A little over a month ago, I wrote an article about the Vikings titled “The Last Dance begins…” Now we are three weeks into the season, and my Vikings sit at 0-3, tied for last place in the NFC North with the Chicago Bears. Being anywhere near the Bears in the standings is a bad place to be, and quite frankly, it disgusts me that we can be compared to them at this point.
But that’s the reality. The Vikings are 0-3, the season may already be lost, Kevin O’Connell is in panic mode and Justin Jefferson is still not signed to a contract extension. Could anything be worse?
Enter Kirk Cousins trade rumors.
This topic is polarizing, to say the least. Some fans may want Kirk Cousins to pack his bags and get on the first flight out of Minnesota. Some look at his stats and say that he could make any team a contender. You could make an argument that Cousins has been the best QB in the NFL through three weeks. I mean, he leads the NFL in passing yards (1,075), touchdowns (9), completions (96) and completions of 20+ yards (17). For me, I think that trading Kirk Cousins is a mistake, at least right now. With an 0-3 start, the odds are stacked against you to make the playoffs, but if the Vikings want to be a team that beats the odds, you need Cousins. It is not unrealistic to say that the Vikings can go 4-2 in their next six games.
To begin, they will take on the Panthers, which should be a win. Then, the Chiefs. This one could get sticky. I think there is a chance, but let’s call it a loss. Week 6: Chicago. Win. Do I need to say anything more about them? Week 7: the 49ers. Ummmmmm, loss. Moving on. After them, we have the Packers, who have looked better than I expected, but I think that the Vikings can win that one. Then the trade deadline is two days later. If at this point the season has gone off the rails and there seems to be no hope, then I think it is reasonable to pull the trigger. But I wish it wasn’t. A week later, they take on the Falcons, who are a beatable team, and depending on if Kirk is on the team, I think they could win that one as well.
The next topic of conversation is the turnovers. Oh, the turnovers. Today, as I am writing this, Kevin O’Connell has threatened to bench players who cannot secure the ball. And while that is totally against his character to be someone that comes down on players, I think that to be a successful coach in this league, you cannot always do what the players want. You have to hold firm to the things you believe will help the team win, no matter the way your players view you. And maybe this isn’t a big topic to some, but to me it was a surprise to hear Kevin O’Connell and threatened in the same sentence. So maybe with the addition of Cam Akers, Mattison will see less playing time.
Which brings me to the additions the Vikings have made. Players I think will make a positive difference: Cam Akers, Dalton Risner, Jordan Addison, Ivan Pace Jr. and Josh Oliver. Akers will push Mattison to perform at a higher level while adding a bit of speed and elusiveness to the NFL’s worst rushing attack. Not much more to be said at the moment since he hasn’t played a down. Risner will make an impact just because of how excited he is to be a Viking. People often forget that football can be such a mental game, and because he is in the perfect mindset to be a Viking, I believe that he will succeed, wherever we decide to put him. Jordan Addison could win rookie of the year. Is what I would say if Bijan Robinson and Puka Nacua did not exist. The rookie has more receiving yards than DeVonta Smith, Calvin Ridley, Garrett Wilson, DeAndre Hopkins, Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown, just to name a few. But he has thrived due to the attention drawn by Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson and fit in perfectly with KOC’s scheme. I don’t think he has made me yell at the TV yet, which is something I can’t say for all of the players on this team. Pace and Oliver have been lower-impact players, but still have performed better than I expected, so they are at least worth a mention.
On the other side, I have a bone to pick with Dean Lowry, Marcus Davenport and K.J. Osborn (sometimes). I saw a tweet today saying that he has a 37.7 PFF grade and ZERO pressures in three games, ranking 48th out of 49 IDL who have played at least 100 snaps. So yeah, I would like to see more Jaquelin Roy. Marcus Davenport is looking more and more like the Michael Pierce signing from a few years ago. A high-risk, high-reward signing that could really help Danielle Hunter on the edge, but he has barely played a snap. I bet you had no idea that he was even active for the game against the Eagles. I just want to see him on the field. And for K.J., I love him, but I hate him. He makes so many good plays, but at the same time, there are so many concentration drops that really frustrate me and everyone else that watches the Vikings with me, and the bad has outweighed the good this season. There is still time and I don’t think that he is a bad player by any means, but as is the case for the entire team, there are things to clean up.
Obviously the turnovers and the defense have been an issue for the Vikings this year, but you hear about that stuff every week. I do believe that this season is salvageable, but it is going to take a lot of work and a decent amount of luck. But then again, I am a Vikings fan so I am delusional. For now, let’s just take it one game at a time. Carolina is up next, and I am ready to pound the ones that #KeepPounding. #Skol.
Header Photo: If this truly is Kirk’s final season, or final games, in purple, I could not be more happy for how he has played and the way he is turning the narrative around. My best wishes are always with the man, and I hope someday he wins a Super Bowl. (Abbie Parr/The Associated Press)
Write to Hayden Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org