ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Vikings’ current pace bodes well for the rest of the season

After Sunday’s victory, Minnesota leads the NFC North by 3½ games.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins walks off the field after the 34-26 win against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Jeffrey Becker / USA Today Sports
We are part of The Trust Project.

EAGAN, Minn. -- The last time the Minnesota Vikings started 6-1 was in 2009. Their lead in the NFC North at that time was two games. The Vikings started 7-0 in 1998. Their lead in the NFC Central at that point was two games.

After Sunday’s 34-26 victory over Arizona at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings are 6-1 and their lead in the NFC North is a whopping 3½ games over the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

Are they surprised?

“I don’t think we’re surprised,” wide receiver K.J. Osborn said Monday. “Every week, you go out and expect to win — and especially when you are winning, you expect to win.”

So, what about nose tackle Harrison Phillips?

ADVERTISEMENT

“I don’t know if I’d use the word surprising,” he said. “It’s so hard to anticipate seasons and records and wins and losses when you’re looking at the schedule. But I would say it’s definitely a nice, reassuring thing but so far from complacency in our building, knowing that all that could be thrown out the window so quickly.”

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn reacts after his touchdown Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, against the Arizona Cardinals.
Jeffrey Becker / USA Today Sports

“How many times,” Phillips added, “can you go back and look at fantastic starts to seasons that came up short?”

One example of that happening was in 2003. The Vikings started 6-0 and had a three-game lead over the 3-3 Packers before going 3-7 the rest of the way. With a 9-7, the missed the playoffs.

If the Vikings win Sunday at Washington, it will be their fourth 7-1 start since 1998. And each of the three previous times it happened, they made the NFC Championship Game. That happened in 1998, 2000 and 2009.

“The best thing we have going for us is that we haven’t hit our ceiling as a team,’’ Phillips said. “We have so much more area for growth and we’re still finding ways to win.”

Trade deadline looms

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday and Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said he’s in “constant communication” with general manager Kwesi Adolfo-Mensah.

“Obviously, with the deadline, we’ll continue to work through anything that may be out there that makes sense for us as an organization,’’ O’Connell said.

According to salary-cap analyst Jason Fitzgerald, the Vikings have $851,678 of cap room, the least of any NFL team. That could hamper any possible moves they might want to make. The Vikings could have interest in depth at wide receiver, tight end and cornerback.

ADVERTISEMENT

MORE MINNESOTA VIKINGS COVERAGE:
Pro
Whoever head coach Kevin O’Connell decides on will be tasked with fixing a group that recently finished No. 31 in the league in total defense
Pro
A replacement for Eagles OLB Hasson Reddick, Hunter will join five teammates Sunday in Las Vegas
Pro
Winners to be announced at the NFL Honors event on Feb. 9
Pro
Jefferson led the NFL with 128 catches and 1,809 receiving yards in his third season. He would become the first wideout ever to win AP MVP honors.
Pro
Ultimately, hiring a defensive coordinator will be O’Connell’s call, and he has to nail it
Pro
Analyst Jason Fitzgerald, using a possible cap number of $225 million, has the Vikings now at $24.55 million over the cap, which gives them the third-least amount of room among all NFL teams.
Pro
Minnesota fired Ed Donatell on Thursday after the Vikings’ first-round playoff loss to the New York Giants
Pro
Peterson, 32, will become a free agent in March after playing the past two seasons for Minnesota
Pro
The Vikings ranked No. 31 in the NFL in total defense during the regular season. The issues continued in the playoffs, when they gave up 431 total yards to the New York Giants.
Pro
The playoff game was a microcosm of the past few months with Donatell at the helm. No pressure. No adjustments. No success.

“There’s a lot of different rumors and things that go around this time that end up not being true,” O’Connell said. “We’ll see how it plays out.”

Cine walking

Vikings cornerback Lewis Cine, who suffered a compound fracture in his lower left leg in an Oct. 2 game against New Orleans, has resumed walking. Sources had said before his Oct. 4 surgery in London that Cine would be walking within several weeks if the surgery went well, and O’Connell said afterward that it did go well.

vikings-mugs-Lewis-Cine.jpeg
Lewis Cine

“Lew has just attacked the whole process, from the time he landed (on Oct. 8) back here in the Twin Cities from London,” O’Connell said. “I’m just really proud of the way he’s really embraced, obviously, the early parts of his rehab. … He’s got the support of everybody in this organization. … We’ll see how things (go) in I the next phase of his rehab.”

Briefly

Phillips is in his first Minnesota season but said it has been an easy transition. “It’s weird to think I feel as close with some of my teammates, who I’ve known for seven months, … as I have (with) my high school buddies that we grew up together,’’ he said. … The Vikings scored touchdowns on all five of their trips into the red zone on Sunday. “The coaches are putting together a great game plan, and we’re going out there and executing it,” Osborn said. … O’Connell said cornerback Kris Boyd got a game ball for his play against the Cardinals on special teams. “He continues to impact the game at a very very high level,” O’Connell said. … Vikings rookie safety Theo Jackson made his NFL debut Sunday by playing 24 snaps on special teams.

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
What To Read Next
Pro
The Twins vice president for personnel died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer
Pro
After much publicity about Apple’s deal with Major League Soccer, the MLS Season Pass streaming service has arrived
Pro
Edwards held under 20 points for first time since Jan. 18
Pro
Minnesota also re-signed forwards Bridget Carleton, Damiris Dantas, Nikolina Milic and guard Lindsay Allen