Oakland Raiders Behind Enemy Lines: Q&A with The Viking Age

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 15: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers in the game at Lambeau Field on September 15, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 15: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers in the game at Lambeau Field on September 15, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Raiders head east for a Week 3 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, and we sat down with FanSided’s Vikings website, The Viking Age, to discuss.

The Oakland Raiders head east in Week 3 to take on the Minnesota Vikings, as both 1-1 teams look to avoid falling below .500 this early in the season. Both teams are coming off losses to divisional rivals in Week 2, with Minnesota losing on the road to Green Bay, and the Raiders losing at home to Kansas City.

A win in Week 3 will be crucial to the Raiders, who are trying to silence the doubters in 2019. Their Week 1 victory against the Denver Broncos was very impressive, as they dominated on both sides of the ball, but a historic second quarter by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes proved to be their undoing last Sunday.

As we look ahead to Sunday’s matchup, we reached out to a Vikings insider for some information about the team the Raiders will do battle with in Week 3. In order to win on Sunday, Oakland will have to better on both sides of the ball, as the Vikings have a ton of weapons as well.

On Saturday, we sat down with Adam Carlson from The Viking Age, FanSided’s Minnesota Vikings website, to discuss the Week 3 matchup.

JustBlogBaby: The Minnesota Vikings are off to a 1-1 start, what were your expectations coming into the season?

Adam Carlson (The Viking Age): The expectation is that Minnesota would return to the playoffs this year after missing the dance the previous year. With so much talent available on the roster and impact players on both side of the ball, this team shouldn’t underachieve and once again be home when the playoffs begin.

That said, the biggest expectation so far that has been looking good is an improved run game. However, the Vikings have been unable to pair that rushing attack with an efficient passing game. What was expected to be a dynamic offense has so far been one dimensional.

Defensively, fans in Minnesota just expect the status quo. The Vikings have a physical defense that is strong on third downs and limits yards after the catch. Other than a brief period of time at the start of Week 2, it has been more of the same…even with depth issues at cornerback.

JBB: Dalvin Cook looks like the running back from Florida State, appearing healthy and ready to be a dominant back, how has he helped the offense in 2019?

Carlson: Those who read my pieces over at The Viking Age know that Dalvin Cook as been my offensive MVP for two weeks in a row now and could earn the nod again in Week 3. Not only has he been an asset in time of possession, field position, and finding holes made by the offensive linemen, but he has accounted for a large percentage of the team’s yards to this point.

Cook’s ability to showcase speed, acceleration, and shiftiness has helped an offensive line that is still working to be a group. Last year, this team couldn’t create any holes for running backs to go through and yet this year they are able to do enough to spring Cook on occasion.

Most of all, the running game takes the pressure off Kirk Cousins to make magic happen. Being able to pick up yards on the ground, particularly on third downs, is extremely valuable and helps to keep defenses on their toes. Hopefully, that balance can be found.

JBB: Kirk Cousins has a tendency to make mistakes, will the Vikings try and attack a Raiders secondary that was torched by Patrick Mahomes last week?

Carlson: Kirk Cousins is a bit of an enigma. There are times he will impress you with an amazing throw that excites the crowd while other times he will make some really bad decisions or throws and make you wonder how he got the payday he did. Minnesota needs more of the “good Kirk” on the field.

The plan of attack for Minnesota likely won’t change. The Vikings should continue to attack defenses on the ground and supplement those yards with a quick, efficient passing game. That doesn’t mean Kirk won’t take shots if they are available. With weapons like Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs on the field, those big plays will be tempting.

However, fans should expect to see a version of Cousins that is a bit more dialed back from his usual gunslinging performance. After his dismal play in Week 2, he will look to get back on track, at least early. But if he can make some connections and build confidence, that could all change as the game goes on.

JBB: What can the Raiders expect from the US Bank Stadium crowd on Sunday?


U.S. Bank Stadium is LOUD. There have been numerous times a raucous crowd has been able to rattle opposing offenses that were unable to get plays off and draw a penalty. And with Gruden’s recent comments about the stadium noise and the horn, Raiders fans should expect the sea of purple and gold to be extra rowdy.

As for the stadium itself, it is a state of the art facility with nearly every feature you can imagine available. There are wifi hotspots all around the facility and plenty of interactive displays and historical pieces that any football fan should be able to enjoy.

But best of all, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. U.S. Bank Stadium was built to provide superior views from anywhere in the stands and the experience of watching a game there live is unlike any other. Even when watching from home on TV, there is something different and unique about the home of the Vikings.

JBB: Who is one Vikings player Raider Nation may not know of, but who should have an impact on the game this Sunday?

Carlson: Most star players for the Vikings have slowly become household names among fans of football. Offensively, Raiders fans have to have heard of Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Dalvin Cook. On defense, stars like Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr, Harrison Smith, and Xavier Rhodes have garnered national attention.

One player who hasn’t been getting a lot of attention is Anthony Harris. In his first year as a starter with the team, he is making great strides filling in at safety for the departing Andrew Sendejo and proving that the team made the right call in shipping out the veteran defensive back.

When put in situations where he needs to make a play, more often than not he will pull through. Since he can do his job on the field, it opens up Harrison Smith to play a bit more of a joker role in the secondary and do what he does best: disrupt the passing game with disguised formations and blitzes.

Next. Raiders Week 3 X-Factors against the Vikings. dark

We at JustBlogBaby.com would like to thank Adam for his time, as we know how busy he is.