For Week 3 of the regular season, the Buffalo Bills travel to Minnesota to take on the Minnesota Vikings. Buffalo is still looking for their first win on the season, while the Vikings are looking to bounce back from a Week 2 tie against the Green Bay Packers. We talked to Christopher Gates from Daily Norseman for the scouting report on the Vikings.
1) How is the team feeling after a disappointing tie to the Packers?
It’s always difficult, at least for me personally, to know just how to feel after a tie. This one was particularly tricky. On one hand, the Vikings needed to score 22 points in the fourth quarter just to put themselves into a position to salvage a tie. So, it should have been a loss. However, after they made that comeback, they had two opportunities to win the game in overtime, so it should have been a win. The end result is just a really weird feeling. I can’t speak for the players on the field, obviously, but it would be easy to imagine that they would think sort of the same way. Ties are weird, man.
2) Are fans happy with Kirk Cousins so far, or would they prefer to have Case Keenum back?
After watching Cousins’ performance against Green Bay on Sunday, I can’t imagine anyone would be willing to step up and say that picking Cousins over Keenum was the wrong decision. Keenum had a solid 2017 season for the Vikings, certainly, but Cousins was making throws on Sunday that Keenum, frankly, just doesn’t make. The long touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs and the pass to Adam Thielen that led to the tie are throws that I don’t think happen with Keenum at quarterback. The jury is still out as to whether or not Cousins is a “franchise” quarterback, but he certainly took some steps towards answering those questions on Sunday at Lambeau.
3) Who has been a player performing well that isn’t getting talked about much?
One of the more unheralded guys on the Minnesota offense is fullback C.J. Ham, the pride of Augustana University. He’s listed as a fullback, but he does quite a few different things for the Minnesota offense, particularly in terms of his blocking. He can also catch passes, and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo loves the versatility that he brings to the team. With all the big names on the Minnesota offense, it’s easy to overlook a guy like Ham, but every team needs a bunch of guys like him in order to be successful.
4) What is the strongest area on this team; conversely, what about its weakest area?
I would have to say that this team’s strongest area is the secondary. At safety, Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo form one of the best tandems in the NFL, and the Vikings have a ton of depth at cornerback, too. They already had Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes on the outside, and they added to their talent pool at the position by adding Mike Hughes in the first round of this year’s draft and swiping undrafted free agent Holton Hill, who has a ton of potential if his off-field problems are behind him. The weakest area of the roster is unquestionably the offensive line. The o-line has been a sore spot for this team for a couple of season, particularly in 2016 when it was a disaster. The rebuild is happening along the offensive line but, as a whole, it still isn’t up to the caliber of the rest of the roster. With center Pat Elflein set to return within the next couple of games, though, hopefully we will continue to see them get stronger
5) Do you think it’s Super Bowl or bust for the team this season?
I don’t know if this season is necessarily “Super Bowl or bust,” but with Cousins having signed a three-year contract with the Vikings that’s fully guaranteed, I think the next three years is definitely the window for this team. The Vikings have locked up a lot of key players on both sides of the ball, and they know that they have one of the NFL’s most talented rosters. They definitely have a window that’s wide open for now, and I think we’d have to consider it a pretty significant disappointment if they don’t get one in the first part of the Kirk Cousins “Era,” however long that might last for.