The Minnesota Vikings are one of last two undefeated teams in the NFC, and are one of the last five unbeaten teams in the NFL, after upsetting the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers 22-10 in Charlotte during Week 3. The Vikings will now prepare for a prime-time matchup against the New York Giants under the bright lights on Monday Night Football. Here are three things to watch for this game for the Vikings:
1. Sam Bradford must continue to take care of the ball as he has done his first two weeks as the starter. Last week, he threw for 171 yards and a pretty touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph. He has had success against the Giants, including last year’s sweep while with the Philadelphia Eagles. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata will shoulder the load once again in the running game without Adrian Peterson. McKinnon ran wild on the Giants defense last year for 89 yards and two touchdowns, with Asiata leading the way, so it would be no surprise if McKinnon were to do it again. The Vikings receiving corps has been a pleasant surprise, with Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph leading the way, and they should be in for a field day against a suspect Giants secondary. Be on the lookout for Adam Thielen to be a surprise this week. The offensive line suffered another hit last week with an injury to Alex Boone, but it looks as he will be ready to play. They held off a tenacious Panthers defense last week and should do well against the Giants front seven.
2. The Vikings defense has been nothing short of dominant, a hallmark of head coach Mike Zimmer. They have opened the regular season with three outstanding performances on defense, including the eight-sack, three-interception outing against the Panthers. In the last two weeks, the Vikings defense has held all-world quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton to a 1-4 TD-INT ratio and have sacked them 13 times. They also have the 2nd most takeaways this season. Look for the Vikings defense to continue that trend against the Giants and Eli Manning. Manning has struggled against them, as he is just 2-5 as a starter against the Vikings with a 5-14 TD-INT ratio.
3. The Vikings return to U.S. Bank Stadium. If anyone saw game one in the new stadium, it was a loud atmosphere. They will also play at home next week, giving them a chance to take advantage of back-to-back home games. It is imperative that the Vikings take care of business against the Giants, for what lies ahead is a brutal run of games, including three of four on the road.