Through eight games, the Vikings rank fifth in yards allowed per game at 313.9. That isn’t a surprise considering the level of play the unit has displayed in recent years.
But Minnesota’s offense also has bragging rights, as Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and company rank third with 396.5 yards per game.
The Vikings are the only NFL team to rank in the top five in both categories, and Michael Rand of the Star Tribune noted that things feel different in Minnesota so far this season.
Rand recently wrote that, unlike in years past, it appears the Vikings have the horses on offense to keep pace — and win — if a game turns into a shootout.
Rand dug up some numbers on how the Vikings fared when giving up 20 or more points under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer since 2014.
Coming into this season, that benchmark has been almost as important for Zimmer’s Vikings. Including playoff games, they were 9-26-1 from 2014-18, his first five years as head coach, when allowing an opponent to score 20 points or more.
The Packers record in the same span, by contrast, when allowing 20 or more points: 28-32-1 (and yes, the tie for both teams was against each other last year).
The Vikings mark was an especially unsightly 1-7-1 last season, with untimely defensive lapses combined with the offense’s inability to overcome them dooming the Vikings to being over-reliant on one side of the ball. They were 7-0, after all, when allowing fewer than 20 points.