Somewhere in the swamps of New Jersey -
After three days at Yankee Stadium, I’m at MetLife Stadium today, because I wanted to see the two worst stadiums that $1 billion can build.
Yankee Stadium isn’t bad. It just isn’t special, not for the price.
MetLife is a skeleton of a stadium. Nothing special. Just a big set of bleachers in a big parking lot.
Here’s what I’m watching for today:
-The Stefon Diggs problem is real, but the saga isn’t over. If Diggs continues to cause problems in the organization - and he is causing problems, the coach doesn’t punish him if he isn’t, and the coach punished him - he could blow up a fragile team.
But if the Vikings win, and Kirk Cousins finds Diggs often enough, there is a chance that this calms down. That’s Mike Zimmer’s obvious approach - he admits he punished Diggs, but Diggs is active for the game. That’s Zimmer’s way of trying to maintain his standards without exacerbating this problem. Which is smart. Shutting down Diggs would only worsen the problem at this point.
The Vikings should be able to run the ball and when they can run the ball they can dominate. The question is, what happens if they can’t, and they have to rely on the passing game?
This passing game should be functional. Cousins has been productive every year as an NFL starter. He has two excellent receivers, two quality tight ends and backs who can catch the ball.
In other words, the responsibility for making this passing game work is on Cousins. He’s talented enough. But is he tough enough?
Other than cornerback Mackensie Alexander, the Vikings are remarkably healthy. They’re playing what we believe is a mediocre team in a stadium that has not been terrible difficult to play in.
The Vikings should win this game by 10. And they need to win. There are a handful of should-be-certain victories on the schedule, and this is one of them.
Star Tribune sports has Ben Goessling, Andrew Krammer, Mark Craig, photog Carlos Gonzalez and myself at MetLife today. LaVelle Neal and Phil Miller are covering Twins workouts today at Target Field, and I’ll be joining them on Monday night for Game 3 of the ALDS. Check out all the coverage at Startribune.com
You can find my podcasts at TalkNorth.com