The Arizona Cardinals host a depleted New Orleans Saints team on Thursday Night Football in a game they should probably win — easily.
Those same Cardinals then travel to the Minnesota Vikings house the following weekend. Accordingly, you, the Vikings fan, should cheer for Arizona over New Orleans, and here’s why: If the Cardinals lose at home to Andy Dalton and friends, head coach Kliff Kingsbury will likely be canned on Friday morning.
Why is that bad for the Vikings? Well, Arizona’s front office will empower and employ some idealistic interim whippersnapper who will re-inspire the Cardinals players — just like the Atlanta Falcons did with Raheem Morris against Minnesota in 2020.
The theory is cynical as hell, but you’re a Vikings fan, and the last time we checked, you’re — checks notes again — cynical as hell.
Plus, this already happened in living color two years ago. On October 20th, 2020, the 1-4 Vikings, considered underperformers at the time, thought they’d abuse and batter the 0-5 Falcons, a team fresh off the termination of head coach Dan Quinn.
The Vikings did no such thing.
Instead, they were abused and battered — at U.S. Bank Stadium — by the winless Falcons with a brand new head coach. The Vikings lost 40-23, and the score was only “that close” because garbage time was kind to Minnesota.
So, generally speaking, you don’t want a redux of that 2020 movie. The movie was terrible. Of course, Minnesota eventually turned it around — sort of — thanks to Dalvin Cook’s career-best year. The Vikings somehow flipped the 1-5 start to a 6-6 record but collapsed in the three games leading up to Christmas versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, and New Orleans Saints. The 2020 Vikings missed the postseason by one loss. Change one loss to a win, and Minnesota would’ve been the team on Nickelodeon playoff television.
Somewhere, deep down, there’s a very good quarterback inside Kyler Murray when he isn’t playing video games late at night like a 7th grader. Plain and simple. The man is dynamic, a true dual-threat quarterback who can launch the ball out of the stadium with arm strength and outrun most cornerbacks. But his performance is putrid through six games of 2022, so he might just need a new head coach to shake him by the shoulders.
Given the Vikings historical luck, that new head coach could take the reins on Friday morning if Arizona loses on Thursday Night Football. And make no mistake, the franchise will choose Murray and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 over Kingsbury because Murray was granted a $230.5 million do-anything sack of cash in July. The Cardinals even removed Murray’s study-hall clause as a token of good faith.
To be fair, the Vikings may crush the Cardinals — or squeak out a victory like the 2022 modus operandi — versus any potential Arizona skipper. However, handing the keys to a new guy, with the mission to unlock Murray and his teammates, feels like something that would be effectuated against the oft-snakebitten Vikings.
Cheer for Arizona on your Amazon tablet this Thursday night. Kingsbury will be the team’s head coach in Week 8 at the Vikings if they win.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).