Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was going over some things at the TCO Performance Center in Egan on Monday morning when a defensive player walked into his office.
The season-opening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t even last 24 hours, and this particular player, whom Zimmer declined to name, had some ideas about what happened last Sunday in an overtime defeat in Cincinnati. Where were the Vikings going after?
“He said, ‘I think we can be really good,'” Zimmer said. “I have the same feeling. I think we still have a chance to have a good team. I know we didn’t show it, in fact, on the second day in all three stages. But there are a lot of things that I look forward to.” I am very good.”
It may very well be coach speaking to Zimmer, a calculated effort to keep the fan base and players positive in a sea of negativity, but that said, the Vikings actually put some good stuff on film against the Bengals.
Although the insane number of penalties was the main story, and the shaky play of the offensive line left something to be desired, when the Vikings went out of their way, they showed flashes of potential.
Here are a few things that stood out.
While most people will remember that Dalvin Cook threw the ball in overtime, and rightly so, the Vikings were successful in getting the ball rolling throughout the game. Now, this came up against the Bengals, who, well, let’s be honest, aren’t exactly the 1985 Chicago Bears; But the Vikings have proven guilt to playmakers who win on a consistent basis, and that’s not going to change.
In addition to Cook, receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are consistently in the open, and receiver KJ Osborne is beginning to emerge as a viable option. Collectively, the Vikings have some of the best offensive weapons in the league, with quarterback Kirk Cousins leading the way. If the Cousins can get the ball to their playmates – and a lot of it falls on the offensive line – the Vikings still have a chance to make some noise.
better pass rush
How bad was the Vikings Pass crowd last season? The unsuccessful experiment was that defensive end Yannick Ngakou led the Vikings in the sacks despite playing only six games with the team. Overall, the Vikings finished with 23 sacks, leaving behind the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Bengals, respectively, for the lowest production in the league.
Which is exactly why the Vikings have invested so heavily in their defensive line this off-season. He signed Dalvin Tomlinson and Sheldon Richardson as well as defensive ends Everson Griffen and Stephen Weatherly. Add comeback defensive tackle Michael Pierce and most important, superstar defensive end Danielle Hunter, and the pass was highly effective in the Rush season-opener – five sacks. If they can continue this trend, they’re going to make things harder for opposing quarterbacks.
sad nfc reply
Maybe the most promising thing to come out of Week 1 for the Vikings wasn’t even on the field at Paul Brown Stadium. While they suffered disappointing losses, the rest of the NFC North fought alongside the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. In fact, the Vikings currently sit atop NFC North based on tiebreakers, and yes, that point is being made very tongue in cheek.
Still, the fact that the division could be wide open certainly benefited the Vikings. Maybe the Packers will bounce back next week and throw quarterback Aaron Rodgers for 400 yards, but for now it seems certain that the Vikings are going to have a fighting chance in the NFC North.