For the third time in four years of the Kirk Cousins era, the Minnesota Vikings find themselves with just one win entering Week 5. I’m not sure this is what the Vikings were aiming for when striving to cultivate continuity. It’s no secret that the fanbase has grown tired of the recurring issues, which prohibit them from being relevant.
But have no fear! All will be forgotten and glasses will return to their half-full state after the winless Detroit Lions come to town, right?! Not so fast, my friend. While the Vikings enter Week 5 as nine-point favorites over their fellow NFC North basement dwellers, even the eternally optimistic Skoldier can’t help but harbor a healthy amount of skepticism.
If we’re being honest, the Vikings are capable of coming up short in early-season home games like this, where they are a heavy favorite against a winless team. Think back to 2018, when the Vikings entered Week 3 as a 17-point home favorite against the winless Buffalo Bills. Instead of taking care of business against an inferior opponent (on paper), the Vikings were boat-raced, 27-6.
And who could forget last season’s Week 6? After firing head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff earlier in the week, the winless Atlanta Falcons waltzed into US Bank Stadium. They embarrassed the 1-4 Vikings with a 17-point victory. Cousins delivered in garbage time, and the Vikings lost 40-23.
Make no mistake: If history repeats itself on Sunday and the Vikings blow another allegedly easy victory against a winless opponent inside US Bank Stadium, it would be completely understandable if the Wilfs decide to make immediate and drastic changes.
But what happens if the Vikings come out and play a complete game against an NFL cupcake? Will all be forgotten? Will fans board the hype train for a potential wild-card run? Not likely. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say the Vikings win by three scores against the Motor City Kitties and the Carolina Panthers pull out a victory at home against the 1-3 Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Would you expect the Vikings to leave Charlotte with a Week 6 victory?
Regardless of Sunday’s outcome against Detroit, the Vikings are set to embark on a treacherous month and a half. Four of their next six games are on the road:
- Week 6 – @ Carolina Panthers (3-1)
- Week 7 – Bye
- Week 8 – vs. Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
- Week 9 – @ Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
- Week 10 – @ Los Angeles Chargers (3-1)
- Week 11 – vs. Green Bay Packers (3-1)
- Week 12 – @ San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
The Lions matchup is the equivalent of a middling Big Ten football team scheduling, say, Bowling Green a week before they embark on conference play with the likes of Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Michigan, and Michigan State. If the Vikings can find a way to keep their kneecaps intact against Dan Campbell and the 0-4 Lions, the real test will play itself out over the next seven weeks.
The Vikings have next to nothing to gain on Sunday. If they win? Great, that’s what they’re supposed to do against one of the worst teams in the NFL. And should they display yet another stinker in front of their home fans against a winless opponent, the Wilfs may make wholesale changes before they board the flight for North Carolina in Week 6.