Week three was not the prettiest of games as the Vikings found themselves trailing for the entire game until less than a minute left, but hey, a win’s a win. Minnesota looks to build on that momentum Sunday morning as they take on the New Orleans Saints from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Here is what it will take for the Vikings to leave their trip abroad with a victory.
1. Don’t get Alvin Kamara’d Again
The last time these two teams faced each other was a Christmas Day massacre of the Vikings on the back of six touchdowns from Alvin Kamara. Wide receiver Michael Thomas is out and Andy Dalton is expected to start in place of Jameis Winston at quarterback so a large workload should be expected for the Saints’ running back. Kamara will not only be likely to get a ton of carries, but he can also serve as a safety blanket for Dalton in the passing game. Erik Kendricks could be the most important player on Sunday as he will play a key role in both stopping the run and covering Kamara in the passing game. Priority number one for the Vikings defense on Sunday morning should be avoiding anything resembling a repeat of Kamara’s Christmas performance from two years ago.
2. Get Justin Jefferson Going
As long as Justin Jefferson is a member of the Minnesota Vikings, I could list this as a key to winning that week’s game. When Jefferson is going, he can be one of the most valuable non-quarterbacks in the NFL. That’s the problem though; that is why this is a key for this week’s game. For the past two weeks, Jefferson has not seemed like himself, he has not been the dominant force we have come to know and love. Luckily Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn were able to step up last week against the Lions, but if the Vikings are going to have long-term success this year, Justin Jefferson having 3 catches for 40 yards each game just is not going to cut it. Jefferson is going to have his work cut out for him going against Marshon Lattimore, but he is going to have to find a way to step up in a big way.
3. Better Fourth Down Decision Making from Kevin O’Connell
Last week against the Detroit Lions, Greg Joseph missed two kicks from 56 yards out giving the Lions favorable field position to set up touchdown drives. Before this game, Joseph had been money all season and throughout training camp so I am okay with trusting your kicker, but now that he has missed those two kicks it brings to question if maybe it would be better to play the field position game with Ryan Wright trying to pin the other team deep. The weather forecast for London on Sunday shows a chance of rain, if this is the case that is even more reason to potentially consider other options when presented with a long field goal opportunity. I am not saying the Vikings should stop trusting Greg Joseph, but with the weather forecast, it may be smart to either go for it or punt when the other option is a field goal of 55+.
Prediction: The Saints’ offense struggles to get going at times and the Vikings score enough to get the job done. Vikings 26, Saints 20