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Vikings Offense Hopes to Restart Going Into Week 3

EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings offense looked like a well-oiled machine in Week 1.

Then in Week 2, the group experienced engine problems and didn't run efficiently.

Now, the Vikings are in need of a jumpstart in time to face their division rivals from the Motor City.

After a dominant performance against Green Bay, Minnesota struggled to get the ball moving against Philadelphia on Monday night. The Vikings were outgained 486-264 in total yards against the Eagles.

On Wednesday, Head Coach Kevin O'Connell, quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook addressed Twin Cities media members following the Vikings 24-7 loss.

O'Connell said losses weigh more on him than wins do. He took time to reflect.

"I always look inward first, and that was immediately following the game. You start that process, and you just know you can be better," O'Connell said. "You know you can be better in a lot of different ways of coaching this team, and our staff feels the same way.

O'Connell added: "We left a lot of yards out there. We left a lot of plays out there to be made, whether it was catching a football or just the detail in what we did. Obviously the first time on the road, it was a heck of an atmosphere, and I thought we handled the noise well from the communication standpoint, but you've got to once again give that defense a lot of credit for how they defended us. I expect our group, that's coaching staff, that's players and myself included, to respond the right way. That's the expectation and how we're going about this week."

The Vikings will have a quick turnaround, facing the Detroit Lions at home on Sunday at noon (CT).

"Short week, divisional opponent, home game, that's really where our focus is," Cousins said. "I think the Lions have looked really good on tape, it's a defense that looks fast and physical and productive. Good scheme, and they execute it well. We've gotta have a great day today and start building toward Sunday."

Cousins completed 27 of his 46 pass attempts for 221 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw three interceptions with the ball inside the Philadelphia 30-yard line. He said it's crucial to come away with points when the offense gets in those situations, especially when playing from behind.

"There's so many times where you are behind but you just need to chip away and know that anything can happen, the game can turn on any play," Cousins said. "It could be a special teams play, it could be a defensive play, so you don't need to be overly aggressive or try to get it all back. You can just chip away and take what they give you."

The Vikings were not very efficient on third downs, converting just 33 percent (4 of 12). Minnesota especially had trouble when Philadelphia dialed up the defensive pressure and blitzed Cousins. The Eagles hit Cousins seven times and sacked him twice.

Cousins said he thinks Detroit will try to do the same.

"I think [Detroit Defensive Coordinator] Aaron [Glenn] does a great job of mixing up his looks and adapting within a game, what he feels is working, so I'm sure he's able to be pretty flexible," Cousins said. "I'm sure he also knows that if you can pressure and try to make some plays, that can help. I think it is week-to-week and you have to just get a feel and really, play-to-play even, and just be ready for the whole gamut of what you could get."

The Vikings are also looking to regain momentum in their ground game. After averaging 4.5 yards per attempt against the Packers, Minnesota averaged 5.6 against Philadelphia but finished with 62 rushing yards after running just 11 times Monday.

Cook was held to six carries for 17 yards, and Alexander Mattison had two attempts for eight yards.

Cook said it doesn't take much for him to get into a rhythm in the backfield, but he knows he's got to make the plays when they're presented to him.

"Running the football is football. That's it," Cook said. "Just getting back in that rhythm of just imposing our will on people is just what we've got to get back to."

O'Connell added that the Vikings can't get dissuaded from running the ball more and continue to find a balance with getting Cook and Mattison touches.

"[Cook is] a very important player to our offense. I have all the confidence in the world in him, and I've gotta do a better job of making sure that I get him in a rhythm much like you try to get the quarterback or J.J. [Justin Jefferson] or Adam [Thielen] or K.J. [Osborn] or any of our guys in a rhythm early," O'Connell said. "Both Dalvin and Alexander can be a huge part – and will be a huge part – of our offense moving forward."

Shifting gears to Detroit, O'Connell has a lot of respect for Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell after facing him last season when O'Connell was the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Lions.

"Having played those guys last year, it was a tough game. Dan and his staff did a phenomenal job against us last year. You just see the growth of the team," O'Connell said. "We know it's going to be a heck of a challenge, they're going to have a great scheme to take away a lot of the things that we like to do, and that's where we've really got to get all of our guys involved and really play a well-rounded game but stay true to who we want to be offensively."

And no, he didn't pick up any secrets from the HBO show "Hard Knocks", which featured the Lions.

"I know that show is very, very entertaining but you feel that Dan's building something special there. I know Jared Goff really well. I've got a lot of respect for him and his talent level to play this game at a high level," said O'Connell, who coached Goff in 2020 in Los Angeles. "Getting them at home and obviously in our home environment will be huge, and I know our players are very much looking forward to getting back in front of our home fans at U.S. Bank."