If you thought 0-2 was bad, just hope the Vikings don't fall to 0-3 on Sunday. Since 1980, only six teams have started 0-3 and went on to make the playoffs. Even worse, avoiding an 0-3 start will require the Vikings beating Russell Wilson for the first time in what will be their eighth try.
With tensions rising, this is another must-win game for Mike Zimmer. While we can't predict the future, here are some things you can count on during the battle between the Vikings and the Seahawks.
1. U.S. Bank Stadium will be loud
Although Vikings fans invaded Cincinnati and Arizona, Sunday will mark the first time in almost two years that they'll play in front of a home crowd. The fans were sorely missed as the Vikings went 3-5 at home in 2020 after going 24-9 since U.S. Bank Stadium opened in 2016.
Everyone from Justin Jefferson to Andre Patterson mentioned the impact that fans will have but if the Vikings get off to a slow start, it could be a curse. The first two weeks have presented many of the same problems that plagued the Vikings in 2020 and if the game begins with a couple of three-and-outs, the crowd can go from excited to pessimistic in a hurry.
With a 3:25 p.m. kickoff, fans will have plenty of time to prepare. You know what that means, and if they have something to cheer about early it will be a raucous environment for the Seahawks to overcome.
2. Dalvin Cook will get a huge workload (if he plays)
When Zimmer's back is against the wall, he leans on Dalvin Cook and the running game. Even with Cook questionable for Sunday's game with an ankle injury, Zimmer doubled down Friday by telling reporters "It's time to get some wins."
It's a solid game plan against the Seahawks, who allowed 182 yards and three touchdowns to Derrick Henry last week. But the offense has other weapons that can lighten Cook's load and preserve his ankle.
But with his seat getting warmer, Zimmer may not want to pin his chances on Alexander Mattison or even Kirk Cousins to win the game. This means another huge workload for Cook even if he's not 100 percent (and, you know, he plays).
3. Another big day for Kirk Cousins
After a sluggish opener in Cincinnati, Cousins threw three touchdowns in the first half against the Cardinals last week. While the Vikings could have leaned more into the passing game, it showed it has firepower if they need it.
There's a good chance that will be the case on Sunday. The Vikings have allowed 61 points, ranking seventh in the NFL after two weeks. Facing another high-powered offense across from them, the Vikings would be wise to let Kirk cook against a defense that allowed 347 yards to Ryan Tannehill last week.
With Jamal Adams playing like an extra linebacker, there should be opportunities to jump on Seattle early. If Cousins plays like he did last week, it could set up an early lead to lean on the running game.
4. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett torching the Vikings
The biggest disappointment through two games has been the retooled secondary. The Vikings' defense allowed 400 yards to Kyler Murray last week and may still be looking for Rondale Moore. A bigger issue is that they face two more elite receivers in Metcalf and Lockett.
Patrick Peterson will square off with Metcalf in an old NFC West rivalry. In four previous meetings during Peterson's tenure with the Cardinals, Metcalf was held to six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings would take that performance as Peterson has allowed a perfect passer rating (158.3) through two games, according to Pro Football Focus.
The bigger problem could be Lockett, who is projected to match up with Bashaud Breeland. PFF charted Breeland with a 156.3 passer rating allowed through two games and had trouble keeping up with A.J. Green last week.
Even if Cameron Dantzler sees more playing time, he's not far removed from allowing an 80-yard touchdown to K.J. Hamler during the preseason. Lockett is a similar deep threat and should lead the Seahawks' aerial attack on Sunday.
5. Death, taxes and Russell Wilson beating the Vikings
Coming into Sunday's game, Wilson owns a 7-0 record against the Vikings. It's the second-best record for a quarterback against a single opponent in NFL history behind Tom Brady against the Falcons (9-0). But Wilson hasn't been as dominant against Minnesota since Mike Zimmer arrived in 2014.
In five games against Zimmer, three of them have come down to the final possession. In the 2016 Wild Card Game, the Vikings had Wilson beat before Blair Walsh shanked a field goal into the Mississippi. During a December 2018 loss, Wilson threw for just 72 yards. Last season, the Vikings were literally inches away from beating Wilson before he converted two fourth downs on a game-winning touchdown drive.
No matter what the Vikings do, Wilson finds a way to beat them and it's bad news for Sunday.
Through two games, Minnesota has done plenty of things to win games but is 0-2. According to Viking Territory's Dustin Baker, the Vikings became the second team in NFL history to lose when they ran for over 175 yards, had a pick-six and threw for three or more touchdowns against Arizona.
Add in a coach that has had a knack for making questionable in-game decisions and it should lead to another win for Wilson and an 0-3 hole the Vikings can't get out of.