The Minnesota Vikings travel to Indianapolis for a Week 2 match up against the AFC South’s Indianapolis Colts. Both teams are coming off of Week 1 losses – the Vikings 43-34 at home to the Packers and the Colts 27-20 on the road against the Jaguars.
Phillip Rivers made his Colts debut completing 36-of-46 passes for 357 yards, but he was intercepted twice. Nine different Colts caught passes, with Parris Campbell and Jonathan Taylor leading the way, each making six grabs. The running game was good for 88 yards on 22 carries but may have been dealt a blow, as Marlon Mack left the game early with a possible torn Achilles tendon. If Mack is out, Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor would most likely handle most of the ball-carrying duties.
Despite allowing just 241 yards in total offense, the Colts defense had no answer for Gardner Minshew III. Minshew completed 19-of-20 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
The Vikings defense will need to rebound after a terrible performance against Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns, with virtually no pressure on him all day. If the Vikings can get pressure on Rivers, he will make mistakes. No Mack in the backfield should benefit the Vikings, as Hines and Taylor aren’t the same caliber of running back.
On offense, the Vikings will need more balance and better line play. Cousins saw a lot of pressure from the Packers defensive line despite only being sacked once, resulting in a safety. The Colts got to Minshew four times in Week 1. Pressure like that, against Cousins, could lead to another long day for the Purple Crew.
This is a winnable game for Minnesota. The key will be turnovers – and Rivers is often good for two. Using Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison to control the clock and getting Bisi Johnson, Justin Jefferson, and Irv Smith, Jr. involved in the passing game should be priorities. It will be a struggle but the Vikings should pull out a hard-fought road win.