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Minnesota Vikings vs. Houston Texans Pick & Prediction OCT 4TH 2020

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There were moments in the first half Sunday in Pittsburgh that Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson appeared primed to steer the Texans' offense out of its early-season funk.


But then the second half commenced and the Texans (0-3) scratched out just 51 yards and were shut out the rest of the way in the 28-21 loss to the Steelers.


Houston will host the Minnesota Vikings (0-3) on Sunday seeking not only its first victory but some semblance of normalcy for an offense that was dynamic at times in 2019.


"I think that we haven't thrown the ball downfield as much and we've always been known to do that, so we haven't done that as much," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "Really that hasn't been anything that's been part of the plan, it's just been the way we felt the game was going, what was the best play call for that situation. We have to do better."


Although Watson is actually passing for more yards per game than last season (264 yards a game, up from 256.8), his longest completion in this season is just 38 yards. Houston's inability to stretch the field can be linked in part to the offseason trade of three-time All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals.


The Texans also have struggled mightily running the ball this season. They rank 31st in the NFL and ahead of only the New York Giants with 198 yards, and tied for 29th at 3.7 yards per attempt.


That Watson, who has just 49 rushing yards through three games, hasn't been featured more in the running game is just one of several curious developments for the Texans' offense. That 16-yard average is less than half his career norm.


"I mean, my first instinct isn't running," Watson said. "Just giving those guys a chance when the receivers are open. I don't want to force a ball. There's a difference between throwing, anticipating guys being open and then forcing a ball into a tight window and causing a turnover.


"You've got to pick your spots and make sure that you're comfortable with those spots and then react after that."


The Vikings returned to practice Thursday after receiving zero positive results from multiple iterations of COVID-19 tests over the previous three days. The exacting protocol measures followed a COVID-19 outbreak among the Tennessee Titans, whom the Vikings played Sunday. Following that 31-30 loss, the Vikings held virtual meetings Tuesday and Wednesday while awaiting test results.


"Obviously it's been a little bit unusual. It's been busy," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "Sometimes the uncertainty of everything tries to creep in, I guess. Just not knowing exactly how the protocol is going to change the next day. Like I've had to change the schedule for every day this week just because of the different things."


Considering their surprisingly ragged start to the season, the last thing the Vikings needed was an unexpected distraction serving as an obstacle between their first victory. But, given the challenges the NFL faced to get its season off the ground, this week was just another hiccup.


"It's similar to how we approached much of the offseason program and training camp," Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "I think it's been handled well and we'll just keep at it.


"Just do the best you can. Cover everything in meetings, get on the field (Thursday) obviously and throughout the rest of the week and still get all your work in and then go to Houston and the goal is to get the job done regardless of what the weekly schedule looked like."


