MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Vikings have nearly climbed out of an 0-3 hole to start the 2023 season, and can get back to .500 on Sunday with a win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
The team has a new level of confidence after going on the national stage and beating the San Francisco 49ers, one of the top teams in the NFL, on Monday Night Football. The Vikings are seeking their third straight win, fourth win in five games and a 4-4 mark. Just a few weeks ago, the chatter was if the season might already be over and if certain players were on the trade block.
The team never lost belief, even if most outside of TCO Performance Center did. Now, they have an opportunity to start 2-0 in the NFC North Division with a road win over a rival.
"Those are very, very critical in determining the story of the NFC North this year," Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said Wednesday.
For the first time in more than three decades, the Vikings will be playing a Packers’ squad not led by Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers. Favre is retired, and Rodgers was traded to the New York Jets this offseason. It’s now the Jordan Love show in Green Bay, and life is different after a 2-4 start.
"It’s been like what, 30 years? Who knows what Jordan will become, he’s certainly got talent. He’s a first-round pick for a reason. You’re used to No. 4 and No. 12, now it’s No. 10," Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said.
In six starts this year, Love is completing 57.5 percent of his passes for 1,263 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’s averaging 210.5 yards per game through the air. It’s O’Connell’s first time game-planning as a head coach for someone other than Rodgers.
"It is a little different to turn on the tape and not see him out there. I will say that Jordan has made some big-time throws, made some plays, pushed the ball down the field a lot. We’ve got to be ready for it," O’Connell said. "He’s got the athletic ability to get out of the pocket and change the game with his legs and clearly has demonstrated his high capacity to throw the football. We know he’s a young player, but I’ve always had a ton of respect for him."
KIRK COUSINS TALKS WITH PEYTON MANNING AHEAD OF MANNINGCAST
Kirk Cousins’ phone rang last week before the Vikings hosted the 49ers. It was Peyton Manning. When you’re on Monday Night Football, that means you’re also part of the "ManningCast" involving Peyton and Eli Manning.
Cousins was more than happy to chat with the Hall of Famer.
"Peyton Manning reached out last week and said ‘Hey, I’m going to be the shortest production call of your life but can we talk?’ I said ‘If you’re calling me to take my time, it’s not going to be the shortest production call of my life because I’m going to then talk to you and ask questions.’ He was kind enough to sit on the phone with me for a little while and answer some of my questions. It was a good conversation," Cousins said.
The Vikings held a light walk-through Wednesday on a short week, so their injury report is an estimation. Brian Asamoah (ankle) and T.J. Hockenson (foot) did not participate. Ezra Cleveland (foot) and Jalen Nailor (hamstring) were limited.