Three weeks into the season and the Vikings offense looks like a juggernaut, until you start to think about it.
On paper, it's impressive.
- 4th in the NFL with 15 passing plays of 20+ yards.
- 2nd in the NFL with 4 passing plays of 40+ yards.
- Adam Thielen's 299 receiving yards rank 2nd in the NFL.
- Stefon Diggs' 293 receiving yards are 3rd most in the NFL.
- Diggs leads the NFL with 4 receiving touchdowns.
- Dalvin Cook is 2nd in the NFL in rushing with 288 yards.
- The offensive line has only allowed 3 sacks, which is second fewest in the NFL.
But the majority of Minnesota's stats came against the Saints and Buccaneers, while they struggled mightily against the Steelers, who lost in overtime to the Bears, who are supposed to be horrible.
We can't say for sure how good the Vikings' offense is because:
- The Saints defense is horrible.
- Case Keenum didn't know he was starting against the Steelers until 90 minutes before kickoff.
- Half of Tampa Bay's defensive starters were injured or sick.
Let's break it down a bit more.
The Saints are terrible on defense
The Saints got carved up by the Patriots in Week 2 and then looked great against Carolina's meager offense. New Orleans' defense is bad, which leaves us wondering if the Vikings could've dominated like they did against a better unit.
What the heck happened in Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh's No. 2 defense probably had something to do with shutting down Keenum and the Vikings, but seeing as the Bears ate the Steelers alive with 228 rushing yards we're a bit perplexed.
Which played a bigger role: Pittsburgh's defense or Keenum starting on short notice?
Half of Tampa Bay's defense was injured
The Bucs started Sunday without three defensive starters and left the game with at least half of their original starting 11 hurt.
Per the Tampa Bay Times, linebacker Lavonte David was on crutches after the game, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was in a walking boot, defensive end Noah Spence dislocated his shoulder and other key players, defensive end Robert Ayers and cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves and Ryan Smith, left the game with injuries before returning to play.
There's no doubt Minnesota took advantage of the beat up Bucs. The question we still don't have an answer to is if Keenum and the offense would've exploded like they did against a healthy Tampa Bay defense.
This week's game at home against the really solid Detroit Lions should provide a good answer to all of our questions.