The perception of the Vikings offense through the first two games of the season is that the group is slow-to-go early in the game before they find rhythm in the middle of the game to start producing late in the game. And if you look at the Vikings points scored by quarter (3-10-7-23), the numbers support that perception.
But while the scoreboard does not reflect it, the Vikings offense this past Sunday in Indianapolis took a step forward in early-game production and was actually just as efficient early in the game as late in the game. In their first two drives of the game, the Vikings ran 21 plays and gained 105 yards, an average of 5.0 yards per play. In their last two scoring drives, the Vikings ran 19 plays and gained 96 yards, an average of 5.0 yards per play.
The problem? Both of the early drives ended in FGs rather than TDs.
And that’s a significant problem. It’s a problem Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier was asked about on Monday during his customary day-after-the-game press conference.
“It’s something we’re going to talk about,” Frazier said. “You like the fact that we’re finding our groove as the game goes on, but we’d like to get started earlier. We talked about that during the week. On the road, you really don’t want to get the home crowd involved, especially when it’s their home-opener and we’re moving the ball on offense in the first half but we weren’t finishing with touchdowns. Those field goals, if they were touchdowns, maybe the game is a little bit different early on, but it is something we have to go back and keep looking at this week.”
The hurry-up offense is one facet working well for the Vikings. Is that something the team will look at employing with more regularity?
“We’ll look at it,” Frazier said. “We do have some no-huddle in our offense, but we’ll take a look at what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and what’s going to give us the best chance to succeed this next weekend. We’re going to explore all avenues. We want to get off to a faster start for sure.”
The Vikings will prepare this week to face the San Francisco 49ers, a team that is 2-0 after impressive wins at Green Bay in Week 1 and at home against Detroit in Week 2. The Vikings have not played their best football through the first two weeks, but because of the caliber of opponent they were able to hang around and have a chance to win each game, taking advantage of that chance in a Week 1 overtime victory and falling short in a tight Week 2 loss at Indianapolis. If the Vikings are to hang around and have a chance to win against the 49ers, the offense will have to score TDs rather than FGs early and often.
“We’re going to be playing at home,” Frazier said. “We want to get off to a fast start on offense and defense along with special teams and have our fans in the game early.”
Tags: Leslie Frazier
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