quarter that resulted in a touchdown pass from Joshua Dobbs to T.J. Hockenson.

An interesting contrast to many other games this year, the rushing attack is not to blame as the two running backs produced 60 yards on 14 carries. Those numbers are pathetic overall but with limited touches, they at least were acceptable. They also didn’t turn the ball over.

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However, at the end of the day, the turnovers killed the Vikings. Dobbs was credited with four interceptions. On the first one, he targeted Jordan Addison on a corner route but top cornerback Jaylon Johnson jumped the route and made a sweet grab. Certainly a pass he would like back but at least an understandable mistake. Dobbs either thought he could get it over him or he didn’t see him at all.

The second one was a Jordan Addison drop on a hard pass. Jaquon Brisker caught the pass. Once again a tipped pass, the third pick landed in the hands of linebacker TJ Edwards. K.J. Osborn was the target and Johnson defended him. Then on a first down, Dobbs was pressured and tried to throw out of a sack. The pass that was intended to be a throwaway ended up going right into the direction of a defensive lineman and Kyler Gordon made the catch.

Happened to Vikings
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Overall, Dobbs certainly had one of the worst games by a Vikings quarterback in the last few years. It should be noted in his defense that the receivers failed to create separation and when they were targeted, they failed to make contested catches. Brandon Powell was the bright spot in a disappointing receiving corps that was desperately missing Jefferson.

Regardless of whose fault they are, committing four turnovers is unacceptable. The Vikings have struggled to protect the ball all season and those woes continued on Monday. Minnesota is 16-0 with O’Connell on the sidelines when they win or tie the turnover battle. The blueprint is easy. Don’t turn the ball over and win the game. During the 2023 campaign, the Vikings have a record of 1-6 when they lose the TO battle and 5-0 when they at least tie. In the six losses, the Vikings gave the ball away a total of 17 times.

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Dobbs has been prone to committing turnovers and he is unlikely to change anytime soon. It is why he is a backup quarterback. His magical run at quarterback has been stopped after a couple of phenomenal performances.

For the sixth time in 2023, the Vikings will blame turnovers for a loss, and make it a point of emphasis, this time they even have a bye week. They have shown that they are a decent team if they hold on to the ball but if they can’t get rid of that one flaw, they might just not be a good football team, it is as simple as that.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt