5 things to watch for in the Vikings Week 3 game vs. the Raiders

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Anthony Barr
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Anthony Barr /

Can the Vikings get off to a fast start?

The first two games of the Vikings’ season could not have gone much differently. In Week 1, the Vikings were able to use a strong start from their defense and special teams to put their boot on the throat of the Atlanta Falcons and cruised to a 28-0 lead which led them to a 28-12 victory.

In Week 2, the Green Bay Packers took control of the game early, taking advantage of the Vikings defense and a couple of special teams gaffes to build a 21-0 lead which resulted in a 21-16 loss for the Vikings.

If there’s a pattern here, it’s that the Vikings must get off to a hot start even against an inferior opponent like the Raiders.

As much as we want to ragdoll Jon Gruden’s team sans Antonio Brown, there are still some talented players on the roster including first-round pick Josh Jacobs and standout defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins, but they’re still an inferior roster on paper to what the Vikings possess.

Should the Vikings storm out of the gates like they did in Week 1, putting the Raiders in an early hole would let them turn up the pressure defensively and ride Dalvin Cook to victory. If the Raiders storm out to an early lead, that would flip the script and force the Vikings to use a passing game that hasn’t had the best production in the first two weeks.