The Vikings are entering Week 3 with a record of 1-1, and with the Packers now 2-0, it would really behoove Minnesota to snag a win in order to keep pace with Aaron Rodgers and Co.
The good news is Minnesota will be playing a very beatable opponent in the Oakland Raiders and will be home for a second straight week.
Here are four reasons the Vikings will top the Raiders this Sunday.
4. Dalvin Cook Will Eat the Raiders Up
Yes, I know Oakland’s run defense has actually been solid over the first two weeks, but this is also largely the same unit that ranked 30th in the NFL in defending the run last season.
Chances, this Raiders run defense will come back down to earth, and Dalvin Cook could be the guy to make that happen.
Cook has been a monster over the first couple of weeks, racking up 265 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Most recently, he gashed a stout Packers defense for 154 yards and a score.
If Cook did that to a vastly improved Green Bay defense, imagine what he will do to Oakland?
Expect a big game from Cook this weekend.
3. Kirk Cousins Can’t Possibly Play Any Worse
Kirk Cousins has gotten off to a disastrous start this year, as he has thrown for just 328 yards while completing a meager 52.4 percent of his passes over the first couple of weeks.
As pedestrian as some people think Cousins is, he isn’t this bad.
Remember: this is a man who has completed 66.3 percent of his throws for his career, and last season, he tallied a completion percentage of 70.1 percent in what people considered a down year overall.
Unless Cousins is hiding an injury, there is no way he continues to play this poorly, and he’ll have a great opportunity to right the ship against a shoddy Raiders pass defense that is now missing rookie safety Johnathan Abram.
2. They’re Home
It doesn’t seem all that probable that Minnesota will drop two games in a row, especially against an Oakland team that everyone outside of the Bay Area believes is inferior to the Vikings overall.
Oakland went 1-7 on the road last year, and it has yet to play a road game in 2019. The Vikings weren’t exactly world-beaters in their building last season, going 5-3, but they did have an impressive victory in Week 1 over the Atlanta Falcons.
1. The Raiders Lack Weapons
With Antonio Brown gone, the Raiders’ offense went from very interesting to very ordinary.
Tyrell Williams is now Oakland’s No. 1 receiver, and while he is solid, he is not a top guy. There is tight end Darren Waller, who has shown plenty of of promise, but he is still very unproven, and with a lack of elite receiving talent around him, it’s going to be hard for him to get loose.
The Raiders’ running game is also just so-so.
Don’t forget that the Vikings were ranked fourth in the NFL in defense in 2018, so they are more than equipped to shut down what is nothing more than average—at best—Raiders offensive attack.