As long as the Vikings continue to chase their first victory, they will remain in a fight for national relevance.
A team that continues to find ways to lose is not the subject of frequent chatter on national TV or on the Internet. Even in Peter King’s Monday morning column of several thousand words, the Vikings get no mention outside of Stephen Gostkowski’s kicking ability.
But no matter how bad the performance, there’s always room in conversation for spectacular. Thanks to tight end Kyle Rudolph and rookie receiver Justin Jefferson, Minnesota managed to sneak into the Monday-morning NFL dialogue. Of course, there were also brief mentions here and there that the Vikings are in trouble.
Here’s what they’re saying about the Vikings following their 31-30 loss to Tennessee:
‘Breakout game for the rookie’
Matt Bowen, a former NFL defensive back, breaks down tape every week for ESPN’s NFL Matchup, and he had high praise for Jefferson on Twitter.
Nate Burleson, the former Vikings, Seahawks and Lions receiver, said on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football that Rudolph earned his pick in the segment “Week 3 play that made you say ‘Wow,’” calling the third-quarter touchdown "toe-drag swag."
"Shoutout to Kyle Rudolph, who’s one of the best in the business," Burleson said. "Let me just keep it real with you. As a receiver and tight end, you hope to have one of these plays in your career so you can tell your kids you once made a beautiful catch. Kyle Rudolph has done this time after time after time. Kyle Rudolph, salute man.”
Earlier in the segment, Burleson also wasn’t ready to say the Vikings are done.
“Troubled waters ahead for them?” Burleson said. “We’ll see.”
Others in the national media, however, were about ready to call it for the Vikings.
'Tank for Trevor. I'm ready.'
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio and Chris Simms didn’t spend much time on a half-hour show discussing Minnesota. Florio, a known Vikings fan, isn’t holding out much hope for improved play. He’s moved his attention to the 2021 NFL Draft and more specifically, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Simms: “The Titans are 3-0 and your Vikings are, as we said last week, D-E-D: Dead.”
Florio: “It’s over. It’s done. Tank for Trevor. I’m ready.”
Simms: “You’re ready for that?”
Florio: “Tank for Trevor.”
Simms: “You’re right. I don’t know. Maybe it goes that way. I don’t know where the Vikings are going to go, but I can’t see you winning a whole lot of football games this year.”
Watch the clip at about the 19-minute mark here.
‘Hard to believe that’s a Mike Zimmer defense’
The Vikings fell four spots to No. 28 in Sporting News’ NFL power rankings. And it’s not hard to see why after reading what Vinnie Iyer wrote: “The Vikings’ defense simply cannot stop anything that matters, whether it’s run or pass. It’s hard to believe that’s a Mike Zimmer defense. The offense is expected to be flawless to compensate, and that’s been far from the case for Kirk Cousins.”
‘Can’t say these Titans are some unstoppable force’
Coverage of Titans' victory, specifically from the Tennessean in Nashville, didn’t include glowing praise for the team. Mike Vrabel’s squad didn’t exactly put together a scintillating performance, yet the Titans won, which might say more about the Vikings than the Titans.
The Tennessean’s Gentry Estes wrote that he “can’t say these Titans are some unstoppable force – or even trending toward being a great team."
'A broken heart'
Vikings fans can probably relate the most to this tweet from Shayna Baszler, a professional wrestler: