The Minnesota Vikings are facing the Philadelphia Eagles in primetime on Thursday Night Football. The Vikes are underdogs as expected, but with a potent offense and a slew of injuries plaguing the Eagles' defense, the outcome is far from guaranteed.
It's important for the Vikings to get in the win column sooner than later after a disappointing Week 1 loss to Baker Mayfield and the depleted Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Vikings finished last season atop the NFC North with a 13-4 record, but an early postseason exit brought the fanbase back down to earth.
The burden of proof is on Minnesota now. If the Vikings start the season 0-2, that's a difficult early hole to climb out of. The NFC North competition is stiffer this season: the Detroit Lions made a commanding Week 1 statement and the Green Bay Packers are a sneaky underdog with Jordan Love slicing up defenses like he's Aaron Rodgers' protégée.
If the Vikings want to announce themselves as contenders, this is the stage and the matchup to do so.
Unfortunately, history is not on Minnesota's side. The Vikings have not won a road game on Thursday night in 45 years, which sounds like a lot, but it actually equates to just a six-game skid.
Minnesota Vikings look to end lengthy Thursday night road skid vs. Philadelphia Eagles
So far, the Vikings are trending toward 46 years and seven straight losses. The Eagles lead 13-7 coming out of halftime after three Minnesota turnovers in the first half. If it's any consolation for the Minnesota fanbase, however, Philadelphia's offense has been completely ineffective — especially through the air — against Brian Flores' defense.
The second half started on similarly shaky ground, with the Vikings fumbling on their own five yard line — a fourth fumble — to set up an Eagles touchdown. In an instant, a neck-and-neck game turned into a Philadelphia blowout.
Kirk Cousins has been mostly effective with two touchdowns and 210 yards, keeping Minnesota in the mix. If the Vikings can hold onto the ball, a victory is not entirely out of reach.
This game has been Thursday night football in a nutshell — a total slopfest. If the Vikings can't divert the slop stream more in Philadelphia's direction, we can chalk it up to 46 years and seven straight road losses. If Minnesota musters the strength for a more disciplined finish, however, their fortunes may change.
The Eagles now lead 27-14, and the Vikings' opportunities are quickly dwindling.