The Minnesota Vikings fell to 0-2 Sunday with an embarrassing loss to an Indianapolis Colts team that last week lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team lined at 4.5 wins by bettors to start the season.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins followed up a decent second half against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 — where he was second in terms of “accuracy plus” passes, per our charting data — with the worst statistical performance by a Vikings quarterback since Brad Johnson in 2006, throwing the second-highest percentage of passes charted as “uncatchable and inaccurate” while throwing three interceptions.
Unlike other weaker teams such as the New York Jets, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars, the Vikings are in dire straits with what they believe is their veteran answer at the most important position in pro sports — Cousins.
The bet that the Vikings made when they acquired the former Washington quarterback was that their defense would be a good enough down payment from which the offense could work and that a receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen could elevate Cousins more than it did Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater.
For two years, the Vikings have mostly disappointed, going 18-13-1 during the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs. Cousins has performed well at times, spending a month in 2019 as the league's highest-graded quarterback, but he has mostly been the leader of a middling offense for the purple.
After three starting cornerbacks, two stalwart defensive linemen and Cousins' best receiver in Diggs were all shown the door prior to the 2020 season, that middling offense needed to improve in 2020. But through two weeks, the Vikings are the league's worst team in terms of throwing the football in the first three quarters, dropping almost half of an expected point each time they do so. Now, it's been reported that linebacker Anthony Barr is out for the remainder of the season with a torn pectoral, adding to a M.A.S.H. group on defense that already included their year-to-year sack leader, Danielle Hunter.
— PFF (@PFF) September 21, 2020
So, the Vikings have a very high likelihood of being bad for the first time since 2013, a year in which they led the league in points allowed, found out for good that former first-round pick Christian Ponder was not good enough to take them to where they wanted to go and learned that they needed a new direction at head coach.
With no young quarterback waiting in the wings at the time, Minnesota acquired a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback by the name of Josh Freeman and started him less than two weeks later. While his performance was one of the worst displays of quarterbacking in the history of the team — he earned a 31.7 passing grade and threw for just 190 yards on 53 attempts — it at least turned a stone of curiosity for the team. Mediocre knowns are inferior to unknowns when times are rough for a football team.
Hence, I think the Vikings should figure out a way to kick the tires on another former first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Vikings should trade for Jameis Winston.