Numbers Check: Offensive Outburst Not Enough to Propel the Vikings to a Win
The Minnesota Vikings looked like a completely different football team this week than the one that lost to the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend. The Vikings offense totaled 419 yards against the Cardinals on Sunday, but it wasn’t quite enough to topple the Arizona Cardinals. The Vikings lost 34-33 in heartbreaking fashion as Greg Joseph missed what would have been a game-winning field goal. The Vikings might be a better team overall, but Minnesota now sits at 0-2. Here are all the numbers you need to know following this week’s game.
While the Vikings offense as a whole was better this week, Dalvin Cook in particular looked like a completely different player. The Bengals bottled Cook up for most of week one, limiting him to 20 carries and 61 yards. This week, it took Cook just 16 minutes of game time to surpass the 61-yard threshold. A big part of that was due to the amount of big runs he was able to break off. Cook rushed for 10+ yards four times in the first half and finished the day with 22 carries for 131 yards. The offensive line did a great job of opening up holes for the veteran RB to run through, and he took full advantage throughout the day. Something to monitor going into the week is whether or not Cook is injured though after leaving the game multiple times throughout the day.
Last week the Vikings committed a frustrating 10 penalties just in the first half. False starts and holds were particularly troubling for the offensive line against the Bengals, and it was a big reason the Vikings couldn’t take advantage of the totality of their offense. In Arizona, the Vikings played much cleaner football. They committed just three penalties for 16 yards on the day: a false start on RT Brian O’Neill, false start on TE Ben Ellefson and a hold on LT Rashod Hill. A disciplined and improved offensive line will be massive not only this year, but given the contract situations, for years to come in Minnesota.
The Vikings have been in search of WR3 for quite some time, but K.J. Osborn seems to finally be their guy. Osborn now has 167 receiving yards through two games, which actually leads the team. Osborn got off to a very fast start in this one, catching a 64-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the game. If Osborn can consistently take some pressure off Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, the Vikings offense will be a headache for opposing defenses.
At the end of the day though, the Vikings did not make enough plays to secure a win. They almost got away with it, but especially on third down there was not enough success. Minnesota was just 2/10 on third down, for a conversion rate of 20%. There will probably be an article on this later in the week, but there were some questionable decisions made by both Cousins and the coaching staff on these plays. Luckily, Arizona wasn’t much better at 3/9, but Minnesota’s failure to convert ended far too many possessions. The team played very complacently in these situations, and despite Greg Joseph’s missed kick, this is probably the actual reason Minnesota lost.