5 reasons for optimism ahead of Week 3 vs Lions

·4 min read

After losing a brutal 24-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, there was still some good on the all-22.

The Vikings are still less than two weeks removed from a 23-7 domination of the rival Green Bay Packers, so there are still things that should give fans hope.

After the debacle on Monday night, I found five things that should give Vikings fans optimism moving forward.

Garrett Bradbury might have figured it out

Oct 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) looks on before the start of a game against the Washington Redskins at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings’ biggest weakness has been up the middle on the offensive line. The biggest issue has been 2019 first-round pick Garrett Bradbury. He has struggled mightily in pass blocking, especially when giving up your anchor. On Monday night, Bradbury had multiple reps against first-round pick freak athlete Jordan Davis that showed some growth in that area.

If Bradbury can keep this up and show some real consistency, there might be some hope for a long-term future for the much-maligned center.

Justin Jefferson was getting open

Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) scores a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins (not pictured) against the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings struggled getting the ball to Jefferson as he only caught six passes for 48 yards despite being targeted 12 times on Cousins’ 44 attempts. The good news is that even though there were real struggles, Jefferson was getting open. There were too many times where Jefferson got open and was missed or Cousins misfired. In the fourth quarter, there were back-to-back plays where that happened.

Both of these routes should have been thrown to the back pile-on but Cousins misfired on both due to pressure. If Cousins plays a tad more relaxed and hits on one of these throws, we feel a lot better about the Vikings moving forward.

The defense played better in the second half

Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) makes a first down catch past Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In the first half, the Eagles had their way with the Vikings. They ran up 24 points and 365 yards of total offense making it look easy. The Vikings didn’t look like they could stop a fly. In the second half, they did end up tightening up allowing zero points and 119 total yards. The Eagles did seem to slow down and be less aggressive but it was a good sign to see the Vikings’ defense show a little bit of improvement.

Kirk Cousins still made some bonkers throws

Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes the ball past Philadelphia Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards (57) during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings quarterback had one of his worst performances in his career on Monday night. That didn’t help his perception of being a dud on Monday Night Football. Despite being overall awful, there were flashes of the really good version of Cousins.

If Cousins can do more of this, that will only be good for the Vikings.

Special teams is very good

Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph (1) kicks an extra point against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings offense and defense has seen its ups and downs, but special teams have been good. Greg Joseph hasn’t missed a field goal, Ryan Wright is averaging 47.8 yards per punt, the return and coverage units have played admirably well and Patrick Peterson just blocked a field goal on Monday night. They are also ranked sixth in Football Outsiders DVOA which is an excellent start after how rough those units have been over the course of the last few seasons.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire