EAGAN (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Vikings are 0-1 after a 20-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and it probably feels like they lost the game more than their opponent won it.
The Vikings committed three turnovers, had one very costly penalty and failed to run the ball consistently. They had just three possessions in the second half, and two of them were 3-and-outs. The Vikings are now tasked with trying to get their first win of the season with their second game in five days, at the Philadelphia Eagles, who played in last year’s Super Bowl.
There is no panic in the Vikings’ locker room, even if fans might be.
"No opportunity in this league regardless of when it takes place, you don’t want to underreact to anything because it’s our job to acknowledge the truth. I totally understand that reaction, we didn’t get it done yesterday," Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said Monday. "I’ve got nothing but confidence in our football team. The result was what it was, and now it’s about how we handle it as a football team and organization moving forward that I think is the most important thing."
Here are takeaways from Sunday’s loss:
THREE COSTLY TURNOVERS
The Vikings had three critical turnovers Sunday, all in the first half. The first came on a freak play, with Ed Ingram pulling off the snap to block the nose guard. His left arm knocked the ball out of Kirk Cousins’ hand, and to the turf. The Buccaneers recovered, killing a potential scoring drive. It was the first of many self-inflicted wounds.
"That was self-inflicted in its truest form," O’Connell said.
Ingram on Monday called it a "freak accident."
"I don’t know how that happened, it’s some type of freak accident to be honest. I was just trying to run the play, do my block and I guess my hand accidentally hit the ball," Ingram said.
The second fumble came on an Antoine Winfield Jr. blitz. It wasn’t picked up, he hit Cousins and scooped up the loose ball. The Vikings’ defense held Tampa to a field goal.
The last came late in the first half. Cousins tried to thread the needle to K.J. Osborn at the goal line. He initially made the catch, but Christian Izien ripped the ball away. Another scoring chance before the end of the first half squandered.
PENALTY TURNS INTO TOUCHDOWN
The Vikings had the Buccaneers stopped in the third quarter and attempting a field goal. Rookie safety Jay Ward was flagged for lining up in the neutral zone, and the yardage gave the Buccaneers a fresh set of downs. Three players later, Baker Mayfield hit Trey Palmer for a touchdown. Seven points instead of three, and the Vikings lost by three.
"It was a situation where he thought he was good and after getting confirmation from the official that he was good, he probably shifted forward a little bit. Some games you’re going to get a warning there, some games you’re going to get called on that one," O’Connell said. "Our message to Jay was a pretty simple one, you’ve got to be onsides and make sure of it."
BIG DAYS FOR JEFFERSON, ADDISON
Justin Jefferson had nine catches for 150 yards, but just two catches in the second half as the Vikings only had the ball three times. Jefferson now has the NFL record with nine games of at least 150 receiving yards at the age of 24 or younger, passing Randy Moss. In his NFL debut, Jordan Addison had four catches for 61 yards, and a 39-yard touchdown. It’s likely just the start for the rookie.
WHERE WAS THE RUN GAME?
In the first game without Dalvin Cook, the Vikings ran the ball 17 times for 41 yards, just 2.4 yards per carry. Alexander Mattison had 11 carries for 34 yards in his first game as a lead back. In a game where the difference was never more than seven points, the Vikings struggled to run the ball consistently. Garrett Bradbury leaving the game injured, and Christian Darrisaw getting dinged up didn’t help matters.
The Vikings did not practice Monday as they’re on a short week, but issued an estimated injury report. Bradbury did not practice. Darrisaw would’ve been limited, as was Marcus Davenport, who missed Sunday’s game.