Vikings Defense Saves the Day

Vikings Defense Saves the Day

The Minnesota Vikings defense came to the rescue in week one saving the team from defeat against the Tennessee Titans. Tyler Haag wonders when the offense will begin saving some games.

Week 1 is in the books and the Minnesota Vikings got their first win of the year down in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans thanks largely in part to an amazing performance by the team’s defense.

It has been discussed ad nauseam since Teddy Bridgewater’s knee blew up, but in order for the Vikings to come out of any game this season with a win, they have to avoid turnovers on offense, rely on their defense to get stops and hopefully force a couple turnovers along the way. This ultimately proved to be a winning formula on Sunday afternoon, as Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter scored on Titans turnovers, effectively saving the Vikings from an ugly first-half performance.

The Shaun Hill-led offense played essentially as expected. From the first offensive snap (a handoff to Adrian Peterson — shocking), it was utterly apparent that Norv Turner’s offensive game plan was to establish the run early.

While Turner’s intention was understandable given Minnesota’s quarterback situation, this offensive strategy was flawed, and Tennessee knew this as well.

A degenerate gambler would likely be more than willing to place a large amount of money on the Titans coaching staff formulating its entire defensive strategy around stopping the 2012 MVP award winner — and it worked.

Peterson finished the afternoon with a paltry 31 yards on 19 carries and Jerick McKinnon was nearly non-existent.

[graphiq id=”buldphN3sl7″ title=”Minnesota Vikings vs Tennessee Titans” width=”600″ height=”603″ url=”″ link=”” link_text=”Minnesota Vikings vs Tennessee Titans | PointAfter” ]

These are professional athletes, and if their team’s strategy is centered around stopping a single player, chances are it would not matter if the Vikings had Bruce Banner at work on Monday after a month of vacation in their backfield.

Hill had a decent game statistically (18-33, 236 yards) and showed glimpses of competency at times. But, this offense is built on its running game, which moved the ball with the same amount of poise and grace as Louie Anderson getting out of a pool, gaining only 65 yards on the ground and scoring a grand total of zero touchdowns.

This would be a VERY different conversations right now if the defense hadn’t pulled off a Gandalf with the Great Eagles maneuver in that second half.

… over the past 26 years, there have been only 76 instances in which a defense scores both on a recovered fumble as well as an interception return…

It’s hard to lose a game when scoring touchdowns on both a fumble recovery and an interception return. In fact, according to Pro-Football-Reference, over the past 26 years, there have been only 76 instances in which a defense scores both on a recovered fumble as well as an interception return — and only nine of these defenses did so in a losing effort.

Simply, teams playing under this circumstance have an 89 percent chance of earning a win.

However, this situation occurs very rarely, as Minnesota has only scored on a fumble an interception return seven times since the team came to be in 1960. Furthermore, this happened twice in 256 NFL games in 2015.

This is not to say that the defending NFC North champions are in the Little Giants‘ realm of offensive ineptitude — far from it, in fact. But to assume that Mike Zimmer’s defense will be able to bail Turner’s offense consistently is foolish.

The Vikings offense must play better or risk spoiling the grand opening of U.S. Bank Stadium with a loss to the Green Bay Packers.

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