With a Vikings Week 3 matchup versus the Los Angles Chargers, one of these 0-2 teams will get their first win of the season, barring a tie. Before the Vikings-Chargers game, we'll be making our Week 3 bold predictions.
The Vikings are heading in the wrong direction after a season ago when they made the playoffs before getting booted in the Wildcard round. Though Minnesota didn't want to jump out to an 0-2 start, the season is far from over and the Vikings had opportunities to win both of their first games versus the Eagles and Buccaneers. Particularly against the Eagles, the Vikings struggled with turnovers which put them in a hole. Still, the NFC North is undergoing changes since Aaron Rodgers left the Packers. The Bears, Lions, and Packers are not far and away better than the Vikings at this point, so there's plenty of time to catch up in the division.
The good news for Minnesota this weekend is the Chargers are also 0-2 thanks to their uncanny ability to make mistakes and fail to close out wins. Both passing offenses have been explosive and dynamic this season, but the Vikings have the advantage in that the Chargers pass defense has been worst in the league so far, allowing 333 yards per game through the air. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson have already connected for 309 passing yards and will look to expose the Chargers defense much like Tua and Tyreek Hill did in Week 1. The Vikings also have an advantage in that there's a good chance Chargers running back Austin Ekeler misses his second straight game. Ekeler is dealing with an ankle injury which kept him out of the Titans game, and there's a good chance he's out versus Minnesota after not practicing all week. If Ekeler is unable to go, more pressure will once again fall on Justin Herbert's arm.
If the Vikings can pull off this win, they will move up to 1-2 which will give them much better odds at returning to the playoffs. With that in mind, let's move on to our Vikings Week 3 predictions.
3. Kirk Cousins throws for 450 yards
The Vikings passing game is a complete mismatch for the Chargers. As mentioned above, the Chargers have the worst pass defense in the league, while the Vikings have the 2nd best passing offense. Through two games, Kirk Cousins has thrown for 708 yards while distributing passes to KJ Osborn, TJ Hockenson, Justin Jefferson, and Jordan Addison. Kirk Cousins' single-game career-high in passing yards is 460 yards, and he has the perfect opportunity to match, if not surpass that number, versus the Chargers.
2. Jordan Addison has his first 100-yard receiving game
The rookie WR out of USC has looked good through two games, putting up a 40+ yard touchdown reception in each. Expect Addison to reach new heights this weekend and prove himself as the complement to Jefferson when he has his first 100-yard receiving game for the year. Not only has the Chargers passing defense been a liability at best this year, but they're going to have to put a lot of effort into trying to stop Jefferson, which should free up Addison to hit the triple digits in receiving yards.
1. The Vikings defense hold Justin Herbert under 200 passing yards
It's early in the season, but the Vikings pass defense has been a pleasant surprise so far. Last year the Vikings secondary was similar to the current Chargers when they had the second-worst pass defense. The Vikings rank in the top-10 in passing defense, only allowing an average of 170 yards through two games despite playing two good offenses in the Bucs and Eagles. Justin Herbert is one of the top passers in the league and finished second in the NFL in passing yards in 2022, but the Vikings' current defense has the ability to slow him down, especially with less of a run-game threat.