Home sweet home. The Vikings return to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday for a matchup with the Oakland Raiders.
After a loss against the Packers, the Raiders are just what the Vikings need to get back on track. Even though that's the exact same thing fans thought this time last year when Minnesota hosted Buffalo and lost as 17-point favorites, but obviously that won't happen this time. Right?
Here are three things to watch for, including staff predictions in the Vikings-Raiders game.
Cousins doesn't screw up
I can't remember a Minnesota athlete who needs more of a bounce back performance than Kirk Cousins does on Sunday.
After he single-handedly cost the Vikings a win at Lambeau last week, and somehow played worse than Christian Ponder ever did, Cousins doesn't need to go out and throw for 400 yards or anything. He just can't screw it up.
In Week 1, Cousins only attempted 10 passes. Obviously, that's unlikely to be the case again but regardless he was effective and no one noticed him in the season-opening win.
The Raiders defense hasn't been impressive through two weeks, as they're giving up 400 yards per game. So Cousins should be able to take care of business against a lowly Raiders team that's on the road for the first time in 2019.
Diggs is unleashed
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been quiet so far this season. Through two games, Diggs has been targeted just nine times for three receptions, 86 yards and a touchdown.
He did haul in a 45-yard touchdown last week in Green Bay but he also committed a bone-headed penalty where he took off his helmet in celebration.
Diggs has been one of the best receivers over the past few seasons and he caught a career high 102 receptions and nine touchdowns in 2018.
With Oakland's defense allowing anybody and everybody to run up and down the field through two weeks, Diggs has a great opportunity to put on a show.
Daniel Carlson makes the Vikings pay
Carlson was cut after two weeks by the Vikings last season after he missed four kicks (including a game winner attempt) against the Packers. After being dumped, he was picked up by the Raiders and made 16-of-17 field goals, and so far this season he's 2-for-2.
Maybe Carlson had to go, but clearly this guy has a strong leg and the Vikings didn't have the patience to stick with him. Dan Bailey took Carlson's place and he's been shaky, hitting just 22-of-30 field goals, including a miss last week against Green Bay.
If the Raiders are going to score at all on Sunday, it might be Carlson drilling it through the uprights.
BMTN Sports Writer, Declan Goff
I haven't even been close to accurate in my score predictions the last two weeks, but let's be honest, the Raiders are terrible. Derek Carr might be a bigger fraud than Kirk Cousins and with John Gruden and Mike Mayock running things, there's no way they outplay the Vikings. Even though this has all the makings of what happened in Week 3 last season when the Vikings lost to a lowly Buffalo Bills team, Minnesota should run Oakland out the door.
Final score: 28-13, Vikings
BMTN Editor, Adam Uren
Jon Gruden comes onto the field strutting like Vince McMahon, wearing a “Pray for AB” t-shirt. However, he then quits on the spot in embarrassment when Kirk Cousins completes a pass in the first quarter, heading up to the commentary box to resume his ESPN duties. Kirk Cousins makes a TD throw to Adam Thielen, at which point he pulls out an arsenal of banned pyrotechnics, rips off his shirt and screams DO YOU LIKE THIS, MINNESOTA? before setting them off. Unfortunately the TD happens in garbage time and it was only his second completed pass.
Final score: 24-10, Raiders
BMTN Sports Director, Joe Nelson
Oakland is as stinky as Fisherman's Wharf in nearby San Francisco. Derek Carr and Tyrell Williams ain't Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, so don't expect Xavier Rhodes to get picked on again. In fact, don't expect the Raiders to score much at all. Minnesota's defense has been outstanding in seven of eight quarters this season, and by the time this bloodbath is over they'll have looked awesome in 11 of 12 quarters. It's also a sweet revenge game for Kirk Cousins, who should fire off a 300-yard game andat least two touchdowns against a ratty Raiders defense that just got whacked to the tune of 440 yards and four touchdowns by Pat Mahomes.
Final Score, Vikings 31, Raiders 10 (3 on a 61-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson).
Note: We tried to get superfan Blair Anderson's prediction for the game, but we didn't ask him until 10 a.m. Friday. We didn't get a response, probably because it's difficult to type while double fisting Grain Belt Premiums. Stay safe if you read this, Blair.