The past few weeks have seen all kinds of humiliations unfold in the world of the Minnesota Vikings. Justin Jefferson did not make Keshawn Johnson’s top five list of wide receivers in the NFL, and just days later, Pat McAfee noted that Dalvin Cook was the main focus for the defense when facing Kevin O’Connell’s attack.
Vikings starter demands more respect
Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins is viewed by many analysts and fans as a underwhelming option at QB, while in reality, he has been consistently strong.
In addition to the disrespect towards the players, there has also been disrespect towards the entire team – a team that posted a 13-4 record on its way to the NFC North Trophy. Regardless of overall wins, no one views the Vikings as a good group. They are universally regarded as high achievers who are often just lucky.
New debutant Alexander Mattison doesn’t like this. While Mattison is a breakout candidate after re-signing with his old team, the Vikings are pegged as a team bound for decline. runner exposed yahoo fantasy football predictions And he was asked if his franchisee is asleep:
I do I mean last season it was weird. It was like ‘we’re 7-1 and nobody’s giving us respect. It was somewhat strange. It was something where we were like ‘What do we have to do to earn respect?’ This is one of those years where we are all hungry to prove the world wrong and prove ourselves right and understand that there are a lot of people who doubt the Minnesota Vikings and don’t have a lot of respect going our way. So we just have to make sure we keep our foot down, our foot on the gas, and don’t give up and just demand that respect.
It is absolutely right for the players to be fed up. Bad or average teams don’t regularly win 13 games. Only good people do this. Were the Vikings ever lucky? Of course, they were. It’s part of the game. If Matt Ryan gets a few more inches on a QB sneak in the fourth quarter, the Colts win the game, and there is no comeback. Josh Allen’s fumble in the end zone was a phenomenal moment.
However, the Vikings performed brilliantly in the clutch, both offensively and defensively. They were able to find another gear and switched to the same specific team they were on the field in the standings. According to EPA/Play, the Vikings were second in the NFL in offense in the fourth quarter and overtime, fifth in defense, and Cousins was the fourth-best quarterback, behind only Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Jalen Hurts.
Towards the end of the Games the group turned into a competitive team as Kevin O’Connell over-emphasized the most important times of the Games. Being preached about the importance of clutch positions throughout the year definitely helped.
The next step is to play a full game at the level the organization has struggled with for years. The 2021 Vikings were famous for allowing opponents to score in the last two minutes of any half, and the 2022 team at times turned into a bunch of bad football players in the second and third quarters.
There have been some significant departures from the Purple Team. Dalvin Tomlinson, Za’Darius Smith, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, and Patrick Peterson are all gone. One theory is that apart from the first two names, the remaining four guys are well past their prime and their salary range is very high considering their games. Others consider those departures to be neck-breakers. Only time will tell if they will miss him on the field or just as a leadership presence in the locker room. Some other player should come forward and take his place in the locker room and on the field.
Mattison has a great mindset. Now it is up to the players to go ahead and earn the respect they want to get.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who loves numbers and statistics. The Vikings became his favorite team at the time, despite quarterback Christian Ponder. He is a walking football encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms and classic rock is his musical genre of choice. If you like Vikings, follow them on Twitter: @JanikEckardt