Over the first four weeks, there were small glimpses of what Kevin O’Connell promised to bring to this Vikings offense. We saw a fun first half against the Green Bay Packers, but then, they started playing conservative football in the second half with a big lead. Week 2 against Philly, nothing could go their way. Then in Weeks 3 and 4, it took some heroics from Kirk Cousins to get the job done after shaky starts.
This weekend against the Chicago Bears, Minnesota finally put it all together, and we saw a terrific game from this Vikings offense. The group was clicking on all cylinders in the first half. Kirk Cousins set a consecutive completions record, and Justin Jefferson recorded 10 receptions on his way to a new franchise record for most receptions in a player’s first three seasons.
Don’t Put the Bears Comeback on the Vikings Offense
Overall, you can’t complain about three touchdowns in a half. However, you have every right to complain about zero points in the third quarter. Very little of that actually had to do with the offense’s performance, though. Simply put, the defense and special teams did not play well in that second half.
Minnesota held the ball for just 3:55 of the third quarter, and on their one full possession of the quarter, Greg Joseph had his 51-yard field goal attempt blocked. Of course, Kirk Cousins threw an interception at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but that was really his only blemish of the day. If the expectation is for Cousins to make every throw perfectly, I suppose my defense is moot, though.
The Concluding Drive
As impressive as Minnesota’s first half was, their final touchdown drive of the day is what set this game apart. In previous years, it would have been easy for Cousins’ confidence to crumble, especially when it comes in the fourth quarter and allows a division rival to take the lead.
No such thing happened on Sunday. Instead, Cousins led the Vikings on a beautiful seven-minute, 15-play drive to score the game-winning touchdown as he fought his way into the end zone on a 1-yard QB sneak. To cap it off, he hit Jefferson on a two-point conversion to put Minnesota up by seven points rather than five. Captain Kirk was in full effect down the stretch of this game.
Doing this would be amazing enough, but the offense constantly faced adversity on this drive, converting five third downs. Overall, the Vikings offense had converted just 31% of their third downs going into the game, and they had scored touchdowns on just 46% of their red zone drives. Clearly, running an efficient offense had not been a strong suit for the team going into Week 5.
That was not the case in their actual Week 5 game, though. The Vikings offense converted 80% of their third downs on Sunday, and they scored touchdowns on all four of their red zone drives. The efficiency from this offense this weekend was terrific, and this should be expected to continue moving forward.
Overall, this seemed like the most all-around performance from the Vikings offense that we’ve seen all season. Minnesota got off to a very strong start, played efficiently for much of the game, and sealed the game with another game-winning drive. This is the Vikings offense we’d been hoping for, and we finally got it this week.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken