It’s been well documented that the Vikings have not exactly gotten off to the most spectacular start this season. In fact, through two games, this has looked like one of the worst teams in the entire NFL if you look at the scoring differential, or at just football.
This Sunday against Tennessee, there is one easy thing that they can do to greatly improve their chances of winning. And no, it’s not benching Kirk Cousins or firing Mike Zimmer. It has absolutely nothing to do with personnel.
Ten Minutes of Hell
Minnesota must do better at closing the first half. I don’t even care if they don’t score (though it would help), they just can’t let the other team put the game away going into halftime. In the final five minutes of the second quarter, the Vikings are being outscored 22-3, for a deficit of 19 points just in these ten minutes. They are also the only team to score fewer than six points in this time.
For the remaining 110 minutes that they’ve played this season, they’ve been outscored by just seven points. Still not great obviously, but certainly not a difference that makes this team one of the worst in the NFL.
It’s hard to put into perspective just how bad these ten minutes have been for the Vikings. It is the worst total of any team in the first two games, and there are just three other teams that have been bad enough to have deficits of 10 points or more during this time. These three are the New York Giants, the Cleveland Browns (who had to endure the onslaught of the Baltimore Ravens offense), and the Carolina Panthers.
You want to know who the best two teams during these five minutes have been? The Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis scored 10 points during this time in week one against Jacksonville, and Green Bay scored seven points against the Lions last week. I’m bringing this up to say that it isn’t just the Vikings that have been giving up points to these teams. They just oddly have had to face the best in back-to-back weeks.
Week three brings a tough matchup with the Tennessee Titans, but the Titans scored zero points to end the first half against Denver, and split with the Jaguars 10-10 in week two. If the Vikings can keep this trend going, they will be set up in a much better position to win this game.