The Vikings stink.
That’s right. They stink. They stink on offense. They stink on defense. They’ve fallen to No. 28 on the PFT power rankings, and that feels too high.
The problems are simple, even if the solutions are anything but. Not having receiver Stefon Diggs hurts the offense, allowing defenses to key on Adam Thielen. Also, the defensive system badly needs competent cornerbacks. It currently doesn’t have nearly enough.
The offense continues to adjust to the departure of offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who has become the head coach of the Browns. Last season, it wasn’t clear whether the offense had more to do with Stefanski or Gary Kubiak. Now that Stefanski is gone and Kubiak is running the offense, it’s becoming more clear.
“I’ve got to do a lot better job,” Kubiak told reporters on Thursday, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Kubiak also stated other obvious things: “We’ve got to find a way to stay on the field. . . . We’ve just got to play better collectively. . . . I’ve got to find some room for [Kirk Cousins]. . . . Other guys have to step up and make plays [when defenses take away Thielen].”
Kubiak is correct on all counts. But Randy Moss isn’t walking through the door. Neither are Randall McDaniel or Ron Yary.
Or Fran Tarkenton.
The biggest problem continues to be the inability of Cousins to extend the play when his first few reads are exhausted and the walls close in. He can’t run laterally or vertically (or diagonally) away from the pressure until something opens up once the play moves from scripted to improvisational. Instead, his best-case scenario becomes buying enough time to throw the ball away.
The worst-case scenario? A turnover or a sack in the end zone. The latter has happened in each of the first two games of the season.
It’s surely no coincidence that Diggs went public with a trade demand the same day Cousins got an extension. Dollar for dollar, Diggs was more value to the offense than Cousins. Without Diggs, it becomes much harder for Cousins to earn his money.
In turn, it will become much harder for Kubiak to do his job, and to keep it.