The last time the Minnesota Vikings started a season 0-3 Leslie Frazier was the head coach and Christian Ponder was the quarterback.
The Vikings ended the 2013 season with a 5-10-1 record and a defense that allowed the second-most points in a season in franchise history (480, behind only the 484 surrendered by the Three Stooges-like defense from Les Steckel's Boot Camp in 1984).
Frazier was fired after that season and replaced by Mike Zimmer. Teddy Bridgewater was drafted a few months later and Ponder played in just two more games in his NFL career.
None of that is to say that Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins are headed for the same fate now that the Vikings are 0-3 after snatching another loss from the jaws of OK-ness on Sunday against Tennessee.
Zimmer is signed through the 2023 season.
Cousins is signed through 2022 and would cost the Vikings nearly $40 million against the salary cap if they cut him after this season.
So, Vikings fans, as my teenage daughters tell me, some people called Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber sing these lines:
"Lock the door and throw out the key
There's nothin' I can do
I'm stuck with you, stuck with you, stuck with you."
Sure, we're only three games into 2020. Still 13 to go. But those could be 13 LLLLLLLLLLLLLoooong weeks (that's 13 Ls, for the record) for the Purple, with the schedule that's in front of them. After giving up 444 yards and 31 points on Sunday, they are allowing 440 yards and 34 points per game — on pace to give up 544 points this season.
A young secondary and poor performances from Cousins and his offensive line took the spotlight off Minnesota's overmatched defense through the first two weeks. On Sunday, Cousins was far from Minnesota's biggest problem. He was 16-for-27 for 251 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Not sparkling numbers, but until the final two minutes of the game, he at least passed the eye test and looked like a capable NFL quarterback.
The Vikings had a running back, Dalvin Cook go for 181 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries (an 8.2 yards per carry average) on Sunday. They had a rookie receiver, Justin Jefferson, catch seven balls for 175 yards (a 25 yards per catch average) and a TD.
They lost 31-30.
They're winless through three weeks and on Sunday may have blown their best chance for a while to get that "0" replaced by a "1" in the win column.
"To be honest, I don't know," Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks said when asked how to keep an 0-3 start from spiraling even farther downward. "We come into work every day and we're serious about it. We work hard, watch film, go to practice, communicate. There's a lot of good stuff we're doing.
"But when it comes to Sunday on the field, we have to take advantage of the opportunities to make big plays. People have to step up when that play arrives, take advantage of the moment and not be scared."
Zimmer echoed Kendricks' comments, and even pointed a finger at two of the offense's turnovers. That finger should've been pointed at himself.
His defense — which admittedly was playing without two of its top four cornerbacks, its top defensive end and two of its top four linebackers — was gashed for passing plays of 38, 44 and 61 yards. The 38-yarder from Ryan Tannehill to Corey Davis and the 61-yarder from Tannehill to Kalif Raymond — who entered the game with 10 career catches for 182 yards, and left it with 13 career catches for 300 yards — set up 1-yard TD runs by Derrick Henry that allowed the Titans to overcome a 12-point deficit and improve to 3-0.
"The thing I have to figure out right now is to keep this team understanding what’s causing them to lose," Zimmer said. "We come out at the start of the second half, we throw an interception and they kick a field goal. We give up a big play on defense. The last possession, when we have a chance to go down and win the game with a field goal, it was a complete disaster.
"Those are the things that are causing us to lose. Until I can figure out a way … things like that, that the good teams don’t do.”
Maybe Zimmer hit the nail on the head. Much like Steckel's Vikings in 1984 and Frazier's Vikings in 2013, the 2020 Vikings are not a good team.