After a thrilling win against the Detroit Lions, the Minnesota Vikings look to improve to 3-1 in London this Sunday. Both NFC teams are peering into the playoffs, and this matchup could be an important tie breaker. With QB Jameis Winston, WR Michael Thomas, and OG Andrus Peat all being inactive for the Saints due to injury, the Vikings will take advantage of this matchup, dominating the Saints on all levels.
In Carolina, the Saints struggled during week 3, especially on offense. Multiple turnovers and poor tackling allowed the Panthers to score and maintain a lead throughout the game, even with far less talent. However, rookie wide receiver Chris Olave has stood out on the field, winning Offensive Rookie of the Month and gathering over 140 yards last week. With Michael Thomas out, Olave will continue to be fed the ball in important situations. He will gather plenty of yards once again, taking advantage of a weak Vikings secondary. This time, his throws will come from QB Andy Dalton, who, although not having as great of an arm, is a better decision-maker than Winston, and will provide these Saints with a higher floor come Sunday. Additionally, with Andrus Peat out, former Vikings third-round pick Wyatt Davis will make his first NFL start, facing defenders including Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips who had their way with him during training camp.
In Minnesota, though there seemed to be a lack of energy at times during week 3, important plays both offensively and defensively allowed the group to complete an impressive comeback against a gritty Lions team. While Justin Jefferson saw fewer opportunities due to the Lions defensive scheme, receivers Adam Thielen and KJ Osborn demonstrated that they can step up and make plays when needed to. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore will give Jefferson some trouble, as will the Saints defensive line, but both the Vikings offensive line as well as the receivers have shown improvement and ability to allow Kirk Cousins to lead this offense. With or without edge rusher Za’darius Smith, the Vikings defensive line led by Danielle Hunter should create a great challenge for the Saints offense.
The injuries of the Saints in combination with their lackluster performance thus far this season makes it difficult to see a New Orleans bounce back game in this London affair. The Vikings will be able to dominate defensively, and with so much talent on this Vikings offense, the points will start rolling in. Minnesota will win this one 26-11.