As of this writing, DraftKings Sportsbook gives the Minnesota Vikings a 4-point advantage when they host the Indianapolis Colts are Saturday afternoon.
The most exciting thing about the match-up is that it bits strength against strength and weakness against weakness. The Vikings have enough offensive playmakers to give any defense in the league a handful. The offense starts with Justin Jefferson at wide receiver, who is as match-up proof as anyone and widely considered the best player at his position. Tight end T.J. Hockenson is another weapon to create havoc in the middle of the field and pressure linebackers and safeties. At the same time, Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn are talented enough to do damage if the defense focuses too much on Jefferson and Hockenson.
The backfield will produce, even if Dalvin Cook gets nicked up occasionally. Behind Cook is Alexander Mattison, who puts up mid-tier or better starting numbers, even if he has to play numerous weeks. Suffice it to say; this Vikings offense will come at the Colts from all different angles and keep Gus Bradley busy.
If there is any good news for the Colts defense, Kirk Cousins isn’t known for world-class mobility. If Bradley can generate pressure with the front four consistently, he can potentially create negative plays and steal a possession or two. On the other hand, Cousins is a seasoned veteran, so it’s unlikely the defense will give him looks he hasn’t seen before.
The other good news for Indianapolis is that the Vikings defense has been gashed, primarily through the air. This is a welcome change for Matt Ryan, who has recently faced some reasonably formidable defenses. If he can get the passing game going, the Colts could score more than 20 points. This, at least, gives the defense a chance to keep the Colts in the game.
As it has been all season, turnovers and Red Zone scoring are keys to the game. The question is, which locker room members are still interested in winning games in a lost season? We’ll find out soon enough.