Yep, the Minnesota Vikings are 0-2 and that's not good. But if you're looking for a mid-week pick me up, you've come to the right football blog.
Here are some things Vikes fans can be happy about even though their favorite team is currently 0-for-2013.
One sack and a forced fumble against Chicago that led to a Brian Robison touchdown. Generating consistent pressure from his right defensive end position during both games this season. And as Pro Football Focus notes, a grade of +3.2 - one of the top marks the site has for any defensive end in the NFL. There are some things seriously wrong with the Vikings defense right now, but Allen's play is not one of them.
Josh Robinson and Xavier Rhodes
It's fair to write that there was some worry that Robinson was going to consistently turn in "Marcus Sherels against the Packers in the 2012 season finale" performances playing the slot corner in the Vikings nickel defense based on how much he was getting picked on during the preseason. But Robinson's name was barely called during the Bears game (a good thing, because when Robinson's name was mentioned in August, it usually went something like this - 'So and so just caught a pass. Josh Robinson was in coverage.') Meanwhile, Rhodes was pretty much incident free against the Bears, and against the Lions the previous week (except for that bush league pass interference flag the refs called on him against Calvin Johnson.) The pair aren't playing out of their minds, but they are doing enough to signal they are on the way to getting a lot better.
Wide receivers making plays
What's this? Jerome Simpson with a 140-yard catch day against Detroit? Greg Jennings with five catches for 84 yards in the Chicago loss? Just wait until the team's offensive coordinator realizes the NFL has no five-play cap on the number of snaps a rookie wide receiver is allowed to play each game. This unit looks improved over the group the team trotted out there last season. Now if only the quar... oops, I did say this was going to be a post with good vibrations, didn't I?
According to trusty Pro Football Focus (see linked post above), the Minnesota O-line gave up just eight total pressures in this game, numbers that match what my eyes were seeing during the Bears contest. After a very poor effort against Detroit, this was a nice bounce back effort for a unit that has looked bad in game situations for a month now.
Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer
If Viking fans are bummed that their struggling defense might not get to face Cleveland starting quarterback Brandon Weeden this Sunday, the fact Campbell and Hoyer are his potential replacements should soften the blow. (Update: the Browns announced on Wednesday that, drumroll, Hoyer will start.)
End of days for Bill Musgrave?
One thing I've discovered about Minnesota Vikings fans after cheering for this team for 30-plus years is they like to shit on the club's offensive coordinators. This stretches over multiple eras and coordinators - from Bob Schnelker to Brian Billick to Darrell Bevell and now Musgrave. In Musgrave's case the griping seems warranted. Ponder doesn't seem to be progressing under his watch. Musgrave continues to let key playmakers stand on the sidelines when the Vikings need points (the two previous seasons it was Percy Harvin. This year it's Cordarrelle Patterson) and completing forward passes in his system continues to feel like huge undertaking. I think many Vikings have come to despise Musgrave and want him gone. A few more offensive performances like these first two and you might get your wish.
The Vikings next three opponents
Over the next three weeks Minnesota plays Cleveland (0-2), Pittsburgh (0-2) and Carolina (0-2). Two of those three games are at home in the Metrodome and the other one is in London against a Steelers team that has Felix Jones as its featured running back and Ben Roethlisberger throwing to guys not named Mike Wallace. An optimist would say there is a fine opportunity here for the Vikings to recover from a difficult start to the season.