This past Sunday saw the Minnesota Vikings take on the Chicago Bears, with the Vikings taking the L. The final result was 20-25, a score that doesn’t fully reflect how poorly the Vikings performed. It’s especially disappointing given the two weeks of prep time they had to formulate an effective strategy.
Looking at past games, it would seem that the Vikings intended to use tactics similar to those of The Dolphins and the Patriots. Both the latter teams had scored a win against the Bears prior to their recent 3 game win streak. In the case of the Bears, one can tell that they’ve been able to identify areas in need of improvement and actually invest in them, creating a stronger team.
The Vikings on the other hand have several blunders tied to this game. Their quarterback Kirk Cousins did not cope well against the Bears defense and opting to go for a pick-six in the fourth quarter proved controversial as it did his team no favors. Aside from Cousins, it seems the entire offensive line was somewhat helpless in the face of the Bears defense; lead by Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. The absence of David Morgan was felt as without him, the team didn’t stand a chance against Mack.
This is not to imply that the Vikings didn’t have any sort of plan heading into Sunday. In the game’s first two series, Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray took point on eight of their first thirteen offensive plays. Some strategy was certainly at play; however, it fell short as the Vikings failed to ground themselves while the Bears were able to secure a 14 point lead in the first two quarters. The Vikings offense had only one bright spot in the shape of wide receiver Stefon Diggs. His stats for the game include 13 catches and a touchdown.
Adding to the troubles of the Vikings was the compromised state of guards Tom Compton and Mike Remmers. Both were going into the game dealing with injuries. Remmers injured his left leg in a training session, while Compton injured his knee in a game against the Jets. Compton in fact, had to step out of the game within 36 snaps due to the amount of trouble his sprained knee was causing him.
All in all, one can sum up the entire situation on the Vikings end in two words: missed opportunities. Looking at the tactics employed, they struggled to establish themselves while providing the other team with openings. Settling for field goals and turnovers isn’t an effective strategy and at this rate, the Vikings are a long way away from reaching playoffs.
While there were upsides, such as the way Eric Wilson and Anthony Harris have stepped up (filling in for Barr and Sendejo respectively), along with Ameer Abdullah’s debut showing some potential. Ultimately, none of these things can make up for other mistakes made on the field and the Vikings are in desperate need of rethinking how they play if they have any aspirations of getting back on track and defeating the Green Bay Packers in week 12.