The Vikings are, at the moment, all alone at the bottom of the NFL standings, as the only 0-2 team in the league. But Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell says he sees plenty of things to be optimistic about.
O'Connell praised quarterback Kirk Cousins for the way he has played so far this season, and he said that the Vikings being competitive to the end of both their games despite being minus-3 in turnover margin in both games tells them that if they can fix the fumbling problem, they're going to be in good shape.
"Although the results these first two weeks have not gone our way, I do think that there's some encouraging things about our team right now from a standpoint of certain aspects of how we're playing, whether it be Kirk's performance last night, the way our pass game continues to keep us in football games, despite a lot of things that negatively affect us as far as turning the football over with the fumbling issue," O'Connell said. "Our team's fight to be an onside kick away from having a chance to win that game in a very, very tough place to go win on a short week. But there is, no doubt, some major, major areas of improvement from a standpoint of ball security. You just can't be minus-6 after two games in the turnover differential. It goes against everything we do believe with our football philosophy, and we're already in the process of finding new and hopefully more results-based ways of getting back to the basics of drilling and techniques and fundamentals of every rep we take to make sure ball security becomes a premium."
The fumbles were a huge problem for the Vikings on Thursday night. They fumbled four times, with three recovered by the Eagles and one going out of bounds in the end zone, giving the ball to the Eagles on a play when Justin Jefferson was less than a yard from scoring a touchdown before he dropped the ball. The Eagles fumbled once, but they recovered their own fumble.
Ball security is obviously a problem for the Vikings right now, but so is bad luck: The ball kept bouncing the Eagles' way after it was fumbled. Bad luck on fumbles tends to even out over the course of a long season, and O'Connell believes the Vikings are doing a lot of things right if they can catch some good luck.
"I still believe in this team," O'Connell said. "I believe in our players more than ever. I believe in our coaches."
At 0-2, the Vikings don't have much margin for error the rest of the way, but O'Connell thinks they'll prove over the next 15 games what kind of team they are.