Quarterback Kirk Cousins has thrown a pair of interceptions – including one in the end zone in the losing stages of Sunday’s loss to the the Chargers – but the more troubling early trend has been the Vikings’ league-leading seven fumbles. Head coach Kevin O’Connell admitted he altered the team’s practice routine in the build-up to Week 3, but ball security remains an issue. In the aftermath of that contest, he issued a warning that players could find themselves on the bench in the near future.
“I think that’s something we’re going to fix one way or the other,” O’Connell said of the fumbling problems, via ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. “Either guys are going to [fix] it or we’re going to have to put other guys in the game that have ball security.”
Running back Alexander Mattison has been among the players who have lost a number of fumbles (although only one so far has resulted in a change of possession). The 25-year-old assumed lead back duties in the wake of Dalvin Cook‘s release, and he is currently averaging a career-high 13 carries per game. Mattison has recorded 155 scoreless yards on the ground, along with one touchdown in the passing game.
Minnesota’s struggles on the ground made it little surprise that the team added Cam Akers via trade. In spite of his arrival, Mattison has received a vote of confidence as the Vikings’ lead back, though Akers did not suit up in Week 3. The latter will however be involved in the team’s game plan for Week 4, Seifert notes. It will be interesting to see how the Vikings divvy up their RB snaps, particularly if ball security remains an issue.
Aside from Mattison, other skill position players could now be on notice in advance of Minnesota’s game against Carolina. That matchup of winless teams will be important in the NFC standings, but it could also play a part in dictating playing time moving forward in the Vikings’ case.