A week after a tough opening overtime loss at Cincinnati, things don’t get much easier for Minnesota.
The Vikings are one of four teams to open the 2021 NFL season with back-to-back road games (two of those, Denver and San Francisco, won, while Dallas and Minnesota lost). Minnesota’s opponent this week, Arizona, also opened on the road and had a convincing win at Tennessee.
Week 2 opinions are largely formed off Week 1 performance – it is the overreaction NFL, of course – and that means there’s not a lot of faith that Minnesota will get in the win column.
We did find some people who think the Vikings will emerge with a victory (of course, one hedged his bet, as you’ll see below), so not all hope is lost. After all, while Minnesota returns home next week, its next two games are against Seattle and Cleveland, two teams thought to be playoff bound this season.
Maybe the Vikings can shock the world. Or at least the pickers of NFL games.
Here’s this week’s predictions from around the web:
Barry Wilner of the Associated Press: Cardinals 26, Vikings 22.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times: Cardinals 31, Vikings 24. “The Cardinals looked really strong against Tennessee, and that defensive front was dominant. The Vikings just lost to the Bengals. As long as they're healthy, the Cardinals are a good team.”
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal: Cardinals 27, Vikings 20. “Week 2 may be the most difficult week to pick games all season. With so little evidence available, how can I not close my eyes and see Chandler Jones terrorizing Vikings left tackle Rashod Hill? Arizona's defense was a revelation in Nashville, with a secondary led by Budda Baker and Byron Murphy playing like attack dogs. Minnesota's offense has been scuffling since training camp and this doesn't look like the spot to break out of it. The creative Vikings defense should be fine in the long run, but this is a matchup where sage Cards center Rodney Hudson helps fix pass-protection problems before the snap even happens.”
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com: Cardinals 31, Vikings 17. “The Vikings are playing consecutive road games, while Arizona will be playing its home opener. That's a bad combination. But what's even worse for the Vikings is their offensive line will be challenged in a big way by the Arizona front. Look for Kirk Cousins to struggle as the Cardinals get to 2-0 behind the defense and Kyler Murray.”
John Breech of CBSSports.com: Cardinals 27, Vikings 20.
Will Brinson of CBSSports.com: Cardinals 24, Vikings 21. “Polar opposite starts here: Kyle Murray vaulted himself into the Week 1 MVP conversation, we got a post-hype breakout from Christian Kirk and the Cards defense looked nasty. Meanwhile, the Vikings can't pass protect, got scorched by a rookie wideout who was struggling to adjust to the size of an NFL football and struggled to pass protect.”
Jonathan Jones of CBSSports.com: Cardinals. “The Cardinals whooped the Titans offensive line last week and I don't have much faith in how Minnesota is going to stand up against Chandler Jones and Co. this week on the road, where their communication struggled vs. Cincy. Mike Zimmer's defense also let me down, and there's no one on that ‘D’ who can do a good job at containing Kyler Murray.”
Jordan Dajani of CBSSports.com: Cardinals 28, Vikings 21.
Bill Bender of the Sporting News: Cardinals 27, Vikings 24. “Kyler Murray flourished in Week 1, and the Cardinals showed an improved defense with bookends Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt. Can they win a grind-it-out-game against Minnesota, which will slow that tempo around Dalvin Cook? We're going to trust Arizona.”
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News: Cardinals 30, Vikings 27. “The Vikings expected to be better defensively, especially up front. The Cardinals have gotten a lot better defensively with the combination of J.J. Watt and a healthy Chandler Jones. Minnesota has plenty of more firepower than Tennessee does, however, to complement its own run-heavy approach with Dalvin Cook. Former long-time Cardinal Patrick Peterson will do his best to handle DeAndre Hopkins, but Kyler Murray has more weapons than Kirk Cousins, including his legs. Arizona wins a wild one in the desert to improves to 2-0, while Minnesota is dealt another close road loss.”
The Miami Herald’s Greg Cote: Cardinals 34, Vikings 31. “Minnesota let one slip to Cincy in OT last week, while Arizona impressed against Tennessee in making a road upset not seem like one. Vikes have beaten Cacti in five of past six meetings. Like Zona in its home opener but hunch Purples keep this one close so we’ll saddle up that extra half point on the bet line.”
Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders: Cardinals 27, Vikings 22.
Gary Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Cardinals 34, Vikings 24.
Matt Infante of Pro Football Network: Cardinals 31, Vikings 24. “If last week was not a mirage, and Arizona’s defense can repeat its strong performance, it could be a long day for Mike Zimmer’s team. Regardless, expect the Cardinals to score often. It’ll be up to Cousins and the Vikings to keep pace.”
Jim Derry of nola.com: Cardinals.
Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group: Cardinals 25, Vikings 21.
Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith and Mike Florio: MDS – Cardinals 30, Vikings 27; Florio – Cardinals 27, Vikings 20.
Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area: Cardinals 28, Vikings 21. “Mike Zimmer is looking like a potential sleeper to be the first coach fired after the Vikings looked undisciplined and unprepared in a Week 1 loss to the Bengals. Now, Minnesota has to travel to Arizona to face Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. The Vikings’ O-line could have issues with Chandler Jones and the Cardinals’ front, and I don’t think their defense has any answers for Murray and DeAndre Hopkins.”
Ken Schott of The Daily Gazette: Cardinals 34, Vikings 14
Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski: Cardinals.
Joe DiTullio and Cecil J. Walker III of GameHaus: DiTullio – Cardinals; Walker – Cardinals.
Marvin A. Azrak of The Jewish Times: Cardinals 31, Vikings 24.
Sportsnaut’s Vincent Frank: Cardinals.
Ross Jackson and Cameron LaFontaine of Locked On Podcast: Jackson – Cardinals 31, Vikings 28; LaFontaine – Cardinals 31, Vikings 21.
Bleacher Report staff: Cardinals 26, Vikings 21.
Two of eight analysts at CBSSports.com take the Vikings to win – although one is Will Brinson, who above has the Cardinals winning (the other is Jason La Canfora FWIW).
Four of five analysts at SI.com are picking the Cardinals. Connor Orr is the on the island taking the Vikings.
All seven writers at USA Today predict a Cardinals victory.
Ten of 11 analysts at ESPN pick the Cardinals.
All four writers at Athlon Sports think the Cardinals will win.