It only took the first game of the 2023 season for the Minnesota Vikings to get a taste of their own medicine. In 2022, the Vikes won all 11 of their one-score games. In 2023, they lost their first.
In a 20-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Vikings looked far from an NFC North heavyweight, much less a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
The Vikings stumbled over their own unforced errors, and save for Justin Jefferson's offensive highlights, looked lethargic across the field. The oddsmakers certainly didn't expect Minnesota to fall to a Tom Brady-less Bucs, but here we are.
Here are three Vikings to blame after their Week 1 loss.
Vikings to blame No. 3: Kevin O'Connell
If it had been only a few sloppy plays here and there, maybe one could have chalked it up to bad luck. But the Vikings looked out of sync all afternoon from the very first drive. The offense got called for a false start on that first drive, the defense later got called for a killer offsides, and all in all, nothing seemed to go according to plan for Minnesota.
When this happens, the head coach may be to blame. Kevin O'Connell had some questionable play-calling in Week 1 and he's going to be one coach on the hot seat this season.
It just seemed like the Vikings weren't fully prepared for this matchup against a weak Bucs side, both tactically and mentally.
Critical penalties at inopportune times and disappointing performances across the field made this Week 1 matchup a forgettable one. Time for O'Connell to go back to the drawing board.