Stock Up, Stock Down — Vikings Week 1 Loss

Jordan Addison Eyeing
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

A Week 1 loss is not how the Minnesota Vikings wanted to begin the 2023 season, especially since they are coming off a magical 13-4 season. Many expected the team to decline, but it happened faster than the franchise hoped for, at home, against an 8-9 team that lost Tom Brady in the offseason. Too many critical mistakes cost the Vikings the game.

Stock Up, Stock Down — Vikings Week 1 Loss

Even losses produce some winners but, of course, also some losers.

Stock Up – Camryn Bynum

The safety had an underwhelming season in 2022 as a first-year starter. He looked fairly slow on multiple occasions, blowing coverage was a weekly theme, and he wasn’t much help in the running game.

Stock Up, Stock Down -- Vikings Week 1 Loss
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

His Week 1 performance, however, was much better. The third-year player was much more comfortable. He quickly identified opposing plays and made some key plays. His ten tackles led the Vikings. Many have been trying to bench the college cornerback since the 2022 offseason, but his starting role is safe.

Bynum logged 67 of 68 defensive snaps. The lone play without him was the first one he has missed in his career as a starter after appearing in all 1,161 in 2022.

Stock Down – Running Game

It would be unfair to single out the running backs, the offensive line, or the play-calling. The whole unit played a disastrous game. Coming into the season, it was a big point of emphasis to improve the shaky running game, but that hasn’t happened.

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Alexander Mattison racked up a disappointing 34 yards on 11 carries, and his backup, Ty Chandler, failed to pick up any yardage on three carries. Both combined had 2.4 rushing yards per attempt on 14 runs. The Buccaneers have a decent run defense, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for the continued struggles.

The running game’s job is to gain a few yards to set up third-and-short instead of losing yards to set up third-and-long. In addition to that, it opens up the play-action game, which is Kirk’s superpower, but that doesn’t work if nobody is biting on the run fake.

Stock Up – Jordan Addison

The rookie looked like he belonged on an NFL field. He was born to be a professional receiver. Everything Addison does is just natural ability paired with a great understanding of the game. The former USC and Pittsburgh standout fired up 61 yards on four receptions and added a wonderful touchdown grab to the highlight tape.

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His ability to set up defenders to get open will help the Vikings in the 2023 season and beyond and take some pressure off Justin Jefferson. He will be in the spotlight on Thursday when the Eagles can replicate their 2022 success and take Jefferson out of the game.

On the flip side, veteran K.J. Osborn couldn’t make the plays when it mattered. While he shouldn’t be blamed for either play, it would’ve been nice if he hauled in the pass that led to the interception or a third-down throw that was overthrown but not totally out of reach.

Stock Down – Brian Asamoah

The starting linebacker in Brian Flores’ defense logged a mind-boggling number of snaps. He was on the field on two of the 68 defensive plays. Jordan Hicks played 66, rookie Ivan Pace 46, and Troy Dye 2. In addition to the traditional linebackers, the Vikings had safety Josh Metellus lined up as a linebacker at times.

Vikings Nemesis Hints
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scores a touchdown against Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

Kevin O’Connell was asked about Asamoah during his post-game presser but didn’t reveal anything besides saying that he would look into snap counts and that the sophomore missed time in training camp.

Pace pushed him for snaps with a great training camp and preseason. The upcoming games will tell if it was just matchup-based and taking care of a not-fully healthy player or if he lost his job.

Stock Up – Run Defense

Tampa Bay isn’t famous for running the ball, but they hired a new offensive coordinator, and he tried to run the ball early in the matchup. But that didn’t work. Rachaad White ran for 39 yards on 17 carries, Sean Tucker logged 15 yards on six attempts, and Chase Edmonds added eight yards on two tries. Sixty-two yards on 25 carries is an average of under 2.5, so basically what the Vikings did.

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Dean Lowry looked like a decent addition to the defensive line in his first Vikings game, and Harrison Phillips played at a Pro Bowl level. The edge defenders set the edge, and the linebackers hit the right holes and made plays.

It should still be added that the Buccaneers had the worst rushing offense last year, and their offensive line is suspect. The Eagles will be a different kind of test on Thursday.

Stock Down – Offensive Line

Every year, Vikings fans enter the season hopeful that the offensive line has been fixed, just to be disappointed early in the season. Cousins was often under pressure, and the running backs had nowhere to go.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The decision-makers referred to continuity as the reason why the line would be better in 2023, but that hasn’t worked. Ed Ingram hilariously forcing a fumble (for non-Vikings fans) added to the unacceptable performance.

Neither the passing nor the running game can work without a solid offensive line, and the Vikings are in trouble if they can’t fix the issue.

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