Vikings Need to Turn Win into Serious Momentum

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell runs off the field after pregame warmups before a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

On Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers, the Minnesota Vikings saved their season. Showing up and knocking off one of the better teams in the NFL, despite being a seven-point underdog, it was the kind of win that can change the narrative of a year. Now, they have to execute the second part of it.

Vikings Need to Turn Win into Serious Momentum

Coming into this season, it looked as though the Vikings could at least start the regular season off with a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. Baker Mayfield is hardly a top-tier quarterback, and Todd Bowles was looking at a roster that no longer included Tom Brady. Unfortunately, execution was not crisp, and Minnesota fell flat in Week 1.

Vikings Need to Turn
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell after the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

That negative momentum has remained status quo for the better part of the first six weeks and had Kevin O’Connell’s team sitting at 2-4. Questioning what the season’s outcome could be at this point, playing for a draft pick became a real possibility. Any notion of that reality continuing took a serious detour with a win against the 49ers, and the Vikings have a new reality in front of them.

Starting with Sunday’s game against the Packers in Green Bay, Minnesota should be considered at least marginally likely to win each of their next six games. The Packers are legitimately a bad team. Unlike Minnesota, they aren’t just undisciplined or unlucky, but they are substantially flawed and going nowhere this season. Anything can happen on a weekly basis, but that’s why Minnesota has to set the tone right away on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) celebrates following a missed field goal by New Orleans Saints placekicker Blake Grupe (19) during their football game Sunday, September 24, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers defeated the Saints 18-17. © Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Having beaten the Bears and 49ers in consecutive weeks, Minnesota has a chance to rip off a three-game winning streak that would have them back at the .500 mark. Although the Detroit Lions will still be leading the division, Minnesota hasn’t squared off against the Motor City Kitties at all this season, and being within striking distance before their matchups is a must.

It has been a less-than-ideal ride thus far, but the Vikings being 4-4 through eight weeks is probably something that could have been expected given the opponents on their schedule. Their path to get there wasn’t a convenient one, but that also meant they showed up in key spots to hold serve.

Momentum-building wins like the one on Monday Night Football are essential, but only if you do something with that momentum. O’Connell must refocus his group to be fully prepared for a rivalry game in Green Bay. The Packers aren’t the same quality of opponent as San Francisco, but that means the Vikings should have ample opportunity to run away with it by executing at the same high level.

Oct 8, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Taylor Swift fans hold up a sign before the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

It will be chilly after at Lambeau Field on Sunday, and Green Bay will always get up for a game against the rivals to the west. Still, though, the proverbial ball is in the Vikings court, and they can control the narrative of this season by making Monday’s win mean much more than a one-game outcome.

So far, Minnesota has a winning streak. Now, they need to turn it into a sustained run.

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.