Vikings Podcast: Not a Bears Bungle but Not a Bears Beatdown

The Caleb Williams crowd may be disappointed, but the Vikings pulled off a win at Soldier Field. The end result is a 2-4 record.

On the latest episode of Notes from the North — a Vikings podcast — Sizzlin’ Sam and I offer some analysis of what took place in The Windy City. Climbing to 1-0 in the NFC North is definitely a positive for Kevin O’Connell’s crew, but how much optimism can there be for this team? What should Vikings fans take away from the game?

Vikings Podcast: October 16th, 2023

Kirk Cousins didn’t have his best day at the office. Stepping back from the QB, though, may reveal a bit of a broader issue.

Right now, does the Vikings offense have a clear identity? Yes, Justin Jefferson is absent, and so much of what Minnesota does is predicated on the elite receiver. Can we really say, though, that the team’s offensive identity is wrapped up solely in the WR? If it is, does that need to change?

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) reacts with wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) after scoring his first career touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins (not pictured) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason brought all kinds of chatter about the importance of continuity and the benefits that would emanate from Cousins finally having the same playcaller in consecutive seasons. Optimism aside, the offense has easily been the most disappointing part of Minnesota’s season. When the expectation is elite, being average isn’t good enough.

The defense, in contrast, did a lot of good things. Jordan Hicks picked up a fumble and had the interception. He even scored a touchdown. Josh Metellus had the strip/sack while Danielle Hunter had a pair of sacks.

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker D.J. Wonnum (98) celebrates with linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) after a sack in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The excellent day for Hunter won’t quiet the queries about whether he’ll be traded. Ironically, one of the teams most often rumored to do business with the Vikings is the 49ers, the team that’s next up on the schedule. Don’t be surprised if Danielle Hunter is on San Francisco’s wish list. The long & strong Hunter would be welcome on all 32 NFL teams, but San Francisco actually has the cap space and Super Bowl ambitions to pull it off.

Sizzlin’ Sam pointed out that Kyle Shanhan’s crew will be super motivated to avoid dropping a pair of games in a row. He’s exactly right: San Francisco is going to come into U.S. Bank Stadium on Monday night with the aim of piling up points while getting after Cousins. Truth be told, I don’t see a purple path where victory occurs, but there’s a reason why the game needs to be played.

October 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) celebrates with running back Jordan Mason (24) after a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Folks who are into Vikings podcasts or think they’d like to get into Vikings podcasts should feel free to give Notes from the North a shot. Hop over to iTunes, Spotify, or Podbean. My understanding is that you don’t need an account at these spots. Just press play and enjoy the pod.

Enjoy the listening, Vikings fan.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.