Week 4 Game Balls: Vikings @ Bears

Photo: Deflated Game Ball for Vikings losses
Vikings deflated game balls. Photo: David Erickson

I could probably just copy and paste the Game Balls post from the Vikings loss to the Packers, cause it’s kinda the same thing.

Mike Zimmer

Photo: Mike Zimmer
Mike Zimmer. Photo courtesy Minnesota Vikings

The Athletic‘s Arif Hasan pointed out that the Vikings have allows the third most opening-drive touchdowns (12) in the league since 2017.

After the Chase Daniel-led Bears scored on Chicago’s opening drive, Announcer Jim Nantz observed:

It’s not like the Bears score very often on their opening drives. In the last twelve games, they’ve scored on only three of their opening drives. All three of them were against the Minnesota Vikings.

Jim Nantz

Presumably, the Vikings have access to the same facts as Hasan and Nantz. Presumably, the Vikings know they have some issues with opening drives.

So, then, when you win the coin toss, why defer?

Especially against good teams?

And on the road?

Look, the Vikings still have a great defense. They held the Bears to 16 points and that should be good enough to win.

But when you know you’re team is prone to give up touchdowns on opening drives, why not give your offense a chance to score first. Especially when it’s likely to be a close game where a touchdown could be the difference?

Better yet, when you know you’re team is prone to give up touchdowns on opening drives, maybe prepare differently? Maybe come up with a different game plan?

I’m obviously not the defensive genius Mike Zimmer is but I’m smart enough to recognize something that needs to be fixed.

Kirk Cousins

Photo: Kirk Cousins in the huddle
Kirk Cousins in the huddle. Photo courtesy Minnesota Vikings.

This is the second Game Ball Kirk Cousins has received from Minnesota Vikings Chat this year. Unfortunately, both are of the deflated kind.

On the Vikings opening offensive drive, Cousins missed Adam Thielen on a long bomb that should’ve gone for a touchdown.

Except that Cousins overthrew Thielen. That touchdown would likely have completely changed the game and it would have certainly given the Vikings a far better chance at winning.

But Cousins overthew his open receiver.


I know someone keeps these kind of stats but I’ve never seen it anywhere. Cousins overthrew Kyle Rudolph against the Packers for what would’ve been a touchdown.

And we’ve seen him overthrow his receivers on deep routes plenty. I don’t know the number but it seems like a lot.

And those are throws a quarterback making $28 million a year has to make.

A Minnesota Vikings Chat reader told me he heard Sage Rosenfels put a number on it: 80%. A quarterback with as much experience as Cousins has and who is paid as a to-tier quarterback, should complete those throws eighty percent of the time.