Predicting The Rest Of The Vikings’ Schedule

The Minnesota Vikings just took their bye week, currently sitting atop of the division with a 5-1 record. Coming out of the bye, the Vikings have the meat of their schedule coming up. Notable games for the rest of the year include hosting the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, and New York Giants, while also going on the road to play the Buffalo Bills and the Green Bay Packers.

Today I am going to evaluate the remainder of the Vikings’ season and give my prediction as to how I think the team will do over the course of the season.

Week 8 vs. Arizona Cardinals: Win
Vikings Record: 6-1

I’ll repeat a stat I gave in a previous August article: the Cardinals last won a game in Minnesota in 1977 and are 0-10 in the Twin Cities since. That record will drop to 0-11 as I believe the Vikings regroup from their bye week to win a go-either-way contest at home. It is well known that the Cardinals under Kliff Kingsbury are a poor second-half-of-the-season team. Since 2019, when Kingsbury was hired as the Cardinals’ head coach, the Cardinals are 9-20 (including the playoffs) following Week 7. Last year, when these teams met, the Vikings offense lit up the scoreboard, putting up 419 yards of offense (including 177 yards rushing), and the defense collected three sacks and two turnovers off Kyler Murray. Speaking of said defense, it is better in the areas of situational football as well as the pass rush. People forget that if not for a missed field goal by Greg Joseph, the Vikings likely walk out of Arizona last year with a win.

I believe that Murray and DeAndre Hopkins will give the Vikings fits throughout the day, but the Vikings offense will return the favor against the Cardinals’ defense. Thus, I have Minnesota moving to 6-1 with a last-minute win over the Bird Gang.

Week 9 at Washington Commanders: Win
Vikings Record: 7-1

I thought this would be a closer-than-anticipated game to start this year, mostly because I believed that the Commanders’ defense would be better than what it has. With Carson Wentz going on injured reserve and being out for the next four games, this game will also see the Vikings take on yet another backup quarterback in the form of former Viking Taylor Heinicke.

In a revenge game for Kirk Cousins as he returns to his first NFL home, I have the Vikings getting another win and moving to 7-1. Like many Vikings games, it won’t be easy, but I don’t see a reason why the Vikings should lose to Washington. They have the better team in all three phases of the game.

Week 10 at Buffalo Bills: Loss
Vikings Record: 7-2

In case you haven’t watched Buffalo this year, they are really, REALLY GOOD. Honestly, it was not be shocking to see the Vikings put up a performance that is even with or worse than how they played in Philadelphia earlier this year.

In a revenge game for former Viking Stefon Diggs, he and Josh Allen hook up for multiple touchdowns and torch the Vikings’ young secondary. The Vikings offensive line seems to be better this year but it will be no match for Buffalo’s ferocious Von Miller-led pass rush. The Vikings will lose this game and drop to 7-2 on the year.

Week 11 vs. Dallas Cowboys: Win
Vikings Record: 8-2

This is a really tough game to predict. On one hand, I think the Micah Parsons-led Cowboys defense could be a bit too much for the Vikings offense. On the other hand, I do think the Vikings have gotten tired of the Cowboys’ dominance at U.S. Bank Stadium and will be seeking a measure of vengeance against them after losing to their backups for the past two years.

In a defensive affair, I anticipate the Vikings grabbing the win here. I think both pass rushes will have their way in this game, and this will be a lower scoring affair. However, I think the Vikings claim victory here because I trust Kirk Cousins more than Dak Prescott to make a big play late in the game to secure a win.

Week 12 vs. New England Patriots (Thanksgiving): Loss
Vikings Record: 8-3

It’s very hard for me to give the Vikings a win here. For one, this game is a coaching mismatch as the legendary Bill Belichick faces off against the rookie Kevin O’Connell. Secondly, Kirk Cousins is not a good primetime quarterback. Although the NFL doesn’t consider Thanksgiving games as primetime ones, this game is still going to be played under the bright Thursday Night lights. And we know how Cousins mostly does under bright lights.

I could totally see the Patriots walking into U.S. Bank Stadium with their ball-control, run-first offense and keeping the high-powered Viking offense on the sidelines. Like any great defensive-minded coach would, Belichick is probably going to take Justin Jefferson out of the game, likely by putting rookie standout corner Jack Jones on him. That is an issue because the Vikings currently do not have a second punch at wide receiver or running back. In the passing game, K.J. Osborn and Adam Thielen have both struggled with consistency this year and they can both be a little touchdown-dependent at times. As for the run game, it just simply hasn’t been as efficient as anticipated. Dalvin Cook has yet to crack 100 yards rushing in a game this year and only has 450 yards on the ground in six games.

