Frustration appears to be mounting in Minnesota.
After the team's 16-6 loss to the Chicago Bears last Sunday, Pro Bowl wide receiver Adam Thielen didn't mince words postgame.
"At some point, you're not going to be able to run the ball for 180 yards, even with the best running back in the NFL," Thielen told the collective media, including Norman Seawright III of WCCO. "And that's when you have to be able to throw the ball. You have to be able to make plays. You have to be able to hit the deep balls. You have to do that, because otherwise it's too easy for teams to just tee up and rush the quarterback. So we have to be able to run the ball and pass the ball. In this league, you cannot be one-dimensional."
Granted, the Vikings were playing arguably the best defense in the NFL in their Week 4 loss. But they didn't score a point until the fourth quarter, handing them their second loss of the season. In their first loss, which came in Week 2 in Green Bay, quarterback Kirk Cousins threw an inexplicable interception on first and goal in the fourth quarter:
Even in the two games that the Vikings have won in 2019, it's come because running back Dalvin Cook has had a breakout season, as he's averaging 5.8 yards-per-carry. Cousins was asked to throw the ball just 10 times in the team's 28-12 Week 1 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Neither Theilen or Stefon Diggs, who combined for over 2,300 receiving yards in 2018, are in the top 50 in terms of targets in 2019. All this comes while Mike Zimmer's traditionally stout defense is currently ranked at No. 6 in total defense.
There's a pretty universal feeling around the sport that the Vikings have one of the deepest rosters in the NFL, but a hole at quarterback. Signing Cousins to a three-year, $84 million deal that is fully guaranteed prior to the 2018 season was supposed to fix that. Instead, the Vikings missed the playoffs last season, and have already lost two divisional games in 2019.
In a somewhat related note, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport says that Diggs missed practice yesterday for "non-injury reasons" and says the 25-year-old wideout has "palpable" frustration with the Vikings organization. Rapoport says that a trade is unlikely unless the Vikings are blown away by an offer.
Diggs - who is signed through 2023 - is back at practice Thursday, but doesn't seem keen on the organization.
"“There’s truth to all rumors," Diggs said Wednesday, as noted by Chad Graff of The Athletic. "I won’t be speaking on that.”
As far as Diggs' status for Sunday, Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski said "we'll see how it goes."
The Vikings will travel to New Jersey Sunday to face Daniel Jones and the New York Giants, who have won two consecutive games.