Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Vikings Week 2 Loss Can Only be Attributed to One Major Issue

Vikings Week 2

The Vikings Week 2 matchup against Philadelphia was a must-win after a crippling home loss to the Bucs. It was a situation that Minnesota didn’t want to be in, on the road against the defending NFC champions with their hopes of another 12+ win season dwindling. The result was one of the more frustrating Viking losses in recent memory. It felt all too familiar watching Minnesota squander opportunities with a combination of dumb luck turnovers and sloppy football. The Vikings outplayed Philadelphia in a multitude of facets but couldn’t get out of their own way.

Minnesota Turnovers Have Been Crippling

Week 1 against the Bucs, the game was decided by Minnesota losing the turnover battle 3-0. Two of the three turnovers came on sloppy fumbles that led directly to points. Typically, turnover luck, especially when it comes to fumbles, swings game to game. That wasn’t the case in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Despite what looked like a great game plan, Minnesota again turned the ball over four times, all via fumble. They came in so many different flavors that it’s tough to pinpoint a singular issue to fix. One of them was a punt returner getting a little too over his skis on a big return. Another came with Justin Jefferson extending for the sideline and the loose ball flew past the pylon for a touchback.

At this point, with fumbles having cost the Vikings both of their first two games, it needs to be addressed. Kevin O’Connell’s staff is going to have to make taking care of the ball a bigger emphasis. It doesn’t matter how prolific their receivers are or how well the staff schemes them open if drives are constantly ending in turnovers. Against the Eagles, every single fumble either directly led to points or took them off the board for Minnesota. Bad turnover games can happen, but they can’t happen back-to-back for teams with playoff aspirations. If the Vikings want to salvage their season, they desperately need to resolve their fumbling issues.

Other Vikings Week 2 Culprits

Backup Offensive Linemen

Teams don’t ever want to see Philadelphia on the schedule with a banged-up offensive line. Minnesota came into the game down a center in Garrett Bradbury and largely without star tackle Christian Darrisaw. That meant a healthy dose of backup center Austin Schlottmann and swing tackle Oli Udoh. Sprinkle in another horrendous performance from second-year starting guard Ed Ingram, and now it’s really a party. Those three guys were a key reason the Vikings lost Thursday night. They managed to keep Kirk Cousins under duress all game.

The most crippling play came from Udoh to start the second half. He allowed Josh Sweat to get leverage on him and essentially go unblocked to the quarterback for a strip sack. In addition to the constant pressure they allowed, there was also no push in the run game. Having to abandon the run and play action allowed the Eagles defensive front to pin its ears back and go after the quarterback. Minnesota is going to have to get Bradbury and Darrisaw back soon if Cousins is to survive the season.

Harrison Phillips and Jordan Hicks

The Eagles figured something out mid-way through the second quarter when they started gashing Minnesota on the ground. If Eagles Offensive Coordinator Brian Johnson had run the ball up the middle every play, Minnesota may not have stopped them once. Harrison Phillips and Jordan Hicks were supposed to be the anchors up front against the run. Instead, they got blown off the ball by Philadelphia’s offensive line play after play. D’Andre Swift rarely had to evade any tacklers on his way to 175 yards on the ground. Phillips also had a costly offsides call in the game, which doesn’t help his case. A week after effectively taking the run away from the Bucs, Minnesota can be hopeful that the performance was an aberration.

Vikings Week 2 Performers

Kirk Cousins

Nobody needed a bounce-back game more than the veteran quarterback on an expiring contract coming into Philly. For as maligned as he’s been, Kirk Cousins delivered a borderline immaculate performance in prime time. Sure, fans will blame Cousins for the strip sack to start the second half. As mentioned above, there really wasn’t much he could have done with Sweat attacking his blind side. Aside from the fumble, it’s difficult to find a single play where Kirk missed a throw or made a bad read. It was good to see him recover after a really tough game against Tampa.

In many ways, it was honestly what should have been expected from Kirk, and it’s part of the frustrating dilemma with him. Cousins is always at his best when it doesn’t seem to matter. He played an almost perfect game, yet it didn’t contribute to winning. If Cousins is going to help save Minnesota’s season, he’s going to have to turn these types of performances in consistently.

Josh Metellus

Some folks were wondering why the Vikings made extending Josh Metellus a priority mere days before the start of the regular season. His play through the first two weeks has answered all questions. Metellus has made the leap from special teams contributor to stud safety overnight. It’s somewhat reminiscent of when Adam Thielen made the same jump on the offensive side of the ball a decade ago. Maybe it’s something that should have been seen coming; his teammates respected him enough to elect him a replacement captain in 2022.

When Metellus went down for a brief period in the first half, the void was immediately noticeable. Devonta Smith cooked his replacement for a long gain that led to the first points of the half. He’s also played exceptionally as an in the box safety on Brian Flores’ constantly shifting fronts. Props to the coaching staff for identifying the improvement and communicating it to the front office. Now it looks like Minnesota has one of their young stalwarts under contract at a very reasonable rate for the foreseeable future.

Universal Responsible Gambling Disclaimer:

Ages 21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Main Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message