Vikings are focusing on fumble-proofing the rest of their season after slippery 0-2 start
The Minnesota Vikings started the season just six days ago. It’s literally slipping away.
Thanks to the costly fumbles that have accounted for six of their seven turnovers, the Vikings have already taken two frustrating losses.
The 1959 Chicago Cardinals have the all-time record with 36 fumbles lost in their 12-game season, and the Vikings are on pace to match that in 12 games. The 1938 Chicago Bears and 1978 San Francisco 49ers share the NFL record with 56 fumbles, regardless of recovery.
Safeties Harrison Smith, Cam Bynum, and Josh Metellus, and WR KJ Osborn spoke about the 0-2 start Monday afternoon in the locker room.
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The Vikings actually share the NFL record for fewest fumbles lost, with just two in 2014 to match the Kansas City Chiefs (2002) and New Orleans Saints (2019). The Saints set the all-time record by fumbling the ball only six times in 2011, a dubious mark the Vikings have matched in two games.
Cousins, despite a strip sack in each game that has set up a score for the opponent, is second in the NFL in passer rating (114.2) with six touchdowns and 708 yards. Tight end T.J. Hockenson and wide receiver Jordan Addison provided plenty of complementary contributions to Jefferson’s usual prowess.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
When the ball is on the ground, bad things are happening to the Vikings — and that’s not even getting into the fumbles. They’ve netted 69 rushing yards on 26 attempts, .
On the flip side, the Eagles gained 259 rushing yards by repeatedly sending D’Andre Swift into the heart of Minnesota’s defense with productive results. Eight times in the second half, Philadelphia rushed for either a first down or a touchdown. Only two other times in the last 20 seasons have the Vikings allowed 250-plus rushing yards: at New Orleans (264) in 2020, and at Atlanta (285) in 2005.
Danielle Hunter’s decision to skip practice until his contract was redone appears to be a wise one. Hunter, who will be a free agent next spring, had three sacks against the Eagles and has four in two games.
Brian Asamoah II was the assumed starter next to Jordan Hicks at the inside linebacker spots after the departure of mainstay Eric Kendricks. The 2022 third-round draft pick missed a significant amount of practice during training camp and has found himself behind undrafted rookie Ivan Pace Jr. Asamoah has played 16 snaps on defense. Pace has played 107.
The Vikings have three extra days to recover, which ought to help their availability for the next game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Center Garrett Bradbury (back) didn’t play in Philadelphia. Neither did left tackle Christian Darrisaw (ankle), who was cleared for the gameday active roster but aggravated the injury during warmups. Both blockers were clearly missed.
Darrisaw’s backup, Oli Udoh, left on a cart in the fourth quarter with the most serious injury, a torn quadriceps tendon that will require season-ending surgery, O’Connell said Friday.
Outside linebacker Marcus Davenport (ankle) played only four snaps. He missed the opener.
6-12-1: Minnesota’s record in September games since Cousins arrived in 2018.