Although I initially anticipated this as a win for the Vikings, I see this as more of a mismatch by the week. As I said, I could totally see Belichick and the Patriots walking into Minnesota and feasting on the Vikings as if they were home-cooked turkey for three hours.

Week 13 vs. New York Jets: Win
Vikings Record: 9-3

The Jets seem to be a good team and an exciting story this year. This is a squad that has three key traits: hustle, intensity, and passion. This is a spunky team that plays hard for their head coach, Robert Saleh, and will be a handful. Although I don’t think they will be as dynamic with the recent news that rookie running back Breece Hall is out for the year with an ACL tear.

However, I anticipate the Vikings getting the win here for one reason: the Jets are still a young squad that will have their ups and downs, and I anticipate this game being one of their toughest tests. I also think that the Vikings will want to rebound from their humiliating loss to the Patriots and they will see the Jets as what they call “fresh meat.” The Jets will by no means be an easy win, but the Vikings will get the win based on quarterback play and overall team experience.

Week 14 at Detroit Lions: Win
Vikings Record: 10-3

The Lions have been somewhat of a disappointment this year. This offense is a high powered one, but when they go up against elite defenses, they shut down completely, as we’ve seen the past two weeks against the Patriots and Cowboys. It seems as if the Lions catfished us in the first four weeks, and we are now seeing what they are really made of.

By this time, I think the Vikings defense will be better, and they will have learned from what happened in Week 3. This is also the Vikings’ first rematch with a divisional opponent this year, and they will want to avenge the collapse that happened in Detroit last year. The Vikings will win this game with a good performance from both sides of the ball, and reach double digit wins for the first time since 2019.

Week 15 vs. Indianapolis Colts: Win
Vikings Record: 11-3

The Vikings return home for the fourth time in five games, this time to take on another big disappointment in the Colts. The Vikings haven’t beaten the Colts since 1997, but that’s going to change. Matt Ryan, who was viewed by many as an upgrade over 2021 starter Wentz, has thrown an NFL-leading nine interceptions throughout the first seven weeks and is on track to lead the league in that stat.

The Colts have just had an unexplainable regression this year. Though injuries haven’t helped on either side of the ball, their offense has gone from decent to a pop-gun unit, the defense has struggled in spots this year, and their offensive line has been a disappointment. Although I originally had this as a loss as I expected the Colts to be better this year, I have changed my mind. The Vikings, who in contrast to the Colts have been better than expected, win this game and move to 11-3, their best record since 2017.

Week 16 vs. New York Giants: Loss
Vikings Record: 11-4

Another game I have changed my mind on is the Week 16 game against the Giants. Nobody who follows football expected them to be as good as they have become this year. This spunky and gritty squad has gone 6-1 through the first seven weeks of the year and they will beat the Vikings in Minneapolis in Week 16.

Fox Sports 1 talk show host Colin Cowherd compared the Vikings and Giants to one another this year. Both teams have limited quarterbacks, great rookie coaches, and always find the spunk and grit to win games. The only difference? The Vikings have more talent and trustability on the perimeter, aka better wide receivers. I believe that comparison, however I still believe the Giants will win.

Although I mostly think the Vikings lose due to coaching, I also think they could lose as they could be looking ahead to their next opponent.

Week 17 at Green Bay Packers: Win
Vikings Record: 12-4

I believed the Packers would sweep the Vikings this year en route to their usual divisional title. Oh boy, was I dead wrong. Don’t worry, it’s the good kind of dead wrong. I believe that the Vikings will sweep the Packers this year and will have the NFC North clinched way before this game.

When these two teams met in Minneapolis earlier this year, the game wasn’t competitive. The Vikings shut down the Packers’ offense and raced out to a 20-0 lead before going on to win 23-7. The Packers have experienced significant struggles on both sides of the ball this season that have quite frankly been unexplainable. While I don’t believe the result in this game will be similar to the Week 1 game, I still believe that the better team, aka the Vikings, will come out on top and move to 12-4.

Week 18 at Chicago Bears: Loss
Vikings Record: 12-5

I believe this will be a game the Vikings lose, but only because they will likely know their playoff position by the time this game rolls around. I believe this is a game where the Vikings will likely rest their starters for a majority of the afternoon.

Although I mentioned the reasoning for my prediction, let’s not forget that this Bears team plays with a lot of heart. They seem to play very hard football for their coach, Matt Eberflus, and it’s been showing for the past couple of weeks. They’ve had a few wins slip by them, such as at the Giants and Vikings and at home against the Commanders, but this is a team that won’t go down without a fight, win or lose. It is for that reason that I believe these young Bears will close out their season with confidence and an upset win over the playoff-bound Vikings.

Please feel free to leave any feedback and maybe even leave your personal record predictions in the comment section below. Thank you for reading and SKOL VIKINGS!
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