The Star Tribune team is assembled at U.S. Bank Stadium for what I believe is the Vikings’ first must-win game of the season.
In retrospect, the Packers in Week 1 with young cornerbacks and no Danielle Hunter was a terrible matchup. The Vikings probably should have won against Tennessee or Seattle, but those are high-quality teams.
The most disappointing loss of the season to date was at Indianapolis, and the Colts have proven to be a good team with an excellent defense.
Today is different. Today, the Vikings face a bad Falcons team whose best player (Julio Jones) is banged-up, and who just fired their coach and GM.
This is a must-win, should-win game. If the Vikings win it, they’ll enter the bye week with a 2-4 record, or one game off what would have been a reasonable pace given the difficulty of their schedule. With one extra playoff spot to pursue this season, they would be in position to win their way into contention over the last 10 games of the season.
If they lose? Now you’re looking at a team being 1-5 with an embarrassing loss, but too much invested in this season and this roster to be able to effectively tank.
That would be the worst-case scenario for this franchise - paying your quarterback, star receiver, star back and star defenders big money while having to chance to contend.
The pick: Vikings 33, Falcons 22.
My record this year: 4-1. I picked the Vikings to win at Indy; otherwise I’ve been right, which is strange.
Today: We have Ben Goessling, Andrew Krammer, Naila-Jean Meyers at the Stadium along with a team of photographers, plus Mark Craig breaking the game down from home.
Check out startribune.com for pregame, in-game game and postgame coverage. I still recommend picking up the Monday paper to see our photos and coverage in total.
Also: Please check out the debut metro column from Myron Medcalf. Myron covered Gopher hoops for our paper before moving on to ESPN. Now he’s back writing a periodic newside column. He’s a great guy and it’s good to have him back in our pages.