(WCCO)- Following Sunday’s 11-26 for 113 yards and three interception performance, there has been plenty of discussion about Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and what has gone wrong for the offense. An 0-2 start to the season and just 13 first half points combined between those two games indicates that the unit has not found a rhythm yet under offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
For NFL on CBS analyst James Lofton, there are several issues he’s seen over the team’s first two games, items that he terms “leaks,” that are dragging the unit down. The first half scoring is one and also the injury to starting right guard Pat Elflein, which forced second-year player Dru Samia into the lineup. Then there’s Cousins, who Lofton notes, has struggled with the pressure he’s faced.
“They bring in the backup and there’s pressure in Kirk Cousins face. That is probably his one Achilles heel,” said Lofton. “It’s tough on any quarterback but he’s not a get out of the pocket quarterback. That’s not where he excels. That has been taken away from him a little bit.”
Lofton, who is on the call for this Sunday’s game between the Vikings and Titans, also notes that the loss of Stefon Diggs is playing a factor.
“The young receivers that are stepping in to replace Stefon Diggs, that’s a tall order. You had a great 1A and 1B combination with Diggs and Thielen,” said Lofton. “You have to work to get that back. Who is going to step up in a consistent way?”
For this weekend’s matchup, there is some silver lining to be had for the offense. The Titans, after holding the Broncos to 14 points and 323 total yards in Week 1, gave up 30 points and 480 yards to the Jaguars last week. Gardner Minshew was able to find holes in the Titans secondary to the tune of 339 yards and three touchdowns. Lofton says, that should give the Vikings some confidence heading into Sunday.
“I think that will give you a little bit of confidence knowing that you can win some one-on-one matchups on the outside against these people,” said Lofton.
There is one big concern though. How does the Vikings offensive line handle Jadeveon Clowney? The 27-year-old has never really put up the kind of sack numbers you’d expect, but he has proven to be a wrecking ball in his career with 72 tackles for loss and 83 quarterback hits. Lofton notes that Clowney is likely to line up wherever he believes he has the advantage matchup-wise on the line. How the Vikings protection holds up against his ability to collapse the pocket will be key.
Overall, the NFL on CBS analyst believes there’s plenty of talent on this Vikings team, it’s just a matter of cohesion.
“The elements are there for the Minnesota Vikings,” said Lofton. “They just haven’t been able to put it together or come close to putting it together in the first two weeks.”