National Opinion of Vikings Continues to Sink

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Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander (24) in the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

Stranded in a desert of temporarily unfulfilled playoff hopes, the national opinion of the Minnesota Vikings is rapidly tumbling.

And it’s a desert because the Vikings fell to 0-2 after a makeable missed field goal canceled the team’s chances of winning in Arizona during Week 2. For now, it’s one of “those” seasons for the Vikings.

The time to fix it is now. The Vikings travel home to Minneapolis for a three-game set consisting of the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, and Detroit Lions. It’s the first time in the young history of U.S. Bank Stadium the Vikings play three straight games at home.

Last year, Minnesota hosted three consecutive contests, but fans were not present. Because of its first of its kind nature and the Vikings overall success inside the building, this is the segue the team needs to battle back from 0-2.

But national punditry is unconvinced of the theory. On the whole, the nationwide media powers-that-be cast Minnesota a very poor team. The slim margin of victory by the Vikings opponents evidently sways opinion very little.

Here’s a look at the current temperature of the Vikings by onlookers:

That’s pretty depressing, especially for a franchise that hoped to make a deep playoff push in 2021. Danny Kelly from The Ringer said this about Minnesota in the outfit’s Week 3 Power Rankings:

At the very least, I enjoy watching the Vikings offense. The Vikings should have beaten the Cardinals, and they would have if kicker Greg Joseph hadn’t missed a 37-yarder with four seconds to go in the game. But after starting 0-2, Minnesota has dug itself into a deep hole. We’ll find out whether Kirk Cousins and Co. can dig themselves out, but in the meantime I’m going to just enjoy watching this offense. The Vikings have apparently become appointment viewing for fans of offensive football: Cousins seems to turn into an All Pro–level quarterback when he’s faced with a big deficit, and the skill-player triumvirate of Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, and Dalvin Cook is always up for a big play or three.

Mark it down somewhere – a national entity speaking highly of Cousins. It’s a rarity.

Indeed, Cousins dragged his team back from defeat in two games to start 2021. Yet, the follies of others and mind-boggling heartbreak have nullified his efforts. Folks from the “quarterback wins” crowd still finger Cousins for blame, but the general population can reasonably attest Cousins put the Vikings in a spot to win two weeks in a row.

Now the defense has to follow — and head coach Mike Zimmer adores defense. Meanwhile, his players have not answered the call on that side of the ball yet in 2021.

Upfront, the group has not wholly jelled:

In the back, the personnel is lousier.

 

This is where Zimmer must pinpoint his corrections – on defense. The offense showed two games in a row it’s capable of big plays, courtesy of Cousins. The unit will continue to coagulate week by week. But the defense is what needs tender love and care.

If the defense does not improve, the Vikings will live in this seventh-worst spot indefinitely per ESPN, Yahoo, The Ringer, etc. The season will essentially feel like the pandemic season – big on offense, whimpers on defense.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).



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