Since a 30-17 victory over Seattle, the Vikings have averaged 13 points and 319 yards in a 14-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns and 19-17 victory over the Detroit Lions, both at U.S. Bank Stadium.
There’s a better-than-average chance that won’t cut it against Carolina on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers (3-2) have the NFL’s second-ranked defense in yards per game (255.8) and have the league’s best pass defense (161.6 ypg).
“I’ve definitely got to do my part to be better in the second half,” offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak said Thursday.
The Vikings haven’t scored a second-half offensive touchdown since a 27-24 loss at Cincinnati in their opener. They scored a touchdown in the second half of a 34-33 loss at Arizona in Week 2 but on an interception return by linebacker Nick Vigil; otherwise it has been 18 points from place-kicker Greg Joseph, including a 54-yard game-winner last weekend against the Lions.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday he asked offensive coaches to do a self-evaluation in an effort to get the offense back up to speed.
“Very useful,” Kubiak said. “Great idea by coach (Zimmer), identify plenty of strengths and weaknesses that’ll help us moving forward, like tendencies we need to break and just opportunities for us to get better. Without getting into all the specifics, it was just a good time to evaluate what we were good at and what we need to improve on.”
In his first season as a coordinator and play-caller, Kubiak took responsibility for the recent sluggishness and said the offense will work to shake tendencies.
“Down-and-distance tendencies, after a sack, after a turnover, personnel tendencies, all those things,” he said. “Plenty of things that we studied to definitely try to make ourselves less predictable moving forward.”
Zimmer said this week he was interested in scripting the opening drive of the second half, the way most teams do for a game’s first dozen or so plays. The Vikings have scored touchdowns on their first drive the past two games, then relied on Joseph.
“It’s something we’ve always done,” Kubiak said, adding the team is looking into “being more specific with the guys, giving them more of a detailed plan coming out of halftime — and we have some ideas for this week.
“The No. 1 thing is we have to go execute. Can’t hurt ourselves with penalties, sacks, poor play calls. So, we’re all in this thing together.”
The Vikings appear to have help on the way in the form of running back Dalvin Cook, who has missed two games with an ankle sprain but went through a full practice on Thursday. Alexander Mattison (shoulder) was back on a limited basis, as were linebacker Anthony Barr (knee) and cornerback Cameron Dantzler (illness).
Top receivers Justin Jefferson (ankle) and Adam Thielen (foot) went through light drills but didn’t practice for the second straight day. Same for defensive tackle Michael Pierce, who missed last week’s game with an elbow injury. Receiver/returner Anthony Smith-Marsette (toe) went through a full practice, as well.
The 7G Foundation, in partnership with the Vikings, will host the fourth Indigenous Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium on Dec. 5. High school football players are chosen to compete through an application process open to members of federally recognized tribes across the United States. Players can submit applications at www.indigenousbowl.com.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)