Last week in this space we pointed out the Vikings opportunity heading into the Week 6 game at Detroit to A) notch their first division victory and B) insert themselves into the discussion of the NFL's top teams. A convincing 42-30 win was the first part of the equation. It gave the Vikings a win in the NFC North and it was their fifth NFC win. Step 2 is tonight against the Redskins, another NFC team.
A win tonight would give the Vikings a perfect 4-0 mark in the second quarter of the season, it would improve the team's overall record to 6-2 and it would give the Vikings their fifth NFC win of 2019. This is all significant because the halfway point of the season is here and it's not too early to survey the landscape in the NFC. If the Vikings win tonight, no NFC team can exit Week 8 with more conference wins than the Vikings (five) and only the New Orleans Saints can match the Vikings (they host the Arizona Cardinals).
Success tonight would give the Vikings confidence in addition to good standing within the conference as they enjoy a few days off over the weekend before returning to work next week to prepare for a road trip to Kansas City and an on-field date with the Chiefs.
The Vikings have several significant names on their injury report this week, but it appears most of them will be able to play on Thursday night. The exception is receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring), who left last week's win in the 1st quarter and did not practice this week. He was ruled out on Wednesday afternoon and will set his sights on the game in Kansas City on November 3.
The Redskins are dealing with much more uncertainty with regard to injuries. Two members of their secondary are questionable to play after missing the week of practice – safety Montae Nicholson (ankle) and cornerback Josh Norman (thigh/hand). Three regular contributors on offense are also on the injury report – tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) and running backs Adrian Peterson (ankle) and Chris Thompson (toe). Davis and Thompson have been ruled out for the game while Peterson is listed as questionable.
Steve Jordan to be inducted into Vikings Ring of Honor at halftime
Tonight's game is a big spot. It's Thursday Night Football. It's Primetime Purple night. And the Vikings will welcome the 25th member to their Ring of Honor.
The newest member is former tight end Steve Jordan and he will be inducted at halftime.
Jordan played 13 seasons for the Vikings from 1982-94, finishing his career with 498 catches for 6,307 yards and 28 touchdowns. He went to six Pro Bowls, won three NFC Central titles and made six playoff appearances during his final nine seasons with the club. He ranks third in team history in receptions, trailing only Cris Carter (1,004) and Randy Moss (587).
View images of the Vikings equipment staff getting the team's Primetime Purple uniforms ready for this Thursday's game against the Redskins.
I think it's fantastic that our offense showed that we're not a team that has to completely rely on our defense to win a game. That said, are you at all concerned about our CB play this year? At least one pass interference call a game and positional breakdowns are happening more frequently. How will Zim correct this with some high powered offenses coming in the 2nd half of the season? Skol!
-- Ray Bustos
The Dalles OR
Could the cornerbacks be playing a little better? Sure. But are they playing well? Yes. The Vikings rank 6th in the NFL in passing yards per attempt allowed at 6.1 yards. This tells me that while opposing quarterbacks are accumulating yards, it's taking them a lot of attempts to do so. Passing efficiently against the Vikings is not easy. And it's dangerous to be inefficient against the Vikings because their pass rush will get after you eventually. The Vikings rank sixth in points allowed at 17.6, they are allowing only 3.8 yards per carry, they've allowed just one rushing touchdown and opposing offenses are averaging a meager 5.0 yards per snap, which is seventh-fewest in the NFL. So while I'm sure coach Zimmer has things he wants corrected and improved, overall I'd say the Vikings defense has played great to this point and I expect that will continue tonight against the Redskins.
"The secret is to have good players." – Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski
The Vikings are averaging 36.0 points per game over the last three contests. Cousins became the first player in NFL history to pass for 300+ yards and generate a passing rating of 135+ in three consecutive games. And Dalvin Cook is the NFL's leading rusher. It's all coming up roses for Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski in his first full season at the post. But don't think for a second that the success is going to Stefanski's head. Asked by Voice of the Vikings Paul Allen on this week's episode of Xs and Os with Mike Zimmer what the key has been to constructing and executing such a productive offense through seven games, Stefanski deflected the credit to his players via the quote included above.
Stat of the Week – L18
The longest rush allowed by the Vikings defense so far in 2019 is 18 yards. This is the shortest "long rush" allowed by a NFL team this season. The Vikings have also allowed only one rushing touchdown this season, tied with San Francisco for the fewest in the NFL.
Get Your Primetime Purple Jersey
The Vikings will wear their Primetime Purple jersey, Thursday, Oct. 24 against the Redskins. Visit the Vikings Locker Room Team Store to buy your Primetime Purple jersey today!
National Television: FOX
Play-by-play: Joe Buck
Analyst: Troy Aikman
Sideline: Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink
National Radio: Westwood One Sports
Play-by-play: Mike Tirico
Analyst: Tony Boselli
Streaming: Amazon Prime
Play-by-play: Hannah Storm
Analyst: Andrew Kremer
Local Radio: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130
Play-by-play: Paul Allen
Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber
Pre-game show: Mike Mussman – 10:00 a.m. CT