The Central Vikings Debates of the 2022 Season

A Look at the Lions in Week 14
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) gets instrucyion from head coach Kevin O'Connell in the first quarter game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Generally speaking, Josh Frey and I have been participating in some Vikings debates. Every Friday for the past several weeks, we have gone back and forth on topics that are pertinent to the team. Given that it was an unusual week, we decided to avoid doing one this week. Instead, we’re circling back to some of the topics.

So far, we have ventured into 7 Vikings debates. Take a look at the topics we’ve covered:

Some of these topics are dead and gone. The trade deadline has passed, so there isn’t much room to discuss whether Adofo-Mensah ought to pursue a trade (spoiler: he brought in T.J. Hockenson to help the offense). Other topics are still fresh in many people’s minds. Just how good are the Vikings? Does the QB1 need to play better? How concerning are the recent performances from Minnesota’s defense?

These are questions we’ll continue asking as we proceed into the final third of the year.

Ongoing Vikings Debates

Being able to conclusively answer the lingering questions that hang over Minnesota’s season goes beyond the scope of this piece. Nevertheless, we can explore a couple of the topics in a brief manner.

The defense, for instance, remains a concern for many. Indeed, one of the preeminent Vikings debates rests in whether Ed Donatell’s group is good enough for Minnesota to make a deep playoff push. There have been exemplary performances from several individual players – Za’Darius Smith, Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Patrick Peterson foremost among them.

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Nevertheless, the team has had some struggles. Heading into the Thanksgiving game, the Vikings were allowing an average of 23.1 points per game. The offense was only coming in at 22.9 points per game, so the discrepancy certainly does raise some concern.

We may also think of Kirk Cousins, a player who never fails to inspire disagreement. When it comes to Vikings debates, Cousins can ignite them like no other. His massive salary and strong-but-not-elite play can lead to some heated exchanges.

Overall, I’m pleased with how Cousins has played, and I believe you should be, as well. His 5 game-winning drives are the most of his career. His stats aren’t abundant but the wins have been. During the offseason, pretty much any Vikings fan would have been very pleased with team’s record at this stage.

Looking Ahead

Minnesota has gotten through 11 games; 6 remain. When we look at the previous Vikings debates, do we see any clues for how things may go in the coming weeks?

The QB, of course, will remain critical to the team’s success, and yet one wonders if the offense would be wise to start leaning on the run game more. Doing so could, in turn, make life easier for the defense. The theory is simply that dominating the time of possession could help Ed Donatell’s group to become stingier.

Finally, I’ll merely note that several fresh Vikings debates remain. Can the team rely on the special teams, especially the kicking? Does the offensive line have what it takes to allow the skill to thrive? Will the corner depth cause the defense to keep springing leaks?

Stay tuned, Vikings fans. I don’t know if this team will be the one that finally wins it all, but I do know it won’t be dull.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.

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