Each week, BringMeTheNews will analyze the Vikings’ upcoming game from both sides, and give you “5 key reasons the Vikings should be worried.” This week they host the Atlanta Falcons after a second straight loss last week.
For 5 key reasons the Vikings will win, click here.
5. Walking wounded
The Vikings have turned into a walking MASH unit. Earlier this week the Vikings announced that both quarterback Matt Cassel and right guard Brandon Fusco suffered season ending injuries.
In addition, the Vikings will also be without starting tight end Kyle Rudolph, who underwent surgery for a sports hernia. Plus Chad Greenway's streak of 90 playing in 90 straight games could be in jeopardy, as the linebacker deals with a broken rib and broken hand.
Greenway said he was going to try and figure out some way to get on the field, but missed practice on Thursday. Friday's practice might determine if he is able to go.
4. Roddy says he's 'ready to roll'
The Atlanta Falcons will get a big piece of their explosive offense back if receiver Roddy White is able to return from a hamstring injury on Sunday against the Vikings. He has been a limited participant in practice this week, but seems pretty confident he will be ready on Sunday.
White and Julio Jones will prove to be the most polished duo of receivers the Vikings have faced so far this season.
It's not like the Falcons aren't plenty explosive without him. They put up 56 points last week in his absence against Tampa Bay.
3. 'Matty Ice' has been red hot
First it was Tom Brady, then Drew Brees, now it's Matt Ryan. Another week another matchup against one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL for the Vikings.
Ryan completed 21 of 24 passes for 286 yards with three touchdowns last week in the Falcons 56-14 win over Tampa Bay. Ryan set new single game franchise records with an .875 completion percentage and posted a 155.9 quarterback rating. He was also named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Here are a couple of stats to watch for:
- The Falcons are 20-1 when Ryan throws three touchdown passes.
- Atlanta is 36-2 when Ryan posts a passer rating of 100-or-higher.
2. Starting a rookie quarterback
Rookie Teddy Bridgewater will make his first start at quarterback for the Vikings on Sunday at home against Atlanta.
History shows first-round quarterbacks thrust into action after week one haven't had a lot of success leading their teams to winning seasons in recent years.
According to USA Today, 28 quarterbacks who were drafted in the first round between 2004-2013, 11 made their debuts after Week 1 of their rookie season. Of those 11, only two – Ben Roethlisberger and Vince Young – led their teams to a winning season.
That is the daunting stat Bridgewater will have to overcome. By the way, one of those 11 quarterbacks was Christian Ponder in 2011, when the Vikings finished 3-13.
1. Vikings offense has gone silent
Since running back Adrian Peterson was placed on the commissioner's exemption list, the Vikings offense has scored one touchdown in eight quarters.
That came on the opening drive in the home opener against the New England Patriots, when Matt Asiata caught a pass from Cassel and raced down the sideline for the touchdown.
Since that opening drive the Vikings have been able to muster just four field goals over the last two games.
Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner says the team needs to focus on scoring touchdowns. He told reporters the team missed a couple of opportunities to throw touchdown passes against New Orleans.
"We have to be more consistent, number one. We have to get ourselves in the best runs possible in terms of when they're giving you different looks. That's hard when you're playing on the road in New Orleans with the situation that we were in."
According to 1500 ESPN, Vikings running backs have gained just 163 yards on 53 carries through three games so far this season.