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Lunchbreak: Vikings Passing Offense Among Reasons for Potential Turnaround

EAGAN, Minn. – Going winless in September has prompted an unhappy start to the Vikings 2023 season.

But Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan shared 10 reasons why Vikings fans should not worry. From the randomness of the Vikings league-leading nine giveaways to upcoming games against the Panthers, Falcons and Bears (twice), Souhan highlights reasons to remain hopeful.

Among the reasons for optimism for the Vikings going forward, Souhan wrote:

3. The passing. The Vikings passing game has a chance to be astounding. Cousins has thrown for 1,075 yards in three games, with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Jefferson might be the best player in the game, Jordan Addison is on schedule to be a star, T.J. Hockenson is putting up big numbers and Osborn is a quality fourth option.

4. J.J. doesn't tank. The strangely popular notion of trading Cousins and tanking the season to improve draft position ignores myriad realities, this being the most important: The Vikings are trying to sign Jefferson to a long-term deal. You think he wants to spend a year in his prime, a year when he has a chance to break the single-season record for receiving yards, losing on purpose?

5. Fumbles are weird. Interceptions are a reflection of decision making, pass-blocking and quarterback talent. The Vikings fumbles have been odd, and recoveries are mostly luck. It's highly unlikely this level of fumbling will continue.

Lastly, Souhan turned the coin on the argument the drumbeat that the 13-4 record of the Vikings exceeded how good the team actually was by saying this year's squad is better than its 0-3 showing so far.

10. 0-3 is a mirage. The Vikings weren't as good as their record indicated last year. They're not as bad as their record indicates this year. Winning the games they should win would put them back in the playoffs.

Click here to read all Souhan's 10 reasons for optimism.

ESPN's Stock Watch

Every week ESPN identities one key take away from all 32 teams, names a stock up and stock down player.

Vikings beat writer Kevin Seifert explained why Mattison's stock is up:

Stock up after the loss: RB Alexander Mattison. A week after a tough game in Philadelphia, and four days after the Vikings acquired Cam Akers from the Rams, Mattison rushed for a season-high 93 yards on 20 carries.

Seifert then wrote about the Vikings playoff chances after dropping to 0-3.

Did the Vikings just kiss their season goodbye? An unexpected 0-3 start, including two at home and with some tough opponents ahead on the schedule, will leave the Vikings in a struggle to make the playoffs. In the Super Bowl era, only 2.4% of 0-3 teams have overcome such a start to make the postseason. Yes, that statistic spans 14-game, 16-game and 17-game seasons. But it hasn't happened since the NFL expanded the regular season to 17 games. The last 0-3 team to make the playoffs was the 2018 Houston Texans.

The Texans won back-to-back overtime games in Weeks 4 and 5 against the Colts and Cowboys to begin a nine-game win streak and finished 11-5 to win the AFC South. Houston fell to Indianapolis in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Seifert named the Vikings pass defense as his stock-down pick.

Stock down after the loss: Pass defense. The Chargers threw at will against the Vikings, who allowed a stunning 445 total passing yards (on 41 completions) and will have to go back to the drawing board after a scheme that was largely unable to pressure quarterback Justin Herbert.