Vikings Have Themselves to Blame in Season Opening Loss



Fans are disappointed with the result, especially since the Vikings have themselves to blame for falling 20-17 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Instead of a resounding Week 1 win to show they’re still the top team in the NFC North, Minnesota’s performance will lead to all kinds of doubt. Turnovers, a lack of a run game, and some gaffes on special teams were the difference between winning and losing. Take a look at what the photos have to say about the team’s performance.

The Vikings Have Themselves to Blame: 7 Photos to Explain the Game

Photo #1 — Justin Jefferson’s Large Hit

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) tackles Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Christian Izien (29) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins threw a brutal interception toward the end of the opening half. In what was shaping up to be a beautiful 2-minute drive, Cousins ended up being a bit behind K.J. Osborn on a pass near the goal line. Credit to Christian Izien for snatching the ball away. During Izien’s return, Justin Jefferson ended up with the massive hit.

Photo #2 — Mattison’s Fantastic Touchdown

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) dives for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis III (24) and defensive end Logan Hall (90) in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Not a great day at the office for Mr. Mattison — 11 carries for 34 yards alongside 3 catches for 10 yards — who is being tasked with replacing Dalvin Cook. His touchdown catch was sensational stuff, demonstrating a nice blend of balance and power to get the football into the endzone.

Photo #3 — Jordan Addison’s Impressive Debut

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) celebrates his first career touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The rookie did just fine. Addison finished the day as the second leading receiver in Minnesota (behind Jefferson’s 150 yards). Addison turned 6 targets into 4 catches for 61 yards (15.3 average) and a touchdown.

Photo #4 — The Safety Play

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield (not pictured) as Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) defends during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Evans is a fantastic player. Far from taking over the game, Evans still did a lot of good things to help his side. His touchdown came over Josh Metellus, one of the safeties who ended up playing a ton in Week 1. The pass coverage was far from horrendous yesterday (after all, Baker Mayfield had just 173 yards passing), but it will be under scrutiny all season given the corner concerns and struggles in 2022.

Photo #5 — Josh Oliver’s Multiple Contributions

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Josh Oliver (84) is tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) and cornerback Jamel Dean (35) during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Known as a thumper, Oliver turned 3 targets into 3 catches for 32 yards. His longest catch went for 18 yards. Look for Oliver to keep getting worked into the mix for an offense boasting a pile of weapons.

Photo #6 — Baker Mayfield Getting Comfortable

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Just a single sack for the Vikings on a day when they could have really used more pressure, especially in the second half. There were moments when Danielle Hunter looked dominant, so it’s not surprising that he came away with the sack. Otherwise, the defensive front needs to get to the QB more. In the end, Marcus Davenport was unable to play.

Photo #7 — Chris Godwin’s Game-Sealing Play

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) catches the game clinching first down late during the fourth quarter as Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (5) defends at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, a nice bit of work for Brian Flores in his Vikings debut. Holding an opponent to just 20 points when the turnover margin is sitting at a concerning -3 is never easy for a DC, but Flores did a nice job. The Godwin catch toward the end of the game is discouraging, but it’s hard to be overly critical of Mekhi Blackmon and the rest of the Vikings defense.


K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full-time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.





Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top