The Minnesota Vikings' last two losses haven't just been bad. They haven't just been frustrating. They've been historic.
The Vikings blew a 17-0 halftime lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday for a 24-20 loss and a 17-7 halftime lead at the San Diego Chargers in the season opener. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the first time an NFL team has every lost its first two games after holding a double-digit halftime lead in both.
While the Vikings were setting ignominious NFL records, the Detroit Lions, who come to Mall of America Field on Sunday with a 2-0 mark, were setting franchise records. The Lions beat the Kansas City Chiefs 48-3, the biggest margin of victory in Detroit's regular-season history.
Further connecting the two teams that meet Sunday was Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who threw four touchdown passes for the third time in only 15 games. The only other player in NFL history with four or more TD passes in his first 15 games was the Vikings' Fran Tarkenton, according to Elias.
The Lions have also helped boost the NFL's point totals. They have scored 75 points in two games. The Vikings have scored 37, better than only the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams in the NFC. The 1,502 points scored in the NFL through Week 2 is the most in NFL history for that time period.
The Vikings have scored 17 and 20 points in their first two games. Only one NFL team this season has won scoring fewer than 21 points – the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 16-14 win over Tennessee. That's the fewest wins by teams scoring fewer than 21 points since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Last year through two weeks, there were 15 games won by teams scoring 21 or fewer points, according to Elias.
The 0-2 Vikings still have some hope of making the playoffs, although that grows slimmer with each early-season loss. Of the 177 teams that have started 0-2 since 1990, 22 (12.4 percent) have made the playoffs.
Percy Harvin and Donovan McNabb have slightly different views on the mistakes that were made in Sunday's game, or at least a differing sense of how serious the mistakes were.
Speaking Monday in the Vikings locker room, Harvin said execution may have cost the Vikings two touchdowns.
"We've just got to execute the play that was called a little better," Harvin said. "Twice we were lined up in the wrong formation so that's just little mistakes that we're killing ourselves. [If] we're in the right formation, we probably had two walk-in touchdowns."
On Tuesday at a luncheon that McNabb hosted for local business and charity leaders, he was asked about Harvin's assessment. McNabb said the Vikings "were very low on errors" against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"We're moving guys around. Really, as far as errors were concerned, we were very low on errors. There weren't that many mistakes. We had maybe one or two on third down where some guys were in different places, but that's correctable," McNabb said. "It's the stuff that's not correctable where you're figuring out what's going on. I will say in these first two games we've done a great job as far as guys moving, knowing what they need to do."
Matthew Stafford is the only one of the top 32 NFL quarterbacks to not to have been sacked yet this season. In 72 pass attempts, which is tied for 12th in the league after two weeks, opposing defenses haven't registered a sack on him.
"A good quarterback will get rid of the ball. There's some times you're going to get sacked when you're waiting on stuff down the field and you're trying to make big plays," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "… I don't know that that's a development for Matt. I think that he's always been that way. We've put better talent around him and he didn't get sacked a whole lot – our quarterbacks in general didn't get sacked a lot. I think we were sixth in the league in sacks allowed. So, you know, there's a lot of things that go in to it – protection, quarterback knowing where to go with the ball, and weapons on offense. All those things will keep your sack numbers down, and [if] you get the lead you're not going to give up very many sacks because you can throw a ball away."
Stafford's four touchdown passes against Kansas City last week helped him tie a 1962 Lions team record for most touchdown passes in a season's first two games. He has seven in two weeks.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
For Vikings, Lions, it's historic starts
Viking Update Top Stories
LockedownThe Minnesota Vikings have been doing a lot well in their 5-0 start to the season. While punter Jeff Locke doesn't get his name mentioned often among those game-changers, he is…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 4:35 PM
A 315-pound Peter Pan? For SirlesMinnesota Vikings offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles is quite certain him in his emergency Halloween costume of Peter Pan will make it out on social media. We look forward with…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 1:57 PM
Diggs appears on track to playThe Minnesota Vikings appear to be on track to get their leading receiver back for their Sunday matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 1:26 PM
VIDEO: Norv Turner on offensive successMinnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner talks about the success of Sam Bradford, the return of Taylor Heinicke and the variety of receivers on the team.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 11:25 AM