There's no denying it – the Vikings start to the 2020 season has been anything but pretty.
After falling 43-34 against the division-rival Packers in Week 1, the Vikings were badly upended by the Colts yesterday, doomed once again by a poorly played first half.
Vikings fans have been asking: Is Minnesota's season already a wash? ESPN's Dan Graziano doesn't think so.
Graziano included the Vikings in his weekly article that evaluates generalized responses to games across the league and deems whether or not they’re overreactions.
Graziano didn't sugarcoat the Vikings early struggles – saying "NFL offenses don't look much more inept than Minnesota's did in Week 2" – but he also suggested to fans that it's not yet time to panic. He wrote:
The Packers are 2-0 and so, somehow, is a Bears team that was outscored 23-6 in the first three quarters of its first game and 13-0 in the second half of its second. So the Vikings are already two games behind the defending division champs and some sort of Mitchell Trubisky magic show. Not the way you want to start a season.
That being said, Graziano deemed the "Minnesota's season is over" conclusion as an overreaction.
First of all, there are seven playoff teams per conference this year. So the otherwise troubling fact that only four of the 108 teams to reach the Super Bowl started 0-2 is no longer relevant.
Second of all, Mike Zimmer hasn't had a losing record since he went 7-9 in his first season as Vikings coach in 2014. His team has a young secondary and a defense that has gone through a lot of change for the first time in years, but there's still plenty of talent there. They will need time to get their feet under them.
[Kirk] Cousins has had a stinker or two before but tends to bounce back, and he seems to be driven by the doubters. It's a tough climb back, but I'm willing to bet Sunday was the worst game the Vikings will play in 2020.
The Vikings next opportunity to bounce back will be Sunday, when they welcome Derrick Henry and the Titans to a fan-less U.S. Bank Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon (CT).
PFF breaks down Vikings Week 2 road loss
Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus also directed a spotlight on Cousins' "stinker" (as Graziano put it) of a game in Indianapolis.
Gayle opined that the Vikings young secondary "is a problem" but that Cousins' struggles on Sunday kept Minnesota behind the 8 ball. Gayle wrote the following in his "ReFocused" review of the Colts-Vikings game:
Cousins averaged just 4.6 yards per attempt and finished the contest with a 15.9 NFL passer rating. And the issue wasn't tied to protection up front. All three of his interceptions were thrown from a clean pocket, and he worked from a pressured pocket fewer than three times in the game.
Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen created separation consistently, but Cousins struggled to connect him and the rest of the team's receivers with accurate passes downfield. Minnesota recorded just two drops in the contest. Rookie Justin Jefferson and Thielen led the team in receiving yards with 44 and 31, respectively.
Under his "rookie watch" portion of the article, Gayle evaluated the performances of Vikings first-round picks Justin Jefferson and Jeff Gladney, as well as Colts RB Jonathan Taylor and WR Michael Pittman, Jr.
Gladney filled in for fellow rookie Cam Dantzler, who was sidelined with a rib injury.
Jefferson led his team in receiving yards (44) but wasn't all that impressive in the contest. He played 28 offensive snaps, including 21 routes. His longest reception of the day was a 22-yard gain.
Vikings rookie cornerback Jeff Gladney did not have a great day, either. He allowed six receptions on eight targets for 76 yards, five first downs and a touchdown on first review.
Mattison shares experience with elementary students
Vikings running back Alexander Mattison has demonstrated a multitude of skills on the football field, and he also is quite talented off of it.
Mattison is a fluent Spanish speaker, having participated in the Dual Immersion Program from first grade through graduation from San Bernardino High School.
Mattison recently spoke via video conference to Garcia Elementary School, located in Colton, California, which offers a similar Dual Language Immersion Program.