The Vikings enter the game off of a come-from-behind 28-27 win over the Carolina Panthers. The victory pushed their season record to 5-6.
The Jaguars come to Minneapolis after a tough 27-25 loss at the hands of the Cleveland Browns. They also come without GM David Caldwell, who was fired after the team’s 10th consecutive loss.
Jacksonville gave the Browns all they could handle, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to avoid the loss.
Aldrick Rosas gave Jacksonville an early 3-0 lead on a 54-yard field goal. A Baker Mayfield to Jarvis Landry five-yard touchdown pass gave Cleveland its first lead. The teams would then exchange 24-yard field goals before a Mike Glennon to Colin Johnson 46-yard bomb gave Jacksonville a 13-10 lead.
Cleveland came right back with a touchdown of its own, this time on a Mayfield to Austin Hooper touchdown pass. Jacksonville got momentum back in the third quarter when Andrew Wingard recovered a Harrison Bryant fumble. Jacksonville took advantage of the short field with a 30-yard touchdown drive capped by a Mike Glennon to Tyler Eifert two-yard touchdown pass. The Jags missed on the two-point try but held a 19-17 lead.
A Cody Parkey 45-yard field goal put Cleveland back on top, and a fourth quarter 90-yard drive culminated in a one-yard Nick Chubb touchdown run that gave the Browns a 27-19 lead.
The Jags would stuff Browns running back Kareem Hunt on 4th-and-1 and took over with 5:42 left in the game. They would drive 78 yards in 11 plays, with James Robinson carrying it in from four yards out to pull Jacksonville within two. Glennon’s two-point conversion attempt would miss the mark and the Jaguars were down 27-25 with just 2:14 to play. A critical 13-yard pass from Mayfield to Chubb on 3rd-and-12 iced the win for the Browns.
Glennon would complete 20-of-35 passes for 235 yards and a pair of touchdowns. First-year running back James Robinson continued his fine rookie campaign with 128 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Colin Johnson led the receiving corps with 96 yards and a touchdown on four grabs.
Baker Mayfield threw for 258 yards and two scores on 19-of-29 passing. Chubb led the ground attack, which amassed 207 rushing yards, with 144 yards and a touchdown on just 19 carries. Kareem Hunt chipped in with 62 yards on 10 carries. Jarvis Landry led all receivers with 143 yards and a touchdown on eight catches.
The Vikings stole one at the Bank in a game where both teams made some critical errors.
In the end, Kirk Cousins led a masterful 75-yard drive in the final two minutes, and Joey Slye’s wide-left 54-yard field goal attempt on the Panthers’ last play helped Minnesota escape with the victory.
Teddy Bridgewater would return to the place where his career started. He threw for 267 yards and a touchdown on 19-of-36 passing, but had a crucial interception made by Eric Kendricks deep in Vikings territory during the first half. With just under two minutes to play, he would miss a wide open D.J. Moore in the end zone that would have iced the game for Carolina. Mike Davis did very little in the running game, picking up just 55 yards on 15 carries. Robby Anderson had 94 yards and a touchdown on four catches while Curtis Samuel had 72 yards on five catches. The real star for the Panthers was rookie defensive back Jeremy Chinn, who recorded 13 tackles (seven solo) along with two fumbles returned for touchdowns.
Cousins had another strong game for the Vikings, completing 34-of-45 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns. Davlin Cook did very little in the running game, picking up just 61 yards on 18 carries while also committing one of the fumbles Chinn returned for a score. With Adam Thielen out due to COVID protocol, four different Vikings receivers had seven catches. Bisi Johnson led the way with 74 receiving yards. Justin Jefferson added 70 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with Kyle Rudolph picking up 68 yards and Chad Beebe having his best day as a receiver with 63 yards and the eventual game-winning touchdown catch, the first of his career. It was Beebe’s muffed punt with 2:14 to play that nearly cost Minnesota the game.
The Vikings have been difficult to figure out this season. We never know what team is going to show up. They’ve struggled in a few games they should have won with ease and battled hard through games where we figured they’d get blown out.
This will be their third consecutive home game, but the Bank hasn’t been “home sweet home” this season. Minnesota is 2-4 at home and hasn’t looked good most Sundays.
I think it will change this week. Mike Glennon has some nice weapons to work with in James Robinson and Colin Johnson, but the Jacksonville defense can be run on, and the Vikings have a pretty good back in Dalvin Cook. If Thielen is back from his COVID issue, the already-strong offense is even better.
I believe the Jags, despite a 1-10 record, will give Minnesota a game, but the offense should be a bit much for Jacksonville to handle.
Against my better judgment I’m taking the Vikings in this one, 31-23.
(Featured Image Credit: Vikings.com)