The Vikings have been gaining steam with the national sports fans and media types as they continue to climb the power rankings of NFL teams. Many of them may not believe in them. Some have even referred to the Vikings in terms of being a fraudulent 6-2, since none of the teams they’ve beaten now have a record above .500 – not taking into account that had a couple of those teams beaten the Vikings, they would be .500 or better.
But as the Vikings are tied for first in the NFC North, those same surprised analysts that are semi-buying into the Vikings’ 2015 season don’t exactly have unanimity of support.
Look what they’ve done. Good for you. Let’s see what you do from here.
That’s been the buzz phrase. Just as there are still plenty of Cincinnati and Carolina doubters despite nothing yet showing up in the “L” column.
A win Sunday for the Vikings would elevate them to 7-2. The last three times that happened, those other Vikings teams advanced to the NFC Championship Game.
We probably don’t need to go into too much detail about what happened at the end of the last three times a 7-2 happened. But, until those ugly days hit, it was a great run. Every time it has resulted in a coin flip at the NFC Championship Game with 60 minutes separating them from the Super Bowl.
If Mike Zimmer and his team are keeping a list – and quite possibly checking it twice – of accomplishments they had been told they couldn’t do, winning today will put a big old check mark at the top of the list of the last three Vikings teams that started out 7-2.
Is the fourth time the charm?
VIKINGS-RAIDERS BY THE NUMBERS
- Minnesota has the 30th-ranked offense in the league (6th rushing, 30th passing) and the 7th-ranked defense (18th rushing, 6th passing).
- Oakland has the eighth-ranked offense (18th rushing, 8th passing) and the 30th-ranked defense (8th rushing, 32nd passing).
- The Raiders are averaging 375 yards a game (270 passing, 105 rushing). The Vikings are averaging 322 yards a game (189 passing, 133 rushing).
- Minnesota is allowing 332 yards a game (221 passing, 111 rushing). Oakland is allowing 412 yards a game (315 passing, 97 rushing).
- The Vikings are tied for 16th in the league in takeaway/giveaway ratio at even (nine takeaways, nine giveaways). The Raiders are tied for 13th at plus-1 (14 takeaways, 13 giveaways).
- Oakland is tied for 11th in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 14 of 23 possessions (60.9 percent). Minnesota is 30th at 41.7 percent (10 touchdowns in 24 possessions).
- Defensively, the Vikings are fourth in red zone defense, allowing touchdowns on just 10 of 22 possessions (45.5 percent). The Raiders are 14th at 54.8 percent (17 touchdowns on 31 possessions).
- Oakland is 17th in third-down offense, converting on 46 of 105 third-down attempts (43.8 percent). Minnesota is 24th at 35.0 percent (36 of 103). The league average is 38.9 percent.
- Defensively, the Vikings are 10th on third down, allowing conversions on 29.7 percent (30 of 101). The Raiders are 29th at 42.2 percent (49 of 119).
- Derek Carr has four 300-yard passing games this season. Teddy Bridgewater has one 300-yard passing game.
- The Vikings haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer this season. Oakland has allowed four 300-yard passers.
- The Raiders have five 100-yard receiving games – three from Michael Crabtree and two from Amari Cooper. Minnesota has two – both from Stefon Diggs.
- Minnesota has allowed two 100-yard receivers. Oakland has allowed six.
- Adrian Peterson has three 100-yard rushing games. Latavius Murray has one 100-yard rushing game for Oakland.
- Minnesota has allowed two 100-yard rushers. The Raiders have only allowed one.
- Bridgewater is 26th in the league in pass attempts (232), 23rd in completions (149), 16th in completion percentage (64.2), 25th in pass yards (1,670), tied for 30th in touchdowns (6), tied for 14th in interceptions (6) and 22nd in passer rating (83.4).
- Carr is 14th in attempts (273), tied for 13th in completions (174), 18th in completion percentage (63.7), 12th in passing yards (2,094), tied for third in touchdowns (19), tied for fifth in interceptions (4) and sixth in passer rating (104.3).
- Bridgewater is 26th in fourth-quarter passer rating at 84.8. Carr is 38th at a dismal 63.2, which is by far the worst aspect of the game for a quarterback with an overall rating of 104.3.
- Bridgewater is 15th in third-down passer rating at 88.9. Carr is 14th at 89.9.
- Adrian Peterson and Latavius Murray are both leading their respective conferences in rushing. Peterson leads the league in rushing with 758 yards. Murray is sixth with 630 yards.
- Crabtree is 15th in the league in receptions with 47. Cooper is tied for 13th with 45. Diggs leads the Vikings with 27 receptions, which ties him for 68th place.
- Cooper is 15th in receiving yards at 653. Crabtree is 23rd with 591. Diggs leads the Vikings with 461 yards, which ranks him 38th in the league.
- Crabtree is tied for 22nd in scoring among non-kickers with 30 points (five touchdowns). Peterson leads the Vikings with 24 points (four touchdowns), which ties him for 37th in scoring.
- Blair Walsh is sixth in scoring among kickers with 70 points. Sebastian Janikowski of the Raiders is 13th with 63 points.
- Janikowski is tied for eighth in touchbacks with 28. Walsh is 10th with 27.
- Peterson is fifth in yards from scrimmage with 883 (758 rushing, 125 receiving). Murray is tied for 14th with 734 (630 rushing, 104 receiving).
- Oakland punter Marquette King is 25th in punting average 44.2 yards. Jeff Locke is 31st at 41.3 yards.
- King is 16th in net punting average at 40.1 yards. Locke is 27th at 38.2 yards.
- Marcus Sherels is sixth in the league in punt return average at 11.2 yards.
- Of the 17 players with enough kickoff returns to qualify for the league lead, Cordarrelle Patterson is 13th with an average of 24.8 yards.
- Charles Woodson is tied for the league lead in interceptions with five. No Viking has more than one.
- Everson Griffen is tied for 21st in sacks with 4.5 sacks. Eric Kendricks and Oakland’s Kahlil Mack are tied for 29th with four sacks each.