A week after demolishing the New Orleans Saints in primetime, the Minnesota Vikings' offense is staring down an uncertain future.
Backup quarterback Case Keenum drew the start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers after news broke early in the week that Sam Bradford was experiencing swelling in his surgically-repaired left knee.
He did little to calm the nerves of anxious Vikings fans in his Minnesota debut, completing 20 passes on 37 attempts for 167 yards and no touchdowns in a 26-9 loss.
Bradford's absence was felt everywhere.
Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen were held to a combined 71 receiving yards, while rookie running back Dalvin Cook rushed 12 times for 64 yards.
The defense held up in plenty of ways -- the Steelers went just 3-for-13 on third-down conversions, while Xavier Rhodes held one of the league's best receivers in check -- but the offense looked entirely out of sync after putting on a clinic in Week 1.
Head coach Mike Zimmer didn't do much to clarify the situation after the game. Bradford, it seems, is both fine and not fine.
"Sam is fine. He might play one game from now, he might play six weeks from now," Zimmer said. "Either way, he's fine."
They'd better hope so.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Much was made of the matchup between Rhodes and star wide receiver Antonio Brown heading into the game. The two train together in the offseason after crossing paths briefly at Miami's Norland High School, and for the most part, they delivered the battle that fans of such things were looking for. Rhodes shadowed Brown for much of the game, holding him to five catches for 65 yards on 11 targets, a pretty pedestrian stat line for a guy who hauled in all 11 of his targets last week. It was a fairly definitive victory for Rhodes, who exited late in the game with a hip injury but expressed confidence after the game that his health won't be a significant issue in Week 3.
USA TODAY SportsMark Konezny
DON'T FORGET ABOUT ME
The $58 million man is already proving his worth. Everson Griffen shined against the Steelers, sacking Roethlisberger twice and hurrying him four times. The takedowns bring Griffen's career total to 51 sacks, good enough for eighth on the Vikings' all-time list. He has three sacks and seven total tackles since signing that four-year extension.
There weren't many highlights to go around with Keenum at the helm, but at least one member of the Vikings' offense will remember Week 2 for a long, long time. Duluth native C.J. Ham scored the Vikings only touchdown of the game, punching it in after Cook was ruled down at the one-yard line on a 25-yard run in the third quarter. It was Ham's first career touchdown, a big day for the 24-year-old fullback, who spent most of last season on the Vikings' practice squad after spending four years at Division II Augustana. Ham made the move to fullback over the offseason, and is carving out a role for himself despite the presence of Cook, Latavius Murray and Jerrick McKinnon.
USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
The Vikings took 11 penalties for 131 yards against the Steelers, a series of miscues that included two costly pass interference calls. Rhodes was hit with a 22-yard infraction that set the Steelers up on the Vikings' 38-yard line, before a 49-yard penalty on Trae Waynes landed Pittsburgh on the Vikings' 12 yard-line. Both plays led to Pittsburgh touchdowns. Dalvin Cook had an eight-yard run negated by a holding penalty in the first quarter and an illegal formation gave Steelers kicker Chris Boswell a second chance to connect on a field goal.
USA TODAY SportsMark Konezny
THEY SAID IT
"I got my time to rush and got him down twice, but it's a group effort." -- Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen
"We're aggressive corners, and we play aggressive [defense], so it was either catch the ball or we get penalized." -- Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes
"When you're fighting uphill against second-and-20, that puts us behind schedule and doesn't allow us to do the things that we do well on offense, so that was the biggest thing for us today, just shooting ourselves in the foot." -- Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph
Rhodes and the Vikings' secondary draw another tough assignment in Week 3. They return home to take on quarterback Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who sat out Week 1 due to Hurricane Irma but overwhelmed the Chicago Bears in Week 2. Wide receiver Mike Evans racked up 93 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' opener, setting up another showdown between Rhodes and one of the league's top receivers.