Coaches always talk about teachable moments.
While the Minnesota Vikings won’t be playing this weekend, that doesn’t mean the coaches and players can’t get a little side work in.
Three games adorn the Week 6 schedule that will be of more than a passing interest to the Vikings’ coaching staff and players who specialize in advance film study – Philadelphia-Washington and Jacksonville-Chicago in the Sunday early games and Dallas-Green Bay in late afternoon games.
All six teams are on the Vikings’ schedule, including three of the next four. All three games will give the coaches and players an opportunity to get a live-time glimpse at the strengths and weaknesses of four of their remaining six non-division opponents, as well as two divisional teams they will face three times between now and Black Monday.
The Vikings don’t require as much study against division teams because there is an inherent familiarity already in place as to the strengths and weaknesses of their rosters. The value in games involving division rivals is the knowledge of what they like to do and how opposing offenses and defenses they don’t play nearly as often attack them.
Those who evaluate game tape watch every game with a particular emphasis on the most recent games because, as any Vikings fans can attest, lineups change during the course of a season due to injury.
Given what is on the Minnesota horizon, those three games may have as big an impact on the week-to-week progression of the 2016 Vikings as any.
Considering the Eagles will be the Vikings’ first opponent coming off their bye, getting live intel on them will be the primary weekend target. The game is against the defending division champ and is tie-breaker critical – just ask Packers coaches how critical their Week 2 loss to the Vikings could become. There will be repercussions. The Eagles-Redskins will provide detail to the blueprint game plan that has already been drawn. Those game plans will start getting tweaked at about 3:30 on Sunday.
Throw in location and you have must-see TV or, better yet, eyes on the ground. The game is going to be played at Fed Ex Field. Washington’s next home game will be against the Vikings. In between, they have stops in Detroit and London before a deserved bye week.Whether seen or unseen, there will be a significant Minnesota presence to watch the Eagles-Redskins game Sunday – both in-house and back home.
The Cowboys are coming to town the Thursday after Thanksgiving. The Vikings brain trust already knows where the Packers shine as well as where they fail. They will bank the information provided by Dallas in all three phases – both good and bad.
The Bears and Jaguars represent three of the Vikings’ final 10 opponents. There are things to be learned – both in terms of Chicago’s weaknesses (you may need both hands if you’re counting them old-school) and what sort of twists the Jaguars will introduce to an opponent they play once every four years by non-Super Bowl design. Both teams are in desperation season-saving mode, so their anticipated trickeration will come into play and be documented.
The Vikings won’t be on the Week 6 slate of games, but that doesn’t mean the coaches and players will technically have the weekend off. There’s plenty of advanced scouting to be done. Get your notebooks ready.