The Minnesota Vikings picked the right week to try and win their first game of the season. Not only will they be going up against the also 0-2 Cleveland Browns, they'll be facing a Browns team that just traded away its best player and is starting a third-string quarterback.
All that bodes well for the Vikings to begin their march to the playoffs, if one is even going to take place. Unlike the Browns, it isn't too late to count out the Vikings. Only three teams have started 0-2 and made the playoffs in the same year. All three teams pulled the stunt in 2008 and the Vikings happened to be one of them.
Meet the Vikings
It is the home opener for the Vikings, who although they lost Week 2, they had some positives to take away from the game. Minnesota gave up 24 first half points to the Bears but the defense clamped down in the second half. The defense forced two turnovers in the second half and took a six-point lead deep into the fourth quarter. But Jay Cutler rallied the Bears with a game winning drive and the Vikings were sent to 0-2.
If the Vikings want to pull out the win, they'll need the defense to carry the second half intensity over into Week 3. The Browns offensive line has been dreadful this season, allowing the most sacks and quarterback hits. The Browns will be an offensive mess, and the Vikings defense has a very good chance to feast on that.
Meet the Browns
The front office hasn't admitted it yet, but word around the street is that the Cleveland Browns have waved the white flag two games into the 2013 season. The Browns traded away their running back Trent Richardson, their best player, to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday for a first round pick in 2014.
Richardson had definitely started out slow this season, but two games is tough to judge a second year running back so quickly. Coupled with the fact that Brandon Weeden will miss the game with a sprained thumb, things are looking pretty bleak for Cleveland fans, if any remain, in Week 3. The Browns decided to start third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer over Jason Campbell. Hoyer, who started one game for the Cardinals last year, will have to get something going for an offense that hasn't scored a touchdown in six quarters.
Local Takes: Vikings
The folks at The Daily Norseman are tired of talking about Christian Ponder, but they probably won't have to for too much longer.
But we're two games down in a sixteen game season, and Ponder's window to prove that he deserves his long term shot is rapidly shutting. At this current point, the best I can say for us and Ponder is that he will likely snag us a low-level draft pick in a trade.
Local Takes: Browns
The whole community at Dawgs by Nature is busy digesting the Trent Richardson news.
Banner and Chudzinski can defend him until the cows come home, but the truth is that this sort of trade speaks for itself. It tells you everything you need to know about their opinion of both Richardson and the remainder of this season.
Follow the Fun
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
Christian Ponder is tougher than a two-dollar steak.— The Daily Norseman (@DailyNorseman) September 15, 2013
I can't get excited about the next draft class yet. It's week 3. Yuck.— Dawgs By Nature (@DawgsByNature) September 19, 2013
@chipscoggins - Vikings beat reporter
I'd love to hear how that trade went over in the Browns locker room.— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) September 18, 2013
@RuiterWrongFAN - Browns beat reporter
Cleveland, Ohio - where rebuilding for the future has been perfected since 1964— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) September 18, 2013
From the Week 3 picks:
One of these 0-2 teams is going to snap its skid this week. The oddsmakers believe Minnesota has the best chance at that. However, there's a clear formula for beating the Vikings: limit the damage from Adrian Peterson and make Christian Ponder do all the work. Cleveland has the defense to do just that. The Browns are allowing an average of fewer than 60 rushing yards per game and a scant 2.0 yards per carry. But then again, Cleveland's starting Brian Hoyer ...
The pick: Cleveland
The Vikings opened as three point favorites but that has increased all the way up to 6.5 points, according to Oddsshark.com.