For the first time in Mike Zimmer’s Vikings tenure, his team is 0-2. And the fashion in which the Vikings fell to that record only magnifies the level of concern.
Indianapolis wore Minnesota down and eventually coasted to a 28-11 win as the Vikings again looked feeble on offense and vulnerable on defense. The Vikings made mistakes in all three phases as they played a non-meaningful fourth quarter for a second straight week.
HOW’D THE OFFENSE DO?
There were numerous similarities to Minnesota’s 43-34 Week 1 loss, most of them negative.
Like Week 1, the Vikings’ first drive was impressive as they marched down the field before stalling inside the 5-yard line. Minnesota settled for a field goal and a 3-0 lead — their only advantage of the game.
From there, they scuffled, to put it mildly. Kirk Cousins was twice backed up inside his own 10-yard line and took a safety for a second straight week. He threw an interception just before halftime that led to Colts points. His accuracy was suspect, especially on his third of three picks, a slant thrown behind Bisi Johnson. The only thing that was missing was a fourth quarter surge to make the stats look more respectable.
Cousins finished 11 of 26 for 113 yards, no touchdowns and a 15.9 passer rating, the worst of his career as a starter. But it was a failure beyond just Cousins. Irv Smith Jr., Alexander Mattison and Adam Thielen dropped passes, replacement right guard Dru Samia looked rough in pass protection, and Dalvin Cook couldn’t get into a rhythm. Everything looked out of sync, and Gary Kubiak may have another stressful week trying to figure out what went amiss.
HOW’D THE DEFENSE DO?
The Vikings defense is still in search of a three-and-out that leads to a punt. It hasn’t happened through two weeks, and once again the unit was visibly worn out in the second half. The time of possession wasn’t as drastic as the 23-minute discrepancy in Week 1, but allowing the Colts to hold the ball for over 38 minutes isn’t much improvement.
The rush defense was battered by rookie Jonathan Taylor for 26 carries, 101 yards and a touchdown. Yannick Ngakoue managed to record his first sack in the third quarter but was otherwise invisible. Philip Rivers gifted the Vikings’ Eric Wilson an interception on Indy’s opening drive but Minnesota couldn’t do anything with it.
Rookie Jeff Gladney was also adequate in pass coverage in his first game playing the bulk of snaps. It’s fair to say the secondary showed improvement on the Packers loss, but the porous rush defense offset any progress.
The bottom line: Indianapolis scored on six drives and through a red zone interception on another. T.Y. Hilton also dropped a would-be touchdown. The only difference between Week 1 and Week 2 was that Aaron Rodgers wasn’t the quarterback.
Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox finished with five catches for 111 yards, including an impressive contested catch in the red zone. With Parris Campbell leaving the game early due to injury, Indianapolis needed another threat in the passing game.
It’s rare that 0-2 teams make the playoffs, and the Vikings look like one of the league’s worst through two games. There’s still talent on the team, and Danielle Hunter could come back in Week 4. But now we’ll find out how a Mike Zimmer team responds after his worst start as the team’s coach.