Today I decided to look up some statistical information that could help tell the story of the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings. This is what I came up with. If you've got some numbers of your own you find noteworthy - by all means, post them in the comments section.
The number of takeaways the Vikings currently have - tied for 2nd in the NFL.
Comments: Obviously this is a very good total, and we would be pointing to it as a key reason why Minnesota is off to such a good start to the 2013 season if not for ...
The number of giveaways the Vikings currently have - tied for 2nd in the NFL.
Comments: Bad teams generally do a lot of things badly. Turning the ball over is one of those things. The Vikings are negating their good fortune in creating turnovers by playing the role of September Santa Claus on offense, which reduces the opportunity to pad this next stat ...
The average number of points per game Minnesota's offense has scored.
Comments: This stat is surprising (the Vikes currently rank 7th in the NFL in scoring) because the offense has played pretty poorly. It's also misleading. A Cordarrelle Patterson kickoff return TD and Brian Robison's fumble recovery TD account for 14 of the 81 points the Vikings have scored. So the Vikes offense has actually scored 67 points - or 22.3 points per game, which would tie them for 19th overall. That's not great production but it isn't horrible and it might have been enough to win a game or two already if not for ...
The average number of points per game Minnesota's defense has given up.
Comments: This is the third highest total in the NFL - only Washington (32.7) and the New York Giants (38.3) have given up more points. You are probably aware these teams are also 0-3. Last year the Vikings gave up an average of 21.8 points per game. Full disclosure - a Christian Ponder pick-six and a TD pass off a fake field goal are included in this points total and aren't the defense's fault. However, there are plenty of other defensive stats that illustrate this unit is pretty bad, such as ...
The number of passing touchdowns the Vikings defense has surrendered.
Comments: That's the most in the NFL, rubes. Perhaps if Rick Spielman were to do it all over again, he would have let Chicago sign Phil Loadholt and used the money he saved to keep Antoine Winfield around considering how Minnesota's defense has performed without Winfield and how the offensive line has performed with Loadholt. Speaking of the O-line, its play might help explain the next stat ...
Yes, that's Christian Ponder's quarterback rating so far, good for 30th in the NFL.
Comments: OK, I don't really think the O-line is the reason Ponder's QB rating is so low - although it's not helping. The reason it is so low is because Ponder stinks. But he might stink less if this wasn't true ...
The numbers of offensive snaps Patterson played in the loss against Cleveland.
Comments: It's better than five (Detroit game) or six (Chicago game), but it's still not nearly enough. The Vikings drafted Patterson to provide Ponder with another weapon to throw to. When he has played, which has been rarely, he has been that weapon. Jerome Simpson has been fine starting at wide receiver with Greg Jennings, but he probably won't be a Viking in 2014 and he's not the game-breaker Patterson looks like he can be. The future is now for Patterson. Start him instead of Simpson and maybe you won't have this ...
The number of touchdown catches by Vikings wide receivers. (Jacksonville is the only other NFL team with this total and we know good of a passing attack the Jaguars have.)
Comments: I covered this on Monday. Anyway, a better passing attack might allow the team to score more points, putting the Vikings ahead in games more often and forcing opponents to play from behind and be in more obvious passing downs, which could help with this next stat ...
Erin Henderson's sack total, which leads the Vikings.
Comments: Henderson is really taking to his role in the Vikings new 3-4 defensive alignment where the emphasis is on the linebackers providing the pass rush instead of the defensive lineman. Oh, wait ...
The Vikings odds of getting the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft - according to Football Outsiders.
Comments: This is the third-best odds among NFL teams. Jacksonville currently holds the best odds. The Giants are slightly ahead of the Vikes. If the Vikings are going to draft Ted Bridgewater, or whomever emerges as the top quarterback in the 2014 draft class, they should learn from their 2011 experience when wins on the road against Carolina and Washington cost them a shot at both Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Or the team can look to another sport for inspiration - hockey. There's no honor in pulling a tank job, but that's what the Pittsburgh Penguins did during the 2004-2005 season and it got the franchise the #1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, which it used to select Sidney Crosby. Four years later, Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup.