A year ago, the Minnesota Vikings won the NFC North for the first time since 2017. The team finished with a 13-4 regular season record but was quickly ousted in the playoffs by the visiting New York Giants.
This season, the Purple Gang dropped their first three games before rallying for a 21-13 victory at Carolina on Sunday. That followed suit as all eight of the team’s contests this season have been decided by single digits. There was a surprising 20-17 home loss to the Buccaneers, followed by a 34-28 setback to the Eagles on a Monday night. Last week, O’Connell’s club couldn’t get the job done late and fell to the visiting Chargers, 28-24.
Despite the 1-3 start, some have been quite impressed by the numbers that quarterback Kirk Cousins has put up this season. Against the Panthers, he totaled a modest 139 yards through the air and connected with Justin Jefferson for two scores. In four games in 2023, the 12-year veteran has thrown for 1,214 yards and 11 touchdowns, compared to only four interceptions.
Ah, those interceptions. Two came on Sunday vs. Carolina, the first was returned 99 yards for a score by Panthers’ safety Sam Franklin Jr. The Vikings survived on Sunday but hanging onto the football has been an issue.