The Minnesota Vikings In London

May 12, 2022
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The full NFL schedule is almost set to be released. Before that happens, the NFL did announce the International games for the 2022 season. One of those games happens to include the Minnesota Vikings in London. The Vikings are set to sail across the pond and dock in London week 4 on October 2nd. There they will take on the Jameis Winston-led New Orleans Saints in what could end up being a high-scoring affair.

Over the past 10 years, the Vikings have made the trip two times. The team faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013 and then faced the Cleveland Browns in 2017. In both of their London games, the Vikings have walked away victorious.

The Minnesota Vikings In London

The Big Ben Battle of 2013

The first time the Vikings traveled to London they faced Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. At the time, the purple and gold were led by Matt Cassel. Say what you want about Cassel, but he had a solid game against the Steelers this day. Cassel helped lead the Vikings to a 34-27 victory. It was a back and forth game for much of its entirety, but in the end, it was the Vikings who ended up on top. Cassel threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns on 25 attempts. Enough to surpass the black and yellow.

Adrian Peterson did “AD” things in London. He ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. The Steelers had no answer for him at all. Not only that but two of the Vikings’ wide receivers had massive games. Jerome Simpson went off with seven catches and 124 receiving yards. Greg Jennings put up big numbers on just three catches. With the three catches, he grabbed he accumulated 94 yards and two touchdowns.

It wasn’t just the offense that had stand-out players though on this day. Cornerback Josh Robinson led the team in tackles with 12, and long-time great Chad Greenway had a fantastic game. Against “Big Ben” and the Steelers offense Greenway had 10 tackles, one sack, and one interception. Everyone’s favorite Midwest Cowboy Jared Allen ended the game with four tackles and 2.5 sacks on Roethlisberger.

The Magic of 2017 In London

Ah, the magic of the 2017 season that everyone loved so much. The Cleveland Browns took on the Vikings in London, this time in London, and it was a quarterback match-up no one had marked on the calendar. Case Keenum led the Vikings against DeShone Kizer and the Browns. Keenum had a good game, leading the Vikings to a 33-16 romp. He passed for 288 yards on 43 attempts and had two touchdowns and one interception.

If you remember, the backfield was a mixed bag in 2017. The Vikings in London were split between Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray. McKinnon had a pretty impressive game, especially in the receiving aspect. McKinnon ran for 50 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while also adding in six catches for 72 yards. Murray had a quiet game, totaling just 39 yards on 19 carries.

It was a solid day for Adam Thielen in the receiving game. Thielen caught 5 balls for 98 yards and one touchdown. This was also the game that created the infamous GIF of Thielen sliding like a soccer player after scoring. Old reliable Kyle Rudolph also turned in a nice performance. Rudolph caught six balls for 27 yards and one touchdown.

The defense was solid that day. They stifled Kizer and the Browns, not allowing them to do much of anything. Eric Kendricks led the team with nine total tackles, followed by Harrison Smith with seven. Kizer didn’t stand much of a chance against the defensive line either. Linval Joseph, Tom Johnson, and Everson Griffen all turned in a sack apiece. A fantastic overall performance by the purple and gold against the dog pound.

Looking Towards Week 4

That leads us to the Vikings in London in 2022 where the Vikings take on the New Orleans Saints. It’s very early yet, and we haven’t even got to training camp or the pre-season. But from briefly glancing at this matchup on paper it could end up being a high-scoring bout. The Saints defense was good last year, especially against the run. That leads me to believe that at this very early analysis the Vikings should be on par to have a solid air attack in this game. What better person to be on the receiving end of that than Justin Jefferson? Jefferson has proved his value and worth during his first two seasons in the NFL.

The Saints rushing defense is no joke, and it may be hard for Dalvin Cook to get something going. However, with the new coaching regime in place, it is hard to say what kind of schemes and play calls they’ll have in store for Cook. If they can somehow find a way for him to gain yards consistently on the ground they’ll be in much better shape.

Looking at the New Orleans side of the ball for the offense you just never know what you’re going to get from Winston. You’re either going to get a ton of downfield bombs and long touchdowns or you’re going to get three to four interceptions. Sometimes it is even a mixture. With a new look to the secondary, and a young one at that it will be interesting to see how Vikings players adapt to Winston’s play style. There is a world where they completely get burnt, and there is a world where they pick off Winston three times in London.

I will say this. If the Vikings don’t find a way to slow down Alvin Kamara in the run game, it will make the young secondary work even harder. Assuming Michael Thomas comes back in true form, he and Chris Olave could be an absolute nightmare for defensive backs. The pair are in store for a good season, but if Olave finds his stride and Thomas is 100% healthy it will be a problem for defenses. It’s just a matter of “ifs.”

Either way, I’ll be looking forward to this matchup come week four. The Vikings in London? What better way to start your Sunday than an 8:30 am kickoff from your home-state team to ensure you have a literal full day of NFL action. Count me in.