The Minnesota Vikings face off on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, and they are big underdogs. However, just because they are big underdogs doesn’t mean they can’t pull off the upset. They have had big wins already this season on the road, and this will be another one of them. Let’s breakdown four reasons the Vikings will upset the Saints and advance to the divisional round.
It’s not the best-case scenario that the Vikings have to go on the road to play, but this is a game that is in a dome, something they are used to.
There will be no factor in the elements which should help the passing game. The Vikings are also used to playing in loud environments, so the crowd shouldn’t have as big of a factor on them as it would other teams.
3. Danielle Hunter and Ifeadi Odenigbo
Danielle Hunter is one of the best defensive ends in all of football and still doesn’t get enough attention for what he has done. Fellow defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo has burst on the scene this season and has also spent a lot of time in the opposing team’s backfield.
In this game, Hunter is probably going to draw double teams, but sometimes that isn’t even enough. If he is bringing more than one guy, it’s going to open up rush lanes for others like Odenigbo.
2. Running backs getting healthy
The Vikings have the most success when they can use a balanced attack on the ground and through the air. In Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers, the Vikings didn’t have Dalvin Cook or Alexander Mattison, and it cost them the game. The Packers defense could key on the pass, and the Vikings offense couldn’t get anything going.
Cook and Mattison are both expected to play in this game and play at a high level. Cook has run through “elite” run defenses all season. The Saints are only giving up 91.3 yards per game, but that shouldn’t bother Cook or Mattison.
Look for both of them to have big games, which will also open up a lot of room in the passing game.
1. Kirk Cousins has played well on the road
Kirk Cousins has gotten a lot of heat for his play in games and on the road, but he has found some success in them this year.
Earlier this season, when the Dallas Cowboys were playing well, Cousins went on the road and knocked them off. He also played one of his better games of the season against the Seattle Seahawks, and even though the Vikings lost that one, it can still help the confidence.
On the season Cousins, completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 26 yards and six touchdowns. With the Saints keying on the Vikings running game, it’s going to open up the passing game, especially deep.
Cousins has all the tools to have a big game and lead the Vikings to the big upset. The win should also put the critics to rest, at least for one game.