Minnesota Vikings Schedule Prediction: Part I
Writers have spilled a lot of digital ink covering the tremendous turnover on Minnesota’s defense, Kirk Cousins’s seeming inability to perform in the clutch, and the offensive line’s eternal struggle to become consistently competent. When they finally take the field, the Vikings will be able to show whether these criticisms are accurate. Until then, we’ll offer our best guess at how the Vikings will perform by chopping up the season into four quaters. (If you’re interested, take a look at the full schedule).
Week 1: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings – Sunday, Sept. 13 @ 1 p.m.
The Vikings begin with a true test for Zimmer’s revamped defense. Davante Adams is a tough cover, but there are very few options outside of him in the passing game, especially with Devin Funchess opting out. The Packers made an absolute mess of the draft by selecting Jordan Love in the opening round, leaving Aaron Rodgers with his usual skill-player deficiency. The Vikings should go all-out to slow down Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, players who have created issues for them in the past. If they can make the Packers one-dimensional, the Vikings will be able to withstand the inevitable completions between Rodgers and Adams.
Prediction: Vikings 24 – Packers 21
Week 2: Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts – Sunday, Sept. 20 @ 1 p.m.
Frank Reich and Chris Ballard have done a tremendous job in Indianapolis. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Philip Rivers experience a career resurgence as a Colt. Their defense has talent. It’s not just the trade for DeForest Buckner, who will likely overwhelm Minnesota’s interior linemen at different points throughout the game. Linebacker Darius Leonard is impressive, and Justin Houston can create pressure. If the Vikings are smart, they’ll scheme Adam Thielen to Xavier Rhodes’s side of the field.
Prediction: Vikings 32 – Colts 17
Week 3: Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings – Sunday, Sept. 27 @ 1 p.m.
In many ways, the Titans mirror the Vikings. They play tough football, rely on the run game, and only ask their quarterback – Ryan Tannehill – to manage the game. It’s probably true that the Titans overachieved last season, but they’ll still be a handful. Derrick Henry will be a lot for the Vikings to handle, especially with so much uncertainty at defensive tackle. They may also struggle to cover A.J. Brown, who is already one of the best receivers in the NFL.
Prediction: Titans 27 – Vikings 18
Week 4: Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans – Sunday, Oct. 4 @ 1 p.m.
This game would be considerably more difficult if Bill O’Brien didn’t have a proclivity for trading away elite talent. Even still, Houston is to be respected. Deshaun Watson is among the most gifted players in the NFL, and there is still plenty of talent at receiver. J.J. Watt will present plenty of issues for the Vikings offensive line. Expect Gary Kubiak to offer plenty of help to whomever is tasked with taking on Watt. If the Vikings can contain Watt and Watson, they’ll snag a win on the road.
Prediction: Vikings 30 – Texans 21
Record After the Opening Quarter of the Season: 3-1