The battle of the winless teams is set for Sunday at 1 ET in London. The (0-3) Minnesota Vikings take on the (0-3) Pittsburgh Steelers in an all-time series that sits even at 7-7.
The Vikings hope to snap their winless streak of three games against Pittsburgh since 2001. During a recent episode of PTI, Tony Kornheiser said, “Whoever loses this game should just stay in England.” Is that accurate? You decide.
The major storyline in this game is the 1st start for Matt Cassel since he joined the Vikings. Christian Ponder has to take the week off due to concerns of a rib injury too close to his heart to play. Cassel was 18-21 as a starter in Kansas City and showed his potential when backing up Tom Brady for the Patriots. His success in New England helped get him a big contract in KC.
With all of that being said, is this what us Vikings fans wanted? Did we give up on Ponder?
I never gave up on Ponder after his second half performance of last season. He has the ability to do some great things. I believe some of his INT’s were on tipped balls and should not be taken into account like some of the terrible mistakes he made when trying to do to much.
I expect Adrian Peterson to get a small increase in carries to help Cassel get comfortable at the helm. I don’t expect Cassel to take long before getting comfortable in the pocket. Through the preseason I liked what I saw from Cassel, he looked better than Ponder at times. It’s a great thing the Vikings front office went and snagged a legitimate backup quarterback this offseason. It didn’t take long for the return on the investment.
As we have seen in the past, the field at Wembley Stadium tears up very easily so it will be important for the Vikings to establish the run game early. Expect the Steelers to do the same with running back Le’Veon Bell. It will be important for the Vikings’ defense to minimize the big play. We have seen the defense step up in a few games this season just to blow it on the last defensive drive to give the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns wins. That fact worries me the most, not the offense or special teams. I don’t trust the Vikings defense anymore. We will see if the tea and crumpets give the Vikings a much needed boost this week.