It has only been a two weeks, but it seems like forever since the last time the Minnesota Vikings took the field. Well believe it or not, they are still undefeated and will be trying to start a season 6-0 for the first time since 2009 this weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles.
This matchup was a little more interesting two weeks ago when the Eagles were also undefeated, but it still remains pretty intriguing at the very least. Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford will be facing the team that traded him away less than two months ago and that itself is enough for anyone to get excited about this game.
Minnesota is 1-1 under head coach Mike Zimmer coming off of a bye week, losing on the road to the Chicago Bears in 2014. The matchup this Sunday is also on the road, so it will be interesting to see how the Vikings respond after having a few extra days to be lazy on the couch.
In case Zimmer and his staff forgot to go over anything before this weekend’s game, below are a few things that Minnesota must make sure they emphasize during their time in Philadelphia Sunday.
DO – Keep feeding Cordarrelle Patterson the ball
It is clear that Zimmer and the rest of the Vikings’ coaching staff are happy with how hard the receiver has worked in the most recent offseason. His effort has translated to Patterson having the ball in his hands more during the team’s last two games.
Plus the fact that, as a gunner on Minnesota’s punt coverage, he has been chasing down opposing punt returners like they are trying to run away with his daughter has not hurt his standing with the coaching staff either.
He has yet to truly break free from the defense this year and have a Patterson-esque play that Vikings’ fans became so accustomed to during his rookie season in 2013. But if Minnesota keeps getting him the ball, it seems like these types of plays are bound to eventually happen once again.
DON’T – Make this game come down to Blair Walsh making a kick
Yes we know, Walsh missed a potential game winning kick during the Vikings’ playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks last year (every Minnesota telecast this season mentions it at least two or three times anyways just in case Will Smith has come and wiped everyone’s memory away). Sadly, it does not seem as though the Vikings’ kicker has fully recovered from the effects of missing that field goal attempt.
Minnesota has not needed to call on Walsh for a potential game-tying or game-winning situation yet this year and it may be best to keep it that way. A make could do wonders for this guy’s confidence but a miss could send him into an ugly tailspin.
In order for the Vikings to truly have a shot at winning a Super Bowl this season, they need good performances each week from every player who hits the field. This includes Walsh.
DO – Cause Carson Wentz’ head to spin completely off of his body
A few weeks ago, Wentz was being thought of the second-coming of Aaron Rodgers. However, in his last two games he has looked more like the second-coming of Scott Mitchell.
Having seen their team lose their last two games, Eagles’ fans have been quickly reminded that Wentz is still playing in his very first NFL season.
Four of the five defenses Philadelphia and their rookie quarterback have faced in 2016 rank in the bottom third of the league in terms of yards allowed per game. So a matchup with Minnesota’s top ranked defense should be a true to test to see how good this rookie really is.
For the Vikings sake, they hope that Wentz continues to come back down to earth and makes their job much easier on Sunday.
DON’T – Fall behind by double digits early
During two of Minnesota’s five games this year, the team has fallen behind by at least 10 points at some point in the first half. They did end up coming back from that deficit eventually in each game, but there is no need to find out if they can do it once again this Sunday.
In the Eagles’ last two games, which they lost, they headed into the locker room at halftime trailing their opponent. During their three wins this season, they were leading their opponent after two quarters of play.
Seems pretty simple for the Vikings. If they just make sure they have more points than Philadelphia at the half on Sunday, Minnesota’s sixth win of the year seems almost inevitable.