Heading into the bye, the Minnesota Vikings were a dismal 1-5. Since then, Minnesota is 4-1, largely due to Kirk Cousins’ stellar play. The Vikings can invert their initial 1-5 record by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars; if they are successful on Sunday, the Vikings will be 5-1 since the bye. With a 6-6 record, the Minnesota Vikings would be in a strong position to resurrect their season.
The Minnesota Vikings Season
It’s been a rollercoaster ride, folks. The Vikings began their year with three-straight losses. After losing to the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, we wrote that “[u]nless they pull off a miracle, the Vikings will look back at Week 3 as the turning point in their season.” Minnesota is on the cusp of pulling off their miracle. The biggest reason for their turnaround has rested in the improved play from Cousins.
Minnesota’s playoff hopes live and die with Cousins. If he continues to play well, then the Minnesota Vikings will have a chance to resurrect their season. Cousins has repeatedly demonstrated tremendous poise over these past five weeks. He is moving a lot better in the pocket, extending plays by shuffling around while keeping his eyes downfield. It has made a massive difference for the Vikings.
Another Cousins rope on 3rd and 13 pic.twitter.com/i7Jwgyrrue
— Luke Braun (@LukeBraunNFL) December 2, 2020
The defense has certainly had their fair share of both good and bad moments. Against the Carolina Panthers, though, the defense played admirably. Though Carolina accumulated twenty-seven points, the defense only really allowed ten points. The Panthers’ defense had two fumbles recovered for touchdowns, and one of their field goals came off of the Chad Beebe fumbled punt. In other words, seventeen of Carolina’s twenty-seven points came directly off of turnovers.
Looking Ahead to the Jaguars
The hapless Jacksonville Jaguars come to town on Sunday. Their current plan is to start Mike Glennon at quarterback. Mike Zimmer should be thrilled. Even still, Minnesota needs to respect the Jaguars. They aren’t good enough to look past their opponents, and they’ve proven that they aren’t immune to losing against awful teams (see Falcons, Atlanta).
The Jaguars have some sneaky talent on offense. James Robinson is having a strong season. Robinson is PFF’s 18th best running back; he has 890 rushing yards, 280 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns. Anyone who has watched the Vikings this season knows that they’ve often struggled to contain the run, so it’s fair to expect the Jaguars to ensure Robinson receives his fair share of touches. Otherwise, the Jaguars will rely on their underrated receivers.
— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) November 29, 2020
Minnesota needs to keep playing well on offense. Cousins needs to continue incorporating his various play makers. Of course, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen (who has been activated from the Covid-19 list) will get their usual workload, and Dalvin Cook should continue to be Minnesota’s main weapon. The Vikings would be smart, though, to ensure their other offensive weapons are integrated into the game plan.
If the offense can be dominant, then life becomes considerably easier for the defense. Zimmer can continue with the bend-but-don’t-break style while hoping for continued excellent play from Eric Kendricks and Harrison Smith. Meanwhile, the special teams will need to ensure they’re doing their best to avoid sinking Minnesota’s chances. If these factors come together, then the Minnesota Vikings are in a good position to resurrect their season.
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