The Minnesota Vikings were considered a dark horse contender for the Super Bowl this season. That wasn’t a sentiment echoed loudly, however, and they were still consistently seen as the second-best team in the NFC North. With a win on the road in primetime this weekend, how do their fortunes change?
Following a dominant win against the Green Bay Packers in week 1, Minnesota saw their Super Bowl odds increase dramatically. That said, they still went into the first week of the season as 1.5-point underdogs at home (before the line swung before kickoff), and they enter Week 2 as 2.5-point underdogs in Philadelphia.
It’s fair to note that winning on the road in the National Football League is difficult. Maybe more than any other sport, homefield advantage makes a dramatic difference. What’s worth wondering, though, is if this doesn’t present an opportunity for head coach Kevin O’Connell to grab his first statement win.
Many around the league think Jalen Hurts is primed for a breakout season. He has a new top weapon in the form of A.J. Brown, and Myles Sanders has evolved into a solid back. Although the Vikings have beaten the Eagles since the NFC Championship game following the Minneapolis Miracle, that drubbing is something fans would still enjoy seeing continually erased from their minds.
Sure, a win on Monday night is hardly the statement that walking into Arrowhead or beating the Bills in Buffalo would be, but starting 2-0 with these being the victories should turn some heads. Although the Vikings have a long ways to go with 15 weeks left after the primetime game, you’d have to guess most projection systems would have this contest chalked up as a loss.
As has often been the case over the course of a full season, the Vikings will likely be due for a stinker at some point, but stealing big contests earlier helps to lessen the blow. If the Vikings can assert themselves in contests like these, they’ll have to enter games against the Patriots, Cowboys, and Dolphins viewed as a much different foe.
All offseason long, it looked like this was a roster ripe for a leader to position them for success. O’Connell has appeared to be that from the jump, and such an exciting performance by the guys on the field in Week 1 shouldn’t slow down the hype train any time soon.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.