Know Thy Enemy: Minnesota Vikings


(image credit: Brace Hemmelgarn - USA Today Sports)

Written by: Joseph Yun

Twitter: 2Yoon2ZeroBlitz


The Titans take a trip to the land of 10,000 lakes and visit the impressive Gjallarhorn display inside the beautiful US Bank Stadium. Can Tennessee come out with a victory over a wounded Minnesota squad looking to pull off the upset?

This article and future weekly articles were written with the assistance of the Blitzalytics Prospect Encyclopedia, which you can buy a PDF or hard cover copy here. The Encyclopedia has many features such as prospects, top team stars, and other countless data points to impress the reader.


Note: all numbers courtesy of profootballreference.com


Key Numbers + Info (2020 season)


Record: 0-2 (0-1 NFC North)


Points scored: 45


PPG: 22.5


Points allowed: 78


PPGa: 39


Avg. yards per rush: 5.4


Avg. yards per rush allowed: 4.3


Avg. rush yards per game: 107


avg. rush yards per game allowed: 154.5


Rushing TDs: 3 for, 2 against


Avg. pass yards per game: 171.5


Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 283.5


Passing TDs: 2 for, 5 against


Pass Completion Rate: 59%


Pass Completion Rate Against: 74%


Top rusher: Dalvin Cook (26 carries for 113 yards and 3 TDs)


Top receiver:Adam Thielen (9 receptions for 141 yards and 2 TDs)


Top tackler: Eric Kendricks (23 tackles, 2 tackles for loss)


Key Additions: WR Justin Jefferson (rookie), WR Tajae Sharpe, OT Rashod Hill, EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, DL DJ Wonnum (rookie), DL James Lynch (rookie) CB Jeff Gladney (rookie), CB Cam Dantzler (rookie)


Key Losses: WR Stefon Diggs, CB Xavier Rhodes, CB Trae Waynes, CB Mackensie Alexander, WR Laquon Treadwell, S Andrew Sendejo, S Jayron Kearse, DE Stephen Weatherly, DE Danielle Hunter (IR), Michael Pierce (opt-out), LB Anthony Barr (injury)


Series History


Minnesota leads the all-time series 9-4-0


What Happened In The Last Game?


It was a defensive battle that swung on two key plays made by the Vikings. First was the Eric Kendricks pick-six of Marcus Mariota and then a Danielle Hunter fumble recovery for a touchdown.


Keys to a Titans Victory


- Keep Tannehill Hot - The Titans signal-caller was on fire last Sunday afternoon, leading the team to a victory when Derrick Henry just couldn’t get going. Up next, an extremely depleted Vikings secondary that’s missing impact starter Mike Hughes, rookie Cam Dantzler, and possibly Kris Boyd. However, promising receiver A.J. Brown has been declared out again with injury so it will be the Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith show once more. It would be wise for OC Arthur Smith to dial-up plays targeting the risk-taking Holton Hill and test the mettle of rookie Jeff Gladney repeatedly. One Vikings defender not to target is Harrison Smith obviously. Can the Titans offensive line keep newly acquired pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue at bay?


- Pound the Vikings run defense - The Vikings have been injury-ravaged with the losses of BOTH Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter to IR. Could this be the game that sees Derrick Henry finally break out of the doldrums? Minnesota has been giving up a ghastly 154.5 rush yards per game in two weeks. The Titans’ offensive line is fully healthy and backup runner Darrynton Evans looks poised to return after a week of full practices, giving Henry a break. Make all-everything linebacker Eric Kendricks think besides guys he’s hardly played with before. Free-agent signee DT Michael Pierce opted out and that may have had a large impact on the run defense.


Keys to a Vikings Victory


- Dalvin Cook - Let’s just say that the Titans’ run defense isn’t in the greatest of shapes after allowing UDFA rookie James Robinson to light them up last week. In comes one Dalvin Cook. If the Vikings can get Cook going, the Titans might be in for a long day at the office. The Titans will need Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown to be on their p’s and q’s with Cook’s ability to catch out of the backfield.


- Kirk Cousins - He hasn’t had the best of starts we’ve seen in a while, that’s for sure. So, of course in comes the tonic of the Titans’ defensive coordinator-less below-average pass defense, naturally. Tennessee is a bit of a MASH unit themselves defensively, with Malcolm Butler, rookie sensation Chris Jackson, and Johnathan Joseph nursing injuries along with linebacker Derick Roberson. However, high priced free agent signing Vic Beasley is reportedly on track to play so it will relieve the burden on Harold Landry and Jadaveon Clowney. Can Captain Kirk like what the Titans lack of secondary depth is giving him?


- Expose Shane Bowen - While Mike Vrabel is the defensive play-caller in title, outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen is reportedly being groomed as the defensive coordinator. The results haven’t been great, to say the least. Do the Vikings have enough firepower to expose the weakness?


What are the odds?


(all odds courtesy of vegasinsider.com)


The WestGate Superbook has the money line as Titans -150 favorites to the Vikings’ +130 dogs. They have Tennessee as a 3 point favorite and the over/under at 50 even.


William Hill has the money line as Titans -150 favorites to the Vikes +130 dogs. They have the Titans as 2.5 point favorites. O/U is 49.5.


Caesar’s has Tennessee as -145 favorites to the Vikings +125 dogs. They also have the Titans as 2.5 point favorites with the O/U at 50 even.


Prediction


MINNESOTA 31 Tennessee 24


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