The Goal for The Minnesota Vikings Ahead of Their Bye

Over the past ten years, the Minnesota Vikings’ best season undoubtedly came in 2017. The Vikings finished 13-3 – 2nd overall in the NFC – and had one of the most exciting playoff wins in NFL history. These details sometimes hide the fact that the beginning of their season was underwhelming. The Vikings were a mere 2-2 after four weeks. The result was Everson Griffen‘s bold proclamation that the Vikings needed to win their next four games. Griffen’s claim proved prophetic. To salvage their 2020 season, the Vikings need to win three of their next four games. Indeed, the goal for the Minnesota Vikings ought to be getting to 3-3 as they head into their bye.

The Minnesota Vikings’ Bye Goal

It has to begin on Sunday. Losing to the Titans at home would be backbreaking. Even with the expanded playoffs, the Vikings would have next to no chance of making the playoffs if they begin 0-3. On defense, they must commit to containing Derrick Henry. On offense, they must commit to getting Dalvin Cook the ball early and often. A couple months ago, we predicted that Cook would see a big workload in the season’s opening six weeks. The Vikings have a bye in Week 7, we reasoned, so the Vikings will gladly give him the ball 20+ times because they know he’ll be getting a rest early. So far, our prediction hasn’t come true. The Vikings need to remedy this issue. If they are better at running/stopping the run (a big “if” at this stage), then they have a shot on Sunday.

The remaining three games are against the Texans, Seahawks, and Falcons. Hopefully you’ll forgive us if we’re already penciling in an L for Week 5. Put simply, there is very little reason to have confidence in the Vikings right now. Playing the Seahawks on the road in prime time? We’ll take the Seahawks in this one.

That leaves us with the Texans and Falcons, teams who are also a mess. Bill O’Brien’s boneheaded decision to trade DeAndre Hopkins doesn’t appear to be working out. The Falcons are somehow still employing Dan Quinn. In other words, both teams are predictably struggling, largely because of lackluster coaching. Before we’re accused of pointing out the speck of dust in their eye while ignoring the log in our own, we hasten to add that our coaching has been awful. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that our offense has been the worst in the NFL so far. The main problem rests in Gary Kubiak’s play calling (Kirk Cousins’ accuracy issues being a close second).

The key really rests in how well Mike Zimmer and Kubiak do at simplifying their schemes. By no means does simple mean predictable. The best coaches are the ones who make things simple for their own players while making it appear complex and unpredicable for the other team’s players. Therein lies the key for Zimmer and Kubiak. It begins on Sunday.