Minnesota Vikings: 4 bold predictions for Week 2 vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Minnesota Vikings played a terribly disappointing game in their Week 1 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. This was a game Vikings fans have had circled as a win since the schedule was released but now the team is 0-1 with the next three against Arizona, Seattle, and Cleveland. In this specific post, we’re doing our Vikings predictions vs Cardinals.
This upcoming game against the Arizona Cardinals is much more important than anticipated just one week ago before the defeat against the Bengals. Can this Minnesota defense slow down Kyler Murray? Can the offense slow down Chandler Jones?
Vikings Week 2 Predictions
4. The defense can’t slow down Kyler Murray
After seeing what Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense did against this Vikings team in Week 1 there is little reason to expect them to stop the Cardinals star quarterback. Kyler Murray should be set up to have a great day, especially if linebacker Anthony Barr remains out, with both his legs and through the air. If Week 1 is any indication of what’s to come for both teams then no one is slowing down Murray. He appears to be entering his big year three breakout after two good years to begin his NFL career.
The Minnesota Vikings defense was rebuilt this past offseason after an abysmal 2020 but you couldn’t tell in Week 1. The main focus seemed to be stopping the run when they added Sheldon Richardson, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Michael Pierce but Joe Mixon still went for over 120 yards. Joe Burrow didn’t have to do a ton but the Vikings secondary never really got in his head as he completed 20/27 passes with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Either this Vikings defense is cooked or they had a bad day.
Until proven otherwise there is no reason to believe Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins won’t both have great games. If the Vikings want to be taken seriously they have to prove they’re a good team rather than just adding a bunch of veteran free agents and hoping everything works out. No team wants to start 0-2 but if the Minnesota Vikings can’t slow down Murray that’s exactly where they’ll be.
3. Dalvin Cook gets 30+ touches
When things start to turn south for the Vikings on offense they have one failsafe switch they push every time. That switch is giving Dalvin Cook the ball every chance they get. It happened last year after the Vikings started 1-5, they took the ball out of Kirk Cousins’ hands and just told Dalvin this is his show to run. In four of the six games after the 1-5 start, Cook had at least 30 touches. The Vikings offense wasn’t good last week but they still put up 24 points. Despite the points, it wasn’t done the Mike Zimmer way as they threw the ball 49 times.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said recently that they were going to avoid throwing 40+ times in this Week 2 matchup against the Cardinals as it’s not the Minnesota way. If the throws are dropping that means the runs are increasing so expect Dalvin Cook to get the ball a ton. That’s not a bad thing entirely as Cook is one of the most talented running backs in the entire league but he’s been very injury prone throughout his career. If the Minnesota Vikings do go this route then they have to be wary of overworking Cook after a huge usage season in 2020.
2. Patrick Peterson gets an interception in his return to Arizona
Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson played the first ten years of his career with the Arizona Cardinals, the Vikings opponent this weekend. He was a franchise icon for most of his time there, but things turned south pretty quickly back in 2018. Over his final few seasons in Arizona he didn’t look like the lockdown corner he once was and frustration seemed to get the best of him when he requested a trade in 2018. The history between the Cardinals and Peterson is murk from there but Peterson took back the request before getting a six game PED ban in the 2019 season.
Peterson played in all 16 games of the 2020 season but the Cardinals General Manager showed no interest in a reunion after the season, causing Peterson to lose respect for him. Now in Week 2 Peterson will make his return to Arizona wanting to get his revenge and he’ll be successful. The Vikings defense overall will likely get carved but Murray will make a mistake and throw an interception to Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals will likely win in the ends but Peterson getting an interception would be a great storyline.
1. The Minnesota Vikings offensive tackles get torn apart by Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt
Chandler Jones is coming off a career game against a pretty solid offensive linen that saw him tally five sacks and four tackles for loss all by himself. On the other side, J.J. Watt didn’t get to the quarterback for a sack but still made his presence felt throughout. The duo now heads to Minnesota where the offensive tackles blocking them are Rashod Hill and Brian O’Neill. Hill is a career backup and that showed in Week 1 as he struggled to block anyone and PFF had him graded as the third worst player on the Vikings offense.
Chandler Jones should have no issue racking up at least a couple more sacks this week but Watt has a tougher challenge. Tackle Brian O’Neill has turned himself into the best Vikings offensive lineman by a wide margin and one of the best tackles in general. Despite that, Watt will get the best of him on Sunday as O’Neill is the final piece to fall on the Vikings offensive line. He isn’t getting any help with first round pick Christian Darrisaw out due to injury. Expecting him to continue his elite play while being the only good offensive lineman is unrealistic and unfair.
Overall the expectation for this game is the Cardinals will beat the Vikings. They’re favored over Minnesota by four points and that might be generous after seeing the difference between these two teams in Week 1. If both teams put out a similar effort this week then the Minnesota Vikings are in for an absolute disaster of a performance.