As we get ready to watch week 3 in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings are at an early crossroads. While there is plenty more football left in the year, no one wants to start 0-3. Let’s take a look at what to expect and how they may overcome being the underdog in their own home.
Starting With the Basics
A place to start in week 3 has to be with quarterback Kirk Cousins. In the past two games, he has a quarterback rating of 61.9, the worst in the league. He has thrown two touchdowns and four interceptions. However, even with unpromising numbers such as these. The Vikings have been within three points in both of their losses. A small conciliation to be sure, but at least showing that they are within striking distance of turning the games around and coming away from week 3 with their first win would be huge for the team.
An Injured Defense
As with any team, injuries cannot be planned for and must be dealt with as they come. In this case, the Vikings defense is being hit hard before they even get on the field. LB Anthony Barr is out for the season, and rookie LB Troy Dye is out for at least two or three weeks. CBs Mike Hughes and Cameron Dantzler will not be playing this week either. A strong Tennessee Titans team hasn’t lost yet this season; with the Vikings defense weakened, they may be able to run holes through it. This is the time for younger and replacement linebackers to make a name for themselves.
Home Field Advantage?
As we have seen in the first two weeks across the NFL. The advantage of the home field isn’t quite the same anymore. At least until the fans are allowed back into all of the venues. The home crowd is missing and the piped in cheers and noise doesn’t quite give the players the same rush. While being the home team doesn’t guarantee a win by any means. The Vikings are underdogs this week in their own stadium. Most players still prefer to be around their own fans and hearing them call from the stands.
This year has added an extra challenge to teams that are struggling and need to find that extra edge to get themselves out of the rut. Now it is in the hands of the technical crew to make the stadiums feel as much like there is a crowd of people cheering them on as they can. This of course will be trial and error for probably a good part of the season. The technical crews can end up being the unsung heroes of the season. Especially if they can get their home team to focus when they need it most.
The Vikings need to get a win and stop their slide, both for their record and their mentality. While an 0-3 start isn’t something that is unrecoverable from. It is something that can easily make self-doubts come up on the field and hurt playing further. Keeping healthy is also an issue with the injuries thus far. While it is impossible to predict or prevent injuries, those who are healthy must keep together and knock the Titans off their game and get back on track.
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