Skip to main content

4 Vikings storylines to watch against the Colts

Things can't get worse than they were last week...right?
Dru Samia

The Minnesota Vikings are in need of a rebound victory after getting demolished at home by the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. To do that, they'll have to head to Indianapolis to face a Colts team that felt a similar loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

As the Vikings prepare to hit the field, things can't get much worse than they were last week. But the Vikings still have questions heading into Sunday's game that need answers as soon as possible.

Can Dru Samia be better than Pat Elflein?

The Vikings were dealt some more bad injury news when Elflein was placed on IR Thursday afternoon. The starting right guard injured (or tweaked?) his thumb in practice and will miss at least the next three games, throwing Dru Samia into the starting lineup.

The good news is that to be a replacement for Elflein, the bar is shockingly low. Elflein led the Vikings with five allowed pressures against the Packers and was trying to learn his third position in the past three seasons.

The Vikings traded up for Samia in the 2019 NFL Draft and expectations were high coming off his "redshirt" rookie season. Although the coaching staff didn't think he was ready for the starting role out of camp, it's sink or swim for another developmental offensive guard.

Xavier Rhodes revenge game?

Typically, a revenge game is when a player returns to have a big game against his former team. For the Vikings, they have a chance to get revenge on Rhodes for his performance over the past two seasons.

Rhodes was abysmal for the Vikings last season in particular, allowing 84 percent of his targets to be completed. Aside from potentially signing with Indianapolis because they had the same colors as the blue medical tent, Rhodes stayed true to form, allowing the game-winning touchdown against Jacksonville last week.

The Vikings said all the right things about Rhodes this week. As a key part of Minnesota's success in the later part of the 2010s, why wouldn't they? But the Vikings know all about Rhodes' struggles, which could lead for a big day from Adam Thielen.

Can the Vikings stop the run?

While Aaron Rodgers literally lighting all three Vikings cornerbacks on fire was the headline, the performance of the Packers' ground game last week set the tone for a long afternoon.

While Aaron Jones' 4.1 yards per carry wasn't outstanding, the Packers had success at the beginning of the game by managing four to five yards on the ground to keep the Vikings defense on the field. By the time they could get a stop, they were gassed and Rodgers was the one with the match.

This week, the Colts are planning to unveil Jonathan Taylor. Placed in an identical situation to the one where he destroyed the Gophers at Wisconsin, Taylor can take any handoff to the house if the Vikings aren't careful.

The Colts aren't going to let Philip Rivers throw 46 times again on Sunday, so the Vikings will have to shore up in the trenches to come away with the victory.

The defense can't get worse...can it?

The run defense isn't going to be the only one in question. The total team effort of the Vikings defense against the Packers was a problem with the pass rush and secondary bringing major concerns.

Holton Hill, Mike Hughes, and Cameron Dantzler all allowed at least 70 yards and a touchdown against the Packers. For Dantzler, a learning curve was to be expected but the performance of the veterans was disappointing. 

With Dantzler now out of Sunday's game, first-round pick Jeff Gladney should see some run, but how ready is he to contribute after playing nine snaps against the Packers?

The secondary could also benefit from a pass rush that produced just seven pressures last week. Although co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson continues to preach about "pet cats" and Shamar Stephen, his scheme left Rodgers looking like he was in the back yard playing catch with his dog.

The Vikings have to find a way to shore up both of these areas otherwise, they could find themselves in an 0-2 hole few teams are able to recover from.

Next Up

Peyton Manning John Randle Twitter

What was Peyton Manning doing in Minnesota?

It's apparently for an upcoming episode of his TV show, "Peyton's Place."

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 25

The test positivity rate has dropped for the first time since before Christmas.

liz collin wcco youtube screengrab

Liz Collin reveals she is leaving WCCO

"Thank you for trusting me to tell your stories," she wrote in Tuesday's announcement.

jimmy john's rochester antimask rant guy

Video: Man harasses Jimmy John's workers, wishes death on them over mask mandate

"When are you going to start using that brain inside of your head," the man asks.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines

Michigan writer: 'Don't count out the Vikings' on Jim Harbaugh

Are the Vikings a dark horse to hire Michigan's head coach?

st louis park shooting 1

St. Louis Park PD release photos of vehicle involved in shooting on I-394

A man was shot multiple times as he drove down I-394 last week.

FJ68m4BWYAMdiw-

Perfect 10: Gophers gymnasts make history with two perfect scores

Mya Hooten and Ona Loper were literally perfect on Monday night.

Dean Evason

Tempers flare as Wild hammer Canadiens

Montreal was anything but polite after the Wild picked up an 8-2 victory.

Blaine VFW video screengrab crop N West Twitter

Authorities now looking into MN lawmaker's report of assault

Video shows Rep. Nolan West being grabbed and pushed out of a public event.

Related

Russell Wilson

5 questions for the Vikings vs. the Seahawks

Can the Vikings pull off the upset in primetime?

Stephen Weatherly

5 questions for the Vikings against the Colts

It can't go as poorly as last week...can it?

Bisi Johnson

Vikings have several surprises on first unofficial depth chart

Bisi Johnson and Jeff Gladney will have big roles to open the season.

Holton Hill

Holton Hill can be missing piece for Vikings defense

As the Vikings head toward the second half of the season, Holton Hill could be an unlikely contributor that can make Mike Zimmer's defense even better.

Xavier Rhodes

Offseason preview: What changes will Vikes make at cornerback?

A staple of the Vikings' defense may see major changes this spring.

Justin Jefferson

Vikings announce signing of 2020 draft class

All 15 members of the Vikings' draft class are now under contract.

Xavier Rhodes

Could the Vikings' corners be the defense's weakest link?

Rhodes' and Waynes' performance in 2019 begs the question of whether a change should be made.

Vikes

Coller: What's left to watch for Vikings fans?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.