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Minnesota Vikings: 4 bold predictions for Week 14 vs. Steelers

minnesota vikings, kirk cousins, justin jefferson

With a Minnesota Vikings Week 14 game schedule against the Pittsburgh Steelers, there are playoff implications riding on this game’s outcome for both sides. With this game opening up the week on Thursday, the outlook for Minnesota’s side of the Vikings-Steelers game is below.

Dalvin Cook is likely going to miss another game with his shoulder injury (even after being limited at Tuesday’s practice), and with Adam Thielen suffering a high-ankle sprain, the offense for Minnesota will be hard-pressed to conjure up a competent attack against the Steelers defense.

For more insight on the Vikings’ Week 14 matchup against the Steelers, listen below:

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Vikings Week 14 Predictions

4. Tyler Conklin produces first career 100-yard game

In lieu of having Thielen in the lineup, the Vikings will be forced to turn to a few different options, with one of those being tight end Tyler Conklin. Having stepped in for Irv Smith Jr. at the beginning of the year, Conklin has become a solid option for Kirk Cousins to target in the passing game, and his incorporation in the offense points to an even more increased workload on Thursday.

Not only will Conklin be targeted heavily, but he will also set a career mark in receiving yards, producing his first-career 100-plus yard game. With the Steelers boasting a strong pass rush, Cousins may need to turn to Conklin to bail him out of dicey situations often.

3. Justin Jefferson scores twice but is held under 100 yards

When Thielen left Sunday’s contest, Justin Jefferson took over and recorded career bests in receptions (11) and yards (182) on 14 targets. While the DET secondary pales in comparison to what PIT has, the Vikings still will try to incorporate Jefferson as much as possible.

Scoring twice, Jefferson will put up an efficient day for fantasy purposes, but his yardage total will not be as high as they’d like for it to be, ultimately showing a win-loss situation for the Steelers in their quest to slow him down.

2. Kirk Cousins is held under 250 passing yards

Pairing Conklin’s career day and Jefferson’s low-yardage output together helps produce a middling day for Cousins, as he is facing a team that has allowed the third-lowest net passing yards gained per attempt.

Cousins is tied for the fewest interceptions (3) in the league, so having him focus on smart decisions and staying turnover-free is all that the Vikings can and should expect out of him on TNF.

1. Alexander Mattison sets career-high mark in rushing yards

Up to this point, Alexander Mattison has thrived in his role backing up Dalvin Cook, one of the league’s best running backs but also one of the league’s most injured backs.

In three spot starts this year, Mattison has run for over 300 combined yards on 73 touches (at least 22 every game). And with facing the Steelers, who are stronger against the pass than the run, Mattison likely will be called upon again.

With Cook fighting to play a week earlier than expected, look for Mattison to remain the starter on the short week, especially with Cook only ramping up at Tuesday’s practice. 113 rushing yards is Mattison’s career-best so far, and Thursday’s game will see him break that record, helping the Vikings earn a hard-fought win at home to keep pace in the Wild Card race.