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Tennessee Titans vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Predictions 09-27-2020

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The Minnesota Vikings are 0-2 to begin the season for the first time since 2013.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins believes he has a pulse on the way to spark a turnaround when the Vikings welcome the 2-0 Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

"The urgency is there every week, but what we certainly need to improve on in addition to just having urgency is to have production," Cousins said. "That's where my focus is. The urgency is there, but we need the production to go with it."

Cousins admitted he needs to improve. Minnesota lost its season opener 43-34 to Green Bay, falling behind with Cousins playing a bit part in the first half, and dropped its Week 2 game at Indianapolis 28-11.

A Pro Bowler in 2019 after throwing for 3,603 yards with 26 touchdowns, six interceptions and a career-best 107.4 passer rating, Cousins has struggled to begin 2020. His passer rating was 0.0 late in the third quarter at Indianapolis, but Cousins ultimately raised it -- to a sparse 15.9 -- after finishing 11-of-26 for 113 yards and three interceptions.

To keep heat off of Cousins, the Vikings are looking to establish the ground game and take a page out of the Titans' book with multiple tight ends plowing on an eight-man line on occasion. Dalvin Cook brings big-play flair but cutback lanes have been clogged as defenses dare the Vikings to push the ball downfield.

Cousins has been sacked in the end zone for a safety in consecutive games. According to Pro Football Reference, Minnesota has allowed safeties in back-to-back games only one other time in franchise history, in December 2007.

Now comes a quick Tennessee front seven that includes defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, a late addition to the team who is looking to make his mark with the Titans.

"Clowney, they move [him] around quite a bit," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "Sometimes he's on the right, sometimes he's on the left, sometimes he lines up over the center. So, they move him around. Identification will be big for us."

Tennessee is 2-0 for the first time since 2008 and rolling behind efficient quarterback play from Ryan Tannehill as well as clutch heroics from placekicker Stephen Gostkowski, who has hit game-winning field goals against Denver and Jacksonville. Gostkowski has all but erased memories of his four missed field goals at Denver.

"We're 2-0 and you would think in this locker room that we're 0-2 with the way we're focused, which I think is different than I've seen in past years," Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan said. "Guys are definitely like, 'We know how much better we can be.'"

Tannehill completed 18-of-24 passes for 239 yards in a 33-30 home win against Jacksonville. He had four touchdowns and zero interceptions. It marked the third time Tannehill had four touchdown passes in a game in his career and first since Oct. 25, 2015, when he led the Miami Dolphins past the Houston Texans.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said the run game has experienced too many plays halted at or behind the line of scrimmage, but running back Derrick Henry remains second in the league with 200 rush yards.

Tennessee cornerback Johnathan Joseph suffered a calf injury in the second half Sunday and did not return, but was a full participant in Wednesday's practice. Cornerbacks Malcolm Butler (quad) and Chris Jackson (hamstring) didn't practice, and neither did receiver A.J. Brown (knee).

Four-time Minnesota Pro Bowl linebacker Anthony Barr was placed on injured reserve Monday with a torn pectoral muscle and will miss the rest of the season. Barr sustained the injury in the first half at Indianapolis and didn't return.

"AB is a beast," Vikings linebacker Eric Wilson said. "He's very good at a lot of things. ... He calls the plays for our defense, so we've got to make adjustments there."

Cornerbacks Cameron Dantzler (rib) and Mike Hughes (neck) missed Wednesday's practice for Minnesota, as did running back Mike Boone (concussion) and linebacker Troy Dye (ankle). Offensive tackle Riley Reiff was limited with an ankle injury.

--Field Level Media

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U.S. Bank Stadium
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Capacity: 65,400

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Last Injuries

Minnesota Vikings

  • George Iloka

    Knee
    I-R | I-R

    Iloka will spend the remainder of the season on the injured reserve list due to a torn ACL in his knee.

  • K.J. Osborn

    Hamstring
    Ques Week 8 | questionable

    Osborn has sat out the previous two games due to a hamstring injury, and it is unknown if he will be available against the Packers in Week 8.

  • Dru Samia

    Wrist
    Ques Week 8 | questionable

    Samia was absent from the lineup for the last contest due to a wrist injury, and it is unknown if he will line up versus the Falcons in Week 8.

  • Dalvin Cook

    Groin
    Ques Week 8 | questionable

    Dalvin missed the previous game with an adductor strain, and it has yet to be established if he will suit up for Week 8 versus the Packers.

  • Holton Hill

    Groin
    Ques Week 8 | questionable

    Hill has missed the last two games with a groin injury, and it is undetermined if he will play Week 8 against the Packers.

  • Mike Hughes

    Neck
    Ques Week 8 | questionable

    Hughes departed the previous game with a neck injury, and it is unclear if he will face the Packers in Week 8.

  • Danielle Hunter

    Neck
    I-R | I-R

    Hunter has landed on the injured reserve list after having surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck.

  • Kris Boyd

    Hamstring
    Ques Week 8 | questionable

    Boyd has been absent from the lineup during the past three games due to a hamstring injury, and it is unclear if he will return Week 8 against the Packers.

Tennessee Titans

  • Isaiah Wilson

    Illness
    Prob Sun | probable

    Wilson has been activated from the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and he is likely to return Sunday against the Steelers.

  • Jonnu Smith

    Ankle
    Prob Sun | probable

    Smith departed the last contest with an ankle sprain, but it is anticipated that he will face the Steelers on Sunday.

  • DaQuan Jones

    Foot
    Prob Sun | probable

    Jones is nursing a foot injury, but he is projected to suit up against the Steelers on Sunday.

  • Dennis Kelly

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Kelly is dealing with a knee injury, but he is likely to line up Sunday versus the Steelers.

  • MyCole Pruitt

    Illness
    Prob Sun | probable

    Pruitt has been activated from the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and he is expected to participate in Sunday's showdown with the Steelers.

  • Taylor Lewan

    Knee
    I-R | I-R

    Lewan has ended up on the injured reserve list with a torn ACL.

  • Jadeveon Clowney

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Clowney has a knee injury, but he is expected to play Sunday against the Steelers.

  • Corey Davis

    Illness
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Davis has been activated from the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and it is undetermined if he will return to action Sunday versus the Steelers.