After a disastrous Week 2 against the Packers it seems like Minnesota, in theory, should get a win this week against the also 1-1 Raiders. Oakland has some nice pieces but not the amount the Vikings have, and at home there isn’t an excuse to start the season 1-2.
With that said the Vikings have some clear problems after two weeks. Kirk Cousins was awful at Green Bay, and the offensive line remains well below average. The offense has allowed 23 pressures in those two games against the Falcons and Packers, tied for the 13th most in 2019 thus far, but the rate of pressure allowed makes the pass protection look so much worse.
The Vikings offense only has 47 dropbacks, the fewest in the league. Now the 23 pressures allowed looks way more concerning, and the 0.49 pressures allowed per dropback is the second most only trailing the Dolphins (0.52). The 20 pressures allowed against Green Bay was also second to Miami’s 23, and the 0.57 pressures allowed per dropback against were the most from any team that week.
For a team that loves running the football, this is not good.
On the flip side, the Raiders have dropped back 70 times, tied for eighth fewest in the league. Against the Chiefs the offensive line allowed 11 pressures and 0.26 pressures per dropback. On the season Oakland has allowed 0.21 pressures per dropback (tied for the seventh fewest) and 15 pressures total (tied for the fifth fewest).
That 11 of Oakland’s 15 pressures allowed came in Week 2 should give the Vikings hope with a more talented pass rush to swarm Derek Carr, but that doesn’t guarantee the other side won’t meet the same fate. For as much as Mike Zimmer emphasizes establishing the run, limiting Kirk Cousins’ passes, as poorly as he’s played this season, is not a good idea. Teams will figure this strategy out if Zimmer tries going back to the Week 1 game plan, and the end result won’t look pretty for Minnesota.
I expect the Vikings to be fine this week against Oakland, but then again I expected as much against the Bills last season (also in Week 3) and we all know how that turned out.