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Three Takeaways From Vikings Frustrating Loss To Chargers

For the seventh time in franchise history, the Minnesota Vikings have started the season 0-3. The last time the team started with three straight losses was during the 2020 season, when they dropped games to Green Bay, Indianapolis and Tennessee.

This year, Minnesota opened the season with a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, followed by a Thursday Night Football defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, and most recently, a 28-24 outing against the Los Angeles Chargers.

So what went wrong for the Vikings in Week Three? Are there any positives heading into a matchup with the Panthers? Here are a few takeaways from Minnesota's recent outing.

Terrible Time Management

Time management isn't the only reason the Vikings lost in Week Three, but it did play a part.

Following a massive fourth down stop by the Minnesota defense, quarterback Kirk Cousins led the offense back onto the field with 1:46 remaining on the game clock.

A few plays later, the Vikings are facing a fourth and five from the Chargers' 16-yard line. Cousins completes a pass to T.J. Hockenson for a first down and more than 30 seconds left. That's when things go south.

Cousins doesn't rush to the line to spike the ball. Instead, the clock runs down to 12 seconds, and when the play finally gets off, Cousins throws a ball that gets tipped for an interception.

It's a frustrating play for Vikings fans. You can blame Kirk, or you can blame Kevin O'Connell. Regardless, you can't have a nearly 20-second run off the clock in that situation.

O'Connell would blame headset issues for the mishap at the end of the game, but you'd like to see more situational awareness out of your 35-year-old QB.

Vikings Run The Ball Successfully

It was a tough first two games for the Vikings rushing attack. The team entered Week Three with the lowest yards per game and addressed the issue by completing a trade for Cam Akers earlier this week.

Although Akers didn't see any action on Sunday, the Vikings were finally able to generate some successful plays on the ground.

Alexander Mattison finished the game with 93 yards on 20 carries with a long of 15. Ty Chandler, who had an impressive preseason outing, averaged nine yards per carry. Minnesota recorded 130 total rushing yards, by far the most this year.

Overall, it was nice to see the team get some help from their running backs, and I'm eager to see how Cam Akers will work throughout the season.

Keenan Allen's Big Day

It's frustrating when opposing wide receivers can make big catch after big catch. That was the case on Sunday with Keenan Allen.

Allen picked up 215 yards on 18 catches. He also had a 49-yard passing touchdown to fellow wide receiver Mike Williams.

Speaking of Williams. He also had a good afternoon for the Chargers, recording seven catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. His day was cut short following an injury.

While the Vikings' defense came up big at times throughout the game, it would be great to not have a single opposing player with 18 catches and 200-plus yards.

Final Thoughts

If there's any positive for the Vikings heading into Week Four would be the fact they're facing an iffy Carolina Panthers group. Although the Panthers did have an okay outing in Seattle.

Only six teams in NFL history have made the playoffs after starting 0-3. While I don't have faith that this Vikings squad could be the seventh, it wouldn't be a complete shock due to the current state of the NFC North.

With difficult games against the Chiefs, 49ers and Bengals on the schedule (not to mention divisional games with the Lions and Packers), next week's game in Carolina is a must-win if the Vikings want to have any feeling of success in 2023.

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