Are you buying into the Vikings as a true contender in the NFC after their dominating win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday?
Fans and the rest of the league will get a decent answer when the Vikings host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The Browns are fresh off a convincing win over the Bears in which they sacked rookie quarterback Justin Fields nine (9!) times.
"This Cleveland team is for real. They have tons of talent on both sides," said Matthew Coller on this week's episode of Vikings Live with Matthew Coller. "If you beat them I won't walk out of there like I did the other day going, 'Gosh they beat Seattle but what is Pete Carroll doing with his life?' I think we'll be saying that is the win against a very strong team that you needed to prove you were as good as you thought you were going into the season."
For Sam Ekstrom, he wants to see the Vikings win a road game against a good team before he's ready to jump on the NFC contender bandwagon.
"When are you going to win a road game? Because you let two slip (Bengals and Cardinals). If you beat Cleveland, it becomes more apparent that you shouldn't have lost those games," said Ekstrom. "Who are you going to beat on the road? Two winnable ones in the rearview mirror, Carolina your next chance and then you listed off Baltimore, San Francisco, L.A. pretty soon after the bye. Those are not going to be any easier."
Ekstrom noted that the Vikings have nine road games compared to eight home games this year, so winning on the road will be paramount.
What makes the idea of being a true contender even more daunting is the level of defensive lines the Vikings will have to play well against — something that has been a thorn in their side, including in Week 1 against a solid, but not great, Bengals front four.
Look at the high level defenses Minnesota has to play yet:
- Pittsburgh has an incredible all-around defense
- Chargers just slowed down the Chiefs, and Joey Bosa is a monster on the edge
- Aaron Donald and the Rams, who are 3-0, visit Minnesota Dec. 26
- Have to play the Bears twice yet, including at Soldier Field where things never go well for the Vikings
- The Cowboys defense was flying against the Eagles on Monday night.
- Baltimore's defense is no slouch, especially when they're at home as they will be against the Vikings
Throw in two yet against the Packers, who are the favorites to win the NFC North, and a date with the 49ers in Santa Clara, and all of a sudden it's going to take incredible performance after incredible performance to keep pace in the NFC.
You can catch Vikings Live with Matthew Coller every Tuesday at 2 p.m. on Bring Me The News Facebook and YouTube. Subscribe here so you never miss a show.