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After a 2-1 start, how good should the fans feel towards the team?

The Vikings had come back from two double-digit deficits against the Lions, ending a 28-24 win with KJ Osborn’s touchdown to move to 2-1. On the press conference podium after the game, their head coach and quarterback looked alternately excited and unimpressed.

Kevin O’Connell praised the contributions of Osborn and Adam Thielen, then said he needed to do more to ensure teams couldn’t deny the ball to Justin Jefferson. O’Connell spoke enthusiastically of the Vikings’ perseverance, then admitted that they had made things harder for themselves than necessary. Kirk Cousins ​​recalled the details of his game-winning TD pass to Osborn, then said: “I think you can see today [the offense is] not where I want it to be.”

The Vikings would no doubt rather be here, toning down their exuberance after a comeback win, than where they were last year, telling anyone who listened they were better than their 0-2 start and 1-1 record. -3 in four games. Their schedule — with what amounts to a neutral-site game against the Saints 1-2 before a home game against the Bears — could give them enough trail to go 4-1 before an Oct. 15 trip to Miami.

But it would be hard for anyone to look at their performance through three games and think the Vikings ranked among the NFL’s elite.

They rank 17th in the league in points and 18th in yards gained. Their defense is 10th in points allowed, but 30th of 32 in yards allowed. Advanced stats like expected points added per game and defense-adjusted average value put them in the middle of the league. They followed up a convincing home win over the NFC’s No. 1 seed the past two years with a 17-point road loss to the conference’s last undefeated team this year. They fell behind an improved Lions team, then escaped with a fourth quarter that included two touchdown passes, a fourth save and a game-breaking interception.

“To be down 14-0 was a really big moment for our team to react,” O’Connell said. “Now we have to know that we did it, but [won’t] necessarily need to if we’re playing as well as we think we can go forward.”

Although things haven’t gone well for the Vikings yet, it’s possible their offense will continue to improve as a group of talented (and proven) players have more time to work within the O’ system. Connell. Cousins ​​said on Sunday the Vikings still need more “time on task” in attack, and O’Connell said he will know the group has arrived when they are executed more consistently .

“Sometimes for some reason it can be a [player] or 11, there’s just some indecisiveness of guys doing their thing based on the look,” O’Connell said. We see things that some other teams have done before, just with our personnel and how they want to defend us, things that they want to present against us. I think just the snapshot inventory, as the season goes on there are some things you might not need side talks [to figure out how to execute].”

And in the first one-possession game they’ve had this year, their defense also got the necessary saves on Sunday, making a positive first impression in an area where the Vikings’ failures a year ago could have cost them their job. Mike Zimmer.

And while the Vikings may not be a complete product yet, it’s hard to look around the NFC and see many teams that would qualify as one. The Eagles have been impressive and the Packers have won back-to-back games after their season opener loss to the Vikings, but their offense still seems like a work in progress. The Buccaneers have the best defense in the NFL, but struggled with injuries on offense (and a suspension for Mike Evans) earlier this year. The Rams – who won the Super Bowl a year ago – lost their opener 31-10 to the Bills before a pair of one-score wins over the Falcons and Cardinals.

There’s work for the Vikings to do, but that’s true for many of their conference competitors. If they can string together a few wins early in the season, they could get into playoff position just when they hope to be at their best.

Have a big question about the Vikings? Email it to Ben Goessling, Andrew Kramer Where Michael Randor tweet it at @AccessVikings and listen to the answers on the Access the Vikings podcast later this week.

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