The Minnesota Vikings may have experienced a bit of a flashback to Week 4 of the regular season when they lost to the Denver Broncos. On Thursday, the Vikings lost to the Arizona Cardinals, but the game shared a lot of similarities to the Broncos game.
Both of the games were on national television as the Cardinals game was a Thursday night game and the Broncos game was America’s Game of the Week. Both of the games pitted the Vikings against one of the top teams in the NFL, and both of them saw the Vikings fall just short with a score of 23-20.
In addition, both of the games ended with the Vikings having the ball at the end of the game with a chance to drive down the field to either tie or win the game. Each ended with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater getting sacked, fumbling the football and the opposing defense recovering it.
The Vikings had their bye week after their game against the Broncos, which allowed them to rest up, and after coming back they were able to go on a five-game winning streak. With the Cardinals game landing on a Thursday, the Vikings now have a few extra days off where they will once again be able to get healthy before their final stretch of games.
They have three games remaining in the regular season and the team knows how important they are going to be if they hope to make the playoffs.
“So we’ve got three games left, and these three games are important – very important,” Bridgewater said after Thursday’s game. “We just have to take it one game at a time. We can’t look too far down the road. Guys are going to get some time off, get some guys back healthy and we expect guys to be ready when we get back to work Tuesday.”
Even though the Vikings lost against the Broncos, their performance proved that they were able to play with the best teams in the nation. The Broncos held the No. 1 defense in the NFL at the time, but the Vikings were still able to put up 20 points and 325 total yards.
It was the kind of confidence booster that the Vikings needed moving forward and it clearly paid off.
The Cardinals came into Thursday’s game with the No. 1 offense in the NFL and the Vikings defense – which was missing four starters – was able to hold them under 400 total yards and to just 23 points. Even though the team says that they do not believe in moral victories, that is a performance that they can build off of as they move into the final stretch of their season.
“This one felt different for some reason,” head coach Mike Zimmer said of the Cardinals game when he was asked about similarities between the two. “It felt like we were controlling the game a lot of the time. We were fighting like crazy to try to keep them from moving the ball down the field. Defensively, the goal-line stand was huge, so I don’t know, we’ll see how that goes in the future. But I’m hopeful that this is the things we learn from.”
On the field, there were a lot of similarities between the Cardinals and Broncos games, but it was what happened after the game that made the loss to the Broncos so important.
They seemed to be able to rally together and pull off a timely winning streak. It is too early to tell if the same thing will happen after their loss to the Cardinals, but if history once again repeats itself it could be just the boost the Vikings need to finish off the season on a high note.