Are the Vikings Being Slept On?
After the Minnesota Vikings lost their starting quarterback a week ago, things seemed dire even amid a winning streak. Then, they beat the Atlanta Falcons on the road to extend that streak. Still, it appears they aren’t getting their due.
Are the Vikings Being Slept On?
Obviously, everyone involved with the Minnesota Vikings would prefer to have Kirk Cousins healthy and running Kevin O’Connell’s offense. After his Achilles tore, that no longer was a possibility. Jaren Hall stepped in for a brief cameo before the recently acquired Josh Dobbs got the job done. On the road, as underdogs, the Vikings emerged victorious.
Still, though, the win wasn’t enough. Four victories in a row don’t appear to be sufficient either. Hosting the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, oddsmakers have Minnesota as a 2.5-point underdog. Not only do the Vikings have a solid homefield advantage when playing in front of their fans, but it isn’t like Derek Carr’s squad is a juggernaut.
It wasn’t an ideal start to the season, with Minnesota losing to a mediocre Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad at home. They then squandered opportunities to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Chargers, and Kansas City Chiefs. Those games were about a lack of discipline and poor execution more than anything, but it was evident this roster had talent.
Beating the Chicago Bears in an ugly game at Soldier Field didn’t prove much, but handling the San Francisco 49ers in prime time should have shown plenty. A drubbing of the hapless Green Bay Packers and then the victory over the Falcons should reflect handling adversity and growing as a team. If anything, this team has now earned their stripes.
There is nothing yet to hang a proverbial hat on for the season. After all, the Vikings are only one game above .500 and still looking up at the Detroit Lions in the standings. That said, they have quickly dissipated any talk about tanking, and a win on Sunday would give them their fifth in a row. Maybe this roster relishes the opportunity to be overlooked and counted out. No one in the locker room cares about the Vegas odds for their matchup. That said, they can do plenty to change the national perception this week.
Again, the Saints come to town as a team that is virtually as expected. They should hover around .500 most of the season, and they’ll be near a playoff opportunity at the end due to the dismal division they play in. Chris Olave is a blossoming star, and Alvin Kamara has been doing it for a long time. It isn’t as though New Orleans is a bottom feeder, but this is a team Minnesota needs to, and should, beat.
Handling their business is something the Vikings have done in recent weeks. It has been a very strong lunch pail mentality in that the next man continues to step up, and the job gets done no matter what it looks like. Dobbs is now the quarterback of record, and while he will potentially get Justin Jefferson for the first time this week, making do with what is available to him is a must. The Vikings showed plenty of grit in their victory over Atlanta, and cruising to something a bit easier in Week 10 would be nice to see.
Maybe the Vikings don’t need the flowers or appreciation from those on the outside. Perhaps they’ll just keep handling their business as counted-out underdogs. No matter what, this team is much better than its record, and overlooking them doesn’t seem like a great strategy.
Dobbs or Hall. Who You Got?
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.