EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) — Last Monday, it felt like the sky was falling.
The Minnesota Vikings had just been dominated by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and there was near-panic about the fate of their quarterback.
What a difference a week makes.
This week, the Vikings will try to go 3-1 with, suddenly, one of the best offensive attacks in the league?
For a team we’re accustomed to being carried by the defense, it comes almost as a shock to say this: Through three games, the Vikings have the second-most yards in the league, behind only New England.
“We don’t really look at the statistics yet. I know everybody else does, but it’s a long season. We’re just trying to get better each and every week,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are second and third in receiving yards in the league, behind only Antonio Brown.
“Obviously it’s great because it means that we’re helping our team win games, so that’s obviously a positive,” Thielen said.
The Vikings are one of only five teams yet to throw an interception, and have given up the second-fewest sacks — just three.
They’ve racked up the third-most yards in the league, and they’re throwing long passes — fifth in the league in yards per attempt.
The Vikings are doing all of this playing two different quarterbacks, and Case Keenum is currently ranked the 26th-best quarterback in the league.
The crazy part is, they did most of that damage in just two games.
Those kind of stats speak to several things. An emphasis on longer passes: They’re fifth in yards per attempt. The pass protection is good enough to take those long shots: The offensive line is allowing the second-fewest sacks at just three. And the effectiveness of Dalvin Cook — second in rushing and third in combined rushing and receiving.
A year after the Vikings had the worst rushing attack in the league — he’s been transformational in their offense.
“I think they’re doing a really nice job. But, it’s three weeks. So we typically don’t look at stats until Thanksgiving. So (laugh) we’ve got a long way to go, but it’s great, I’m happy that they’re executing,” Zimmer said. “They’re putting points on the board, a lot of things we worked on in the offseason, the team has been doing.”
Doing all of it with two different quarterbacks. And most of it in just two decent games.
But Zimmer was clear, as well as things went with Keenum, it won’t lead them to be more cautious with Sam Bradford or slower bringing him back.
“When Sam’s ready, he’s the quarterback,” Zimmer said.
But Zimmer also acknowledged, he doesn’t even know yet if Bradford will practice this week.