The Minnesota Vikings got to rest up on their bye in Week 7, but the vacation is over. Now, the task at hand is defeating Kyler Murray and the 3-4 Arizona Cardinals this upcoming weekend.
On the surface, it seems like this should be simple. For multiple weeks, Arizona’s offense was reeling under Kliff Kingsbury, and their defense allows 25.1 points per game. Additionally, a bye week typically means a team gets extra time to prepare for an opponent, giving them an advantage.
No such advantage has existed for Minnesota in recent history, and the Vikings must quell some post-bye demons in order to get a win this week.
Since 2010, the Vikings are 3-9 in games following a bye week, including 1-3 in the Kirk Cousins era. The only win with Cousins at QB came in 2020 as the Vikings hosted the Green Bay Packers in Week 8 and won, 28-22.
This bad luck in games following the bye stretches even further for the Vikings, though. Their first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell has some demons of his own. In the three years he spent as an offensive coordinator before coming to Minnesota, O’Connell’s teams are 1-2 following the bye.
As for defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, you couldn’t have drawn up a more unfavorable matchup heading into Week 8. So far in 2022, Kyler Murray has rushed 46 times for 263 yards. If you need a reminder, Donatell defenses have yet to figure out how to stop mobile QBs.
Additionally, the Cardinals got DeAndre Hopkins back this past week, and he immediately earned 14 targets from Murray in Arizona’s 42-34 victory over the New Orleans Saints. He’ll be a massive problem for the Vikings secondary that also has to deal with Zach Ertz and Rondale Moore. Last year against the Vikings, Murray passed 400 yards in a victory.
Finally, don’t let the low defensive rankings fool you (27th in PPG and total yards allowed). Outside of Week 1’s loss against the Chiefs and their 42-34 victory over the Saints, Arizona’s defense has been stout. They’ve allowed 20 or fewer points in four of their other five games against high-flying offenses like the Eagles and Seahawks.
This is going to be a very difficult game for the Vikings to win, even at home coming off the bye week. We’ll see if they are up to the test when the game kicks off at 12 PM CST on October 30th.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.