As I’ve said on almost radio show we do the past couple weeks (cause i have limited material), the 2020 Minnesota Vikings are a hard team to predict. Sure, they’ve gone 5-1 since the bye, but the past couple weeks (with a loss to Dallas and a missed field goal deciding the game against the sub-.500 Panthers) haven’t exactly built confidence in Zimmer’s squad.
Enter the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that is most likely the biggest mess in the NFL. Like the Vikings the Jags were one game from the 2017 Super Bowl, and like the Vikings they’ve had a lot of turnover since then (albeit for completely different reasons).
The Jags’ young and stifling defensive core had a couple of highly publicized hold outs/trade demands from players Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue in recent seasons, with the Vikings being a temporary beneficiary of that mess.
The Jags started the season 1-0, only to lose ten straight coming into Sunday’s trap ga… Contest.
What do the PurpleTERRITORY fellas think will go down?
Let’s find out!
Kirby O’Connor, Editor, PurpleTERRITORY Media
The Minnesota Vikings week 13 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars has all the makings of a trap game. Coming off an emotional, hard fought win against the Carolina Panthers, the Vikings are without both Irv Smith Jr and D.J. Wonnum. They’re also facing a lowly Jaguars squad who have won one game this season
On top of this, the Jaguars are starting a backup quarterback who isn’t especially mobile, something seems to be the bane of Mike Zimmer’s existence the last few years. It’s not entirely Zimmer’s fault, but it seems like the game plan versus backups for him is to sit back and let them make mistakes, which leads to the quarterback being able to take the easiest throws on the football field.
One thing that is different this season for the Vikings is that they don’t have to, and mostly have not, played perfectly on defense. Minnesota’s offense should match up well with a Jacksonville team that is fourth worst in the league in both passing and rushing yards allowed, third worst in points allowed, and dead last in sacks per game.
Minnesota will likely try to make this a grit and grind contest and try to open things up for Dalvin Cook, who was held to under 100 yards from scrimmage for just the fourth time this season against Carolina last week. However, these are two of the worst scoring defenses in the league and we could see some major fireworks from Minnesota’s offense if offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak feels they’re available. Either way, I think Minnesota takes care of business in their continuing quest to sneak into the playoffs after a 1-5 start.
Final score: 35-17 Vikings
Josh Frey, Writer
The Vikings get Adam Thielen back this week which is huge for their passing game. Justin Jefferson has proven he can be a WR1 in this league, but anytime you can have two of those guys on the field together is a positive.
Dalvin Cook also appears to be 100% going into this game, and given Jacksonville’s inability to stop the run, he should get plenty of touches. His production was limited last week, but I suspect that was more due to his ankle injury than Carolina’s defense. It was the first game since coming back in week eight where he recorded fewer than 100 scrimmage yards.
As for the other side, the show starts and ends with Jacksonville’s James Robinson. Minnesota’s focus should be slowing him down because the Jags’ best hope of winning is by playing a game of keep away. The longer they can hold onto the ball, the longer they can keep their defense and Minnesota’s offense off the field.
That said, the Jaguars are not a team to be taken lightly. Outside of their game with Pittsburgh a couple weeks ago, every game since their bye has been decided by one possession. I expect Mike Zimmer has been preaching that to his team all week, and they will come out focused and ready to play.
Vikings win 28-20