A tough schedule, turnovers and ineffective quarterback play have the Minnesota Vikings in a precarious position that no NFL team wants to be in: 0-2 to start the season. Yes, it may be unfair that the Vikings are one of two NFL teams to start their season with two road games, against division opponents no less, but the rest of the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of every coach and player on this football team.
Despite this rough start to the season, the Vikings still have a chance of reaching their goals for the season. The next four games will determine the success of this entire year. Minnesota’s next four games are against four of the eight teams in the NFL with 0-2 records: this weekend at home against the Cleveland Browns, then the Pittsburgh Steelers in London, the Carolina Panthers at home following a bye week and finally against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. If the Vikings want to make everyone forget about their first two games, their time is now.
The Vikings should be favored in each of these games and two of them are at the Metrodome, where the team went 7-1 last season. Not to dismiss any of these aforementioned teams, but the Vikings schedule gets considerably tougher after the game against the Giants and without a few more wins under their belt, this team may be in the middle stages of a complete free-fall.
It all begins on Sunday against Cleveland, who just traded their best offensive player and passed over incumbent backup quarterback Jason Campbell to give journeyman Brian Hoyer the starting job. The Steelers may be looking at an 0-3 start with a tough Sunday night game against the 2-0 Chicago Bears. Carolina played a close game against the Seattle Seahawks in the team’s opening game, but Cam Newton’s mediocre play this season hasn’t excited anyone. New York continues to struggle with turnovers and lacks a pass rush, which two significant positive factors in their recent Super Bowl victories.
The Browns aren’t exactly a push-over with their quality front seven, but if the Vikings lose on Sunday, it may be time to question where the season is headed and if it’s officially time for “Downey for (Jadeveon) Clowney” or “Bad for (Teddy) Bridgewater.”
Chris Schaeder is a Minnesota Vikings writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @schaederbaitor.