The Vikings have put a tough Week 1 loss behind them and are focused on righting the ship in Week 2.
Minnesota will play its second straight road game, this time facing Arizona for a 3:05 p.m. (CT) kickoff Sunday.
Analytics site Pro Football Focus recently highlighted a "matchup to watch" and a "biggest storyline" for each of this week's 16 games. Looking at the Vikings-Cardinals contest, PFF's Ben Linsey noted the matchup between Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Peterson signed with Minnesota as a free agent this spring after 10 seasons in Arizona. Hopkins spent seven years in Houston before joining the Cardinals in 2020, where he and Peterson overlapped for a season. Linsey wrote:
The static nature of Arizona's wide receiver alignments give us a pretty good idea of the matchups we'll see on a week-to-week basis, and Hopkins is slated to face Peterson often in this contest. Hopkins had a big performance against Tennessee, notching six receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns. This is an exploitable matchup against his 2020 teammate.
As far as the game's biggest storyline? Linsey opined that it centers around the Cardinals pass rush, which "lessens concerns about Arizona's secondary."
The talk surrounding Arizona's defense entering Week 1 was how its secondary would hold up after the surprise retirement of Malcolm Butler. A pass rush as dominant as the Cardinals against Tennessee, pressuring Ryan Tannehill on 40 [percent] of his drop-backs and generating six sacks, is one way to quell coverage concerns.
Minnesota's wide receiver duo of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen is not an easy one to match up with, but the team's offensive line can be exploited. Arizona's pass rush, led by Chandler Jones, might once again be the secondary's best friend.
Cook included in CBS Sports' 'ultimate 53-man roster' for 2021
If you could assemble a team using current players from across the NFL, who would make your roster?
That's exactly what CBS Sports’ Joel Corry did this week, even implementing salary cap parameters. He explained his roster-building strategy, saying all players "with cap numbers over $15 million were eliminated from consideration." Corry selected only two players with cap hits that are more than $10 million. He wrote:
Selecting an elite quarterback was the top priority since the NFL is a passer-driven league. A cap-friendly potential franchise quarterback is the most valuable commodity in the NFL. … An emphasis was also placed on the offensive and defensive lines. The football adage of "it starts in the trenches" was a guiding principle in assembling the roster. There are three starting cornerbacks instead of a traditional base defense (either 3-4 or 4-3) since five or more defensive backs are now used more than 60 [percent] percent of the time in the NFL.
Long-range planning wasn't taken into account, so worrying about future salary cap obligations, the amount of cap room that could be carried over, expiring contracts and drafting players that might develop into starters down the road wasn't necessary. Different choices would have been made if these aspects had been considerations.
Corry tabbed Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes as his starting play-caller and Vikings RB Dalvin Cook.
An inexpensive lead ball carrier on a rookie contract, such as [Colts RB] Jonathan Taylor, probably would have chosen if more cap resources had been devoted to quarterback. Cook had a career year in 2020. He was second in the NFL in rushing yards (1,557), yards from scrimmage (1,918) and rushing touchdowns (16) despite missing two games.
Hopkins, former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, now with the Bills, and Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf were selected as the team's wideouts. Minnesota will host Metcalf and the Seahawks for their home opener Week 3.
The 2019 second-round pick emerged as one of the NFL's most dangerous receiving threats last season. Metcalf caught 83 passes for a franchise-record 1,303 yards with 10 touchdowns.
To see Corry's full roster build-out, click here.
View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Oct. 18, 2021.
Ham featured by faith-and-football outlet
Minnesota native and Vikings fullback C.J. Ham was recently featured by Sports Spectrum, a website and news outlet that focuses on stories "where sports and faith connect."
Ham reflected on a 2020 full of uncertainty, including the COVID-19 pandemic and societal unrest, as well as the loss of his mother Tina after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Ham said the following:
Not having her during my season was extremely hard; still to this day, I just want to call her and talk to her. But because of her strength in her battle, I was able to push forward. God, and the things that He puts in our lives — like family who have poured into me — continued to get me through this past year.
It's easy for anyone who has lost someone close to them to say that life is extremely short. It can be taken away from you at any time. We are called to lean on God's plan, though we don't always understand it. I may never understand why my mom had to go through what she went through on this earth, but I will get that understanding when I get to Heaven with her. This year taught me that life is extremely short, so what am I doing with it?
Ham said that the loss of his mother "put a fire" under him to be purposeful with his life.
He shared several aspects of his story, from playing at Augustana to joining the Vikings on a tryout basis in 2016. Throughout the ups and downs of his journey, Ham said he's leaned on his faith.
We have a great home church and a great team chaplain who is always pouring into our families and finding ways for us to get together. I think God has placed me where I am with the Vikings for these reasons. I think God has placed people in my life who have helped me become the man I am today.