Reason For Hope? Despite 0-3 Start, Vikings Lead The League In A Number Of Good Statistical Categories
The Minnesota Vikings are off to a miserable start when you look at the win-loss column. The team, which won an unbelievable number of close games last year, has yet to win a game this year. All of those games have been decided by just one score.
Despite the brutal 0-3 start, largely attributed to the team's league-leading fumble and turnover differential stats, there are some real highlights on the team.
There's a tendency among a sizable contingent of fans to blame Kirk Cousins for the team's woes. Whether highlighting his hefty salary or his perceived inability to win in clutch situations or during primetime games, Kirk and aspects of the team's offense are leading the league.
Here's a look at what has been hurting the team this year
The Vikings lead the league in turnovers, giving the ball away 9 times in 3 games.
- Vikings: 9 (7 fumbles, 2 interceptions)
- Commanders: 8 (5 interceptions, 3 fumbles)
- Browns: 7 (5 fumbles, 2 interceptions)
- Raiders: 7 (6 interceptions, 1 fumble)
- Bears: 6 (4 interceptions, 2 fumbles)
When it comes to the +/- element of the turnover game, the Vikings have given the ball away 9 times, and only made up for it by collecting one interception and recovering one fumble to tie for the league lead for a differential of -7.
- Vikings: -7
- Raiders: -7
- Browns: -5
- Giants: -5
- Bears: -4
While not the worst in the league, the Vikings' defense is toward the bottom of the league in most categories through three games. Here's a breakdown:
- Total yards given up this season: 6th worst in the NFL
- Yards given up per game: 7th worst in the NFL
- Total passing yards given up this season: 7th worst in the NFL
- Passing yards given up per game: 8th worst in the NFL
- Total rushing yards given up this season: 14th worst in the NFL (Middle of the pack...not quite so bad, right?
- Rushing yards given up per game: 15th worst in the NFL (Again, middle of the pack)
- Total points allowed this season: 7th worst in the NFL
- Points allowed per game: 7th worst in the NFL
Poor rushing performances
The team added an offensive lineman and traded for Cam Akers to try to help with this. Despite Akers not playing, the team did improve in Week 3 against the Chargers. Even then, they are among the worst in the league running the ball.
Here's how the Vikings offense ranks rushing the ball through three games:
- Total yards: 5th worst in the NFL (199 yards)
- Yards per game: 2nd worst (66.3 yards)
- Rushing touchdowns: 0
By the way - Over half of the team's rushing yards came in their Week 3 game against the Chargers. Of the team's 199 total rushing yards this season, 130 of them (65%) came in the Chargers game.
The "silver linings" - Vikings players leading the NFL in good statistics
The Vikings offense - specifically the passing offense - is leading the league in a number of categories through three games. Kirk Cousins is leading the league in two different categories and is among the top quarterbacks in the league in a third category.
One thing to keep in mind with these statistics is Tua Tagovailoa/Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins just put up a 70-point game over the weekend, and Kirk and elements of the Vikings offense are still at the top of these categories.
- Kirk Cousins: 1,075 yards
- Tua Tagovailoa: 1,024 yards
- Justin Herbert: 939 yards
- C.J. Stroud: 906 yards
- Jared Goff: 819 yards
- Kirk Cousins: 9
- Tua Tagovailoa: 8
- Jordan Love: 7
- Patrick Mahomes: 7
- Justin Herbert: 6
- Tua Tagovailoa: 121.9
- Justin Herbert: 112.9
- Kirk Cousins: 108.2
- Brock Purdy: 106.3
- Baker Mayfield: 104.4
Justin Jefferson is also a league leader in a couple of significant categories - even though he only scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 3.
- Justin Jefferson: 458 yards
- Tyreek Hill: 412 yards
- Keenan Allen: 402 yards
- Davante Adams: 322 yards
- Chris Olave: 302 yards
20+ Yard Receiving Plays
- Justin Jefferson: 12
- Keenan Allen: 7
- Nico Collins: 7
- Tyreek Hill: 6
- CeeDee Lamb: 6
Note: The Vikings have no rushing touchdowns - but they lead the league in passing touchdowns.
- Vikings: 9
- Dolphins: 9
- Chargers: 7
- Chiefs: 7
- Packers: 7
Team Receiving Yards
- Dolphins: 1,091
- Vikings: 1,075
- Chargers: 988
- Texans: 906
- Chiefs: 834
Despite the lackluster defensive performance as a team, Danielle Hunter is among the league leaders so far this season in sacks.
- T.J. Watt: 6
- Danielle Hunter: 5
- Myles Garrett: 4.5
- Matt Judon: 4
- Micah Parsons: 4
So here we are, 0-3. Will the Vikings right the ship? Will they "blow it up" and look to trade some key pieces to set themselves up for next year in the NFL Draft and beyond? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, the Vikings share the NFC North basement with the Bears.
- Packers 2-1
- Lions 2-1
- Vikings 0-3
- Bears 0-3
For fans who are already ready to give up, thankfully NHL and NBA season is coming soon. The Twins are also heading to the playoffs - though we'll have to wait and see if they can get past the first round.