Way Early Look at Cincinnati Bengals Week 1 Opponent: Minnesota Vikings

Way Early Look at Cincinnati Bengals Week 1 Opponent: Minnesota Vikings

Tyler Vaysman
3 years ago
3 min read

Although we’re still a ways away from football season, there’s never a bad time to start looking ahead at the new schedule. That’s exactly what Bengals fans are doing, where after a season that had ups and downs, fans are excited to see how and when this team will take a step forward. 

We’re going to be looking at Cincinnati’s upcoming opponents in the fall. From who they are, how the Bengals did the last time they played each other, and what to expect when they meet again. 

Today, we’re going to Week 1 and taking a closer look at Cincinnati’s first opponent, the Minnesota Vikings. 

Vikings Summary 

2020 Record: 7-9 (3rd NFC North) 

End Result: Missed Playoffs 

After making it to the NFC Divisional round in 2019, the Vikings stumbled out to a 1-5 start this past season and finished at 7-9. However, they had strong performances from a few key players. Quarterback Kirk Cousins had one of the best years of his career, throwing for 4,265 yards with 35 touchdowns to only 13 interceptions. Running back, Dalvin Cook also ran for over 1,500 yards, while Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson form one of the best wide receiver duos in football. 

Not much changed this offseason for Minnesota. The team said goodbye to longtime tight end Kyle Rudolph, safety Anthony Harris, as well as new Bengal Riley Reiff, who will be making his Cincy debut against his former team. As far as additions, cornerback Patrick Peterson and defensive Dalvin Tomlinson are the two biggest names, as well as cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who started 10 games for Cincinnati last season after four years in Minnesota. 

Last Meeting 

A lot has changed since the Bengals and Vikings went head-to-head in the regular season. However, Cincy does not remember their last meeting very fondly. 

On December 17th, 2017, the Vikings took a 24-0 halftime lead thanks in part to a pick-six off of Andy Dalton and a touchdown catch from current Bills receiver Stefon Diggs. While now-departed running back Giovani Bernard prevented the game from being a shutout, Cincinnati still suffered a bad 34-7 loss in Minneapolis. 

Dalton was miserable, eventually getting replaced later on by A.J. McCarron. Bernard was the leading rusher with 30 yards, while A.J. Green and C.J. Uzomah had 30 and 24 receiving yards, respectively. Meanwhile, the win was one of Minnesota’s 13 on the season, as they made it all the way to the NFC Championship game just one month later. 

What to Expect 

This will be Joe Burrow’s first regular season game since suffering an injury last season, so protecting him will be a huge priority. Fortunately, Minnesota lacks a lethal pass rush, finishing last season in the bottom-five of the NFL with only 23 sacks. Aside from Danielle Hunter, who also is recovering from injury, the Bengals should be able to keep Burrow comfortable enough and find receivers who can exploit the Vikings’ questionable secondary. 

The other key for the game will be lining up against Thielen and Jefferson and holding them in check. It was a tough task for teams to be able to stop both of them, especially since both have enough talent to be number one receivers. The cornerback duo of Chidobe Aquzie and Trae Waynes, each of whom will be making their Bengals debut, will have their hands full. 

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