It's usually difficult to win if a team doesn't take care of the football.
For a second consecutive week, the Vikings were plagued by turnovers, as they fumbled four times against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football. As a result, Minnesota's defense was on the field for a whopping 39:28.
Despite those barriers, the Vikings fought their way back, trimming a 20-point deficit to just six late in the fourth quarter. Minnesota couldn't regain the lead, however, and fell 34-28 for its second one-score loss in as many games this season.
The Vikings (0-2) dropped back again in this week's Power Rankings, ranging from 21 to 27. Minnesota will return home this week to square off against the Los Angeles Chargers, who are also searching for their first win of 2023.
Here's a look at where the Vikings rank going into Week 3:
No. 22 (down 5 spots): Eric Edholm, NFL.com
In two games, the Vikings have handed off 26 times, netting a total of 69 yards, with a long run of nine yards. According to Next Gen Stats, only 30.8 percent of those runs were deemed successful. They've only attempted four runs in 30 fourth-quarter plays. One, a 3-yard loss on first-and-goal from the 1. Another, a Kirk Cousins scramble. The other two were 6- and 7-yard gains from Alexander Mattison. Maybe Mattison's early fumble against the Eagles killed off any designs on running the ball. Or perhaps the Eagles front did that by itself. But after two games, this Vikings team is flawed offensively: too dependent on throwing to Justin Jefferson, and not good enough on the ground.
No. 21 (down 4 spots): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report
Last year, the Vikings were one of the luckiest teams in the NFL. They won 13 games and the NFC North despite boasting a negative point differential and the second-worst defense in the league. The Vikings played in 11 one-score games and won them all.
That good fortune appears to have abandoned the Vikings in 2023. Two weeks in, they've played in a pair of one-score games and lost both. They already have half as many losses as they suffered in all of 2022.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has a history of folding in prime-time games, but he can't be blamed for their Thursday Night Football loss to the reigning NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles. The veteran signal-caller did lose a fumble, but he also threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns.
The Vikings lost because they turned it over four times and because their defense is still atrocious, allowing 259 yards on the ground.
Two weeks ago, Vikings fans were thinking Super Bowl. Now, some are wondering if Cousins could be traded to the New York Jets. Others are not only proposing that, but suggesting that the best thing for Minnesota could be a disastrous season that nets the Vikings an elite quarterback prospect in 2024.
It's possible to make the playoffs after an 0-2 start. But once a team falls to 0-3, the odds of doing so drop to 3.4 percent.
And with the Chargers high-octane offense next on the schedule, an 0-3 start is looking like a real possibility.
No. 26 (down 2 spots): Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
At 0-2, [the Vikings] will be playing a survival game of sorts this week against the Chargers, who are also 0-2. The defense has run-game issues.
No. 24 (down 2 spots): Josh Kendall, The Athletic
The offense is not the problem. Minnesota is averaging 6.3 yards per play, which ranks second in the league. The universe is the problem. It allows one-score game luck to go on only so long. The Vikings were 11-0 in one-score games last season. This year: 0-2. Vikings fans were very angry with the Power Rankings last week for a joke about moving wide receiver Justin Jefferson. How about a serious suggestion to make a call to New York and see how much the Jets will pay for quarterback Kirk Cousins?
No. 27 (down 1 spot): Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
The Vikings are showing they can't always make up for their defensive weakness and one-dimensional offense in the fourth quarter. The season is already on the ropes and won't be nearly as fruitful as 2022.
No. 24 (down 1 spot): Nate Davis, USA TODAY Sports
Quarterback Kirk Cousins' prime-time record may now be 11-19, but don't blame Thursday's loss on him. The Vikes were 11-0 in one-score games during the regular season last year … but are already 0-2 in 2023. Cousins to the Jets – he's a free agent in 2024 – really makes sense if Minnesota remains on this track, which already includes a -6 turnover differential.
No. 23 (down 3 spots): Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports
Last season the Vikings were an astonishing 11-0 in one-score games, which was an NFL record. This season they're 0-2. Regression is a real thing.