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The Raiders are in need of upgrading their offensive personnel in the offseason

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HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — The Raiders’ past three games showed Las Vegas’ stagnant offense wasn’t all Josh McDaniels’ fault and at the same time almost entirely his doing.

Las Vegas’ in-game coaching and preparation haven’t improved and, in fact, have dramatically regressed during its three-game skid. That was clear during Sunday’s hard-on-the-eyes 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in which both teams barely gained 200 yards.

But the current coaches are working with the players McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler — both of whom were fired on Oct. 31 — put in place. And there’s only so much they can do with them.

Most glaring, the Raiders (5-8) don’t have a franchise quarterback, and whether rookie Aidan O’Connell even starts Thursday night’s home game against the Los Angeles Chargers is in question. Interim coach Antonio Pierce said Monday he’ll decide later in the week whether to stay with O’Connell or go back to Jimmy Garoppolo, who’s been intercepted on 5.4% of his passes — easily the worst rate in the league.

Las Vegas will need a player in next year’s quarterback-rich draft, but that position isn’t the only question mark. Josh Jacobs, despite a recent surge, hasn’t played at the level of last season, when he led the NFL in rushing. His future with Las Vegas always looked doubtful after this season, but Raiders coaches have been reluctant to give another running back much playing time. The draft or free agency probably will be the answer.

The Raiders’ offensive line needs an infusion of talent, too, though having one of the league’s top left tackles in Kolton Miller is a good place to start.

Same with Davante Adams at wide receiver, but the Raiders might want to seriously consider moving him in the offseason to acquire draft capital to rebuild the roster. Adams is wasting his talent in Las Vegas, and there are no signs of a quick turnaround at this point even if owner Mark Davis — who also owns the two-time WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces — hires the Becky Hammon of football coaches.

There’s a lot that needs to be done to improve an offense that has reached 20 points just once this season, and that work will occur after the season.

Las Vegas’ coaches, in the meantime, will have to make do with what they have — which isn’t a lot.

“Like I told the guys, the Raiders beat the Raiders last night,” Pierce said Monday.

Hard to argue.

WHAT’S WORKING

It would be easy to brush off the Raiders’ defensive performance against Minnesota as a more of statement about the Vikings’ porous offense, but this is a trend. The Raiders are ninth in the league in points allowed at 19.9 per game, a remarkable turnaround for a defense that last season was 26th after giving up a 24.6 average.

WHAT NEEDS WORK

It’s clear given the injuries to Miller and center Andre James that the coaches didn’t trust the offensive line to hold up long enough for O’Connell to throw downfield. He probably didn’t trust the protection, either. The Vikings sacked him four times and hit him on five other plays.

STOCK UP

DE Tyree Wilson, the seventh overall draft pick this year, finally is starting to play up to expectations after a slow start. He had a sack against the Vikings, a quarterback hit, his first tackle for loss and tied a personal high with four tackles.

“Most rookies hit the rookie wall in November,” Pierce said. “He’s gotten better the last couple of weeks.”

STOCK DOWN

Taking advantage of opportunities. Las Vegas had its chance from the beginning to get what would’ve been crucial points on the scoreboard. The Raiders had a promising opening drive by reaching Minnesota’s 42 before a holding call and a sack pushed the ball back to the Raiders’ side of the 50.

Then, early in the second half, Hunter Renfrow caught a 38-yard pass to put the ball on the 11. Renfrow fumbled three plays later, and the Vikings recovered.

INJURIES

Jacobs went out with a knee injury in the fourth quarter, and Pierce said Monday he didn’t have an update. The Raiders also will keep a close eye on Miller (shoulder) and James (ankle). DT Adam Butler (foot) and LB Kana’i Mauga (knee) also got hurt.

KEY NUMBER

83 — AJ Cole set a Raiders record with an 83-yard punt Sunday. It was nearly an 82-yarder, but DJ Turner couldn’t catch up in time to down the ball at the 1. Shane Lechler held the previous record with an 80-yarder in 2011. Cole’s punt is tied with four others for 17th longest in NFL history. Among those is JK Scott, who had a punt that long this season for the Chargers.

NEXT STEPS

Backup quarterback Easton Stick is likely to start for the Chargers when they visit the Raiders on Thursday night.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

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