The Minnesota Vikings aren’t a team the Cleveland Browns play very often. There have been a few memorable moments between these two teams in the past but not many. Both teams this year will battle it out in Week Four up in Minnesota.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski though is the big reason to pay close attention to this early season affair. Stefanski spent over a decade as an assistant coach with the Vikings. The Browns were able to bring him over to them when they signed him as the Browns head coach prior to the 2020 season.
Stefanski lead the Browns to their best season in forever in 2020. And now he will get to go home in a sense and try to beat his old team.
The Vikings are projected to finish the season in the middle of the pack and be a .500 team. The Vikings will lean on their decent defense and their offense should be respectable with running back Dalvin Cook leading the way. They also have QB Kirk Cousins and WR’s Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen coming back so they could score points in bunches.
Vikings QB Cousins could be on the hot seat after not having a great season and the Vikings only going 7-9 a year ago. The Vikings did work on upgrading their offensive line to help Cousins. They drafted tackle Christian Darrisaw from Virginia Tech and Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis. Both players should be starters for the Vikings this season.
Cook, the Viking running back will be entering his fifth season. The last two seasons have been special as he ran over 1100 yards in 2019 with 13 touchdowns and over 1500 yards last season with 16 touchdowns. Cook will certainly provide an early test for the Browns’ new upgraded defense.
I imagine that Browns running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will look forward to battling Cook during this early game in the season.
The Vikings and Browns have only played each other four times since 2005 and have only played each other 16 times since 1965. They actually played in the NFL Championship in 1969, where the Vikings won 27-7.
My memory of the Vikings was from the 1980 season when the Browns were considered the Kardiac Kids because of their multiple last-second, come-from-behind wins. However, on this day in 1980, the Browns lost in the last seconds 28-23 with Vikings star WR Ahmad Rashad grabbing the “Hail Mary” pass as time ran out! As an eleven-year-old that year, my Sunday was ruined as I recall!
This game coming up on October 3rd will hopefully not have any miracle finishes! It will center around Browns coach Stefanski and his return home.
How Stefanski will handle that publicity will be interesting, but like with everything else, Stefanski will act cool and collected and help the Browns get ready for their second road game on the season.
The Game Itself
I see this game being an offensive contest with both teams scoring at will early. I see the Browns defense getting a turnover or two as well which will lead the Browns to an early lead.
In the end, the Vikings will make a late-game comeback, but with a third turnover forced by the Browns defense, the Browns will take a knee to close out the win.
Final score prediction:
Browns early-season record of 2-2.