Vikings Looking for First Win as they Head to Indianapolis
The Minnesota Vikings did everything right last week on the offensive side of the ball. Kirk Cousins continued to be the accurate passer he is, completing 19 of 25 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. The running game, behind the one-two-punch of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, was also spectacular with both averaging five and a half yards per carry. Unfortunately, it was the defense, which is HC Mike Zimmer's strong suit, that couldn't keep up with the future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings would go on to score an impressive 34 points, with 24 of those coming in the fourth quarter, but would squander up 43, to a near perfect performance by Rodgers.
Minnesota will be looking to get their first win of the year as they head into Lucas Oil Stadium and take on Philip Rivers and the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC vs. NFC showdown. The Colts, who lost a heartbreaker to Gardner Minshew II and the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20, will also be looking to get into the win column for the first time this season.
This will be the first time that both teams are meeting since 2016, when the Colts took down the Vikings in impressive fashion 34-6. The Colts, who were led by recently retired QB Andrew Luck, would go on to throw for two touchdowns, while the Vikings were held to just two field goals. Including their last loss in 2016, the Vikings have lost five straight against the Colts and haven't defeated them since 1997. That matchup would go on to have four future Hall of Fame players in Cris Carter, John Randle, Marvin Harrison, and Marshall Faulk. Overall, the Vikings have a 7-16-1 record against the Colts all time.
Last week, both teams were favorites going into their respective contests, but were not able to finish the job. This could quite possibly be accredited to both teams trying to get used to new systems and new personnel. This will only be Rivers second career game not wearing a San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers uniform. Unfortunately for him, he was thrown into the same situation he was previous in. A team with one Pro Bowl wide receiver (T.Y. Hilton) and a team with a decent combination in the backfield (Marlon Mack & Jonathan Taylor). The defensive situation is the same, but this Colts team might just edge out Rivers' former team by a player or two.
For the Vikings, Zimmer lost four of his key defensive weapons this past offseason in Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes, and is exclusively working with younger cornerback and safeties that have been acquired within the draft. On top of that, he lost Stefon Diggs, a top 15 receiver in the league, to the Buffalo Bills.
With no preseason and an unorthodox training camp, both teams are still trying to work out the kinks and come up with a game plan that could lead either team to victory in Week 2.
For the visiting Vikings, they will be without starting guard Pat Elflein, who was placed on Injured Reserve the other day, and cornerback Cameron Dantzler, who will sit out with a rib injury. Both cornerback Jeff Gladney (Knee) and wide receiver Bisi Johnson (Knee), look like they will both suit up after being full participants in practice on Thursday and Friday.
For the hosting Colts, they will be without running back Marlon Mack, who tore his Achilles tendon in last week's matchup against the Jags, for the rest of the season. Also sitting out this game for the Colts will be Pro Bowl TE Jack Doyle (Ankle/Knee). Safety Julian Blackmon (Knee) has been a limited participant in practice since Wednesday which makes his status questionable for this Sunday's tilt. Defensive end Justin Houston (Calf), wide receiver Zach Paschal (Ankle) and cornerback Isaiah Rodgers (Calf) all did not practice on Friday and are all listed as questionable.
Neither team wants to start 0-2 so this game might possibly be a must win for both squads. Teams that start the season 0-2, since 2009, have less than a nine percent chance to even make it to the playoffs. In layman's terms, both teams need this game.
The game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. CT and will be televised nationally on Fox. Tim Brando, Robert Smith and Sarah Kustok will be on the call. Sports USA will carry the national radio broadcast with John Ahlers and Mark Carrier on the call. Lastly, on local radio KFAN - FM 100.3/KTLK 1130 AM, Paul Allen and Pete Bercich will be providing the vocal visuals of the contest. The next game after Indianapolis will see the Vikes taking on the Tennessee Titans in Minnesota, next Sunday, as they return home for a quick one game home stand.