--Field Level Media


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Minnesota Vikings

Houston Texans

Player Position Lineup
Garrett Bradbury primary: Center Starter
Dalvin Cook primary: Halfback Starter
Kirk Cousins primary: Quarterback Starter
C.J. Ham primary: Fullback Starter
Anthony Harris primary: Free Safety Starter
Jaleel Johnson primary: Defensive Tackle Starter
Eric Kendricks primary: Middle Linebacker Starter
Brian O'Neill primary: Right Tackle Starter
Ifeadi Odenigbo primary: Left End Starter
Riley Reiff primary: Left Tackle Starter
Kyle Rudolph primary: Tight End Starter
Dru Samia primary: Right Guard Starter
Harrison Smith primary: Strong Safety Starter
Shamar Stephen primary: Nose Tackle Starter
Adam Thielen primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Eric Wilson primary: Weak Linebacker Starter
Dakota Dozier primary: Left Guard Starter
Justin Jefferson primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Jeff Gladney primary: Right Cornerback Starter
Cameron Dantzler primary: Left Cornerback Starter
Yannick Ngakoue primary: Right End Starter
Hardy Nickerson primary: Strong Linebacker Starter
Chad Beebe primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Mike Boone primary: Runningback Substitution
Tyler Conklin primary: Tight End Substitution
Austin Cutting primary: Long Snapper Substitution
Holton Hill primary: Cornerback Substitution
Jalyn Holmes primary: Defensive End Substitution
Bisi Johnson primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Brett Jones primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
Hercules Mata'afa primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Alexander Mattison primary: Runningback Substitution
Irv Smith Jr. primary: Tight End Substitution
Armon Watts primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Britton Colquitt primary: Punter Substitution
Dan Bailey primary: Kicker Substitution
Rashod Hill primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
Ameer Abdullah primary: Runningback Substitution
Ezra Cleveland primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
D.J. Wonnum primary: Defensive End Substitution
Harrison Hand primary: Cornerback Substitution
K.J. Osborn primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Josh Metellus primary: Defensive Back Substitution
Dan Chisena primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Ryan Connelly primary: Linebacker Substitution
George Iloka primary: Defensive Back Substitution
Todd Davis primary: Linebacker Substitution
Kris Boyd primary: Cornerback Not active
Mike Hughes primary: Cornerback Not active
Oli Udoh primary: Offensive Tackle Not active
Eddie Yarbrough primary: Defensive End Not active
Sean Mannion primary: Quarterback Did not play
Tajae Sharpe primary: Wide Receiver Not active
James Lynch primary: Defensive Tackle Not active
Player Position Lineup
Zach Cunningham primary: Linebacker Starter
Darren Fells primary: Tight End Starter
Will Fuller V primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Zach Fulton primary: Right Guard Starter
Tytus Howard primary: Right Tackle Starter
Senio Kelemete primary: Left Guard Starter
Nick Martin primary: Center Starter
Benardrick McKinney primary: Linebacker Starter
Whitney Mercilus primary: Linebacker Starter
Justin Reid primary: Safety Starter
Bradley Roby primary: Cornerback Starter
Brennan Scarlett primary: Linebacker Starter
Laremy Tunsil primary: Left Tackle Starter
Deshaun Watson primary: Quarterback Starter
J.J. Watt primary: Defensive End Starter
Brandon Dunn primary: Defensive Tackle Starter
David Johnson primary: Runningback Starter
Eric Murray primary: Safety Starter
Vernon Hargreaves III primary: Cornerback Starter
Brandin Cooks primary: Wide Receiver Starter
P.J. Hall primary: Defensive End Starter
Pharaoh Brown primary: Tight End Starter
Tyrell Adams primary: Inside Linebacker Substitution
Jordan Akins primary: Tight End Substitution
Bryan Anger primary: Punter Substitution
DeAndre Carter primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Dylan Cole primary: Inside Linebacker Substitution
Keion Crossen primary: Cornerback Substitution
Ka'imi Fairbairn primary: Kicker Substitution
Phillip Gaines primary: Cornerback Substitution
Buddy Howell primary: Runningback Substitution
Duke Johnson primary: Runningback Substitution
Lonnie Johnson Jr. primary: Cornerback Substitution
Jacob Martin primary: Outside Linebacker Substitution
Charles Omenihu primary: Defensive End Substitution
Max Scharping primary: Guard Substitution
Kenny Stills primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Carlos Watkins primary: Defensive End Substitution
Jon Weeks primary: Long Snapper Substitution
Brent Qvale primary: Guard Substitution
Randall Cobb primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Ross Blacklock primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Jonathan Greenard primary: Outside Linebacker Substitution
John Reid primary: Cornerback Substitution
Michael Thomas primary: Safety Substitution
C.J. Prosise primary: Runningback Substitution
Cornell Armstrong primary: Cornerback Not active
Keke Coutee primary: Wide Receiver Not active
Cullen Gillaspia primary: Fullback Not active
Roderick Johnson primary: Offensive Tackle Did not play
Peter Kalambayi primary: Inside Linebacker Not active
AJ McCarron primary: Quarterback Did not play
Charlie Heck primary: Offensive Tackle Not active

Minnesota Vikings

Houston Texans

  • Match Start
  • Period 1
  • MIN 5
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 5 Yards
    • Rusher: Dalvin Cook
    • Conv Kicker: Dan Bailey
  • Period 2
  • MIN 0
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 28 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
  • MIN 1
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 7 Yards
    • Rusher: Dalvin Cook
    • Conv Kicker: Dan Bailey
  • MIN 8
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 50 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
  • MIN 12
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 31 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Dan Bailey
  • Period 3
  • MIN 0
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 9 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Adam Thielen
    • Passer: Kirk Cousins
    • Conv Kicker: Dan Bailey
  • MIN 5
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 25 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
  • MIN 9
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 24 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Will Fuller V
    • Passer: Deshaun Watson
    • Conv Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
  • Period 4
  • MIN 5
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 24 Yards
    • Passer: Deshaun Watson
    • Conv Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
    • Pass Receiver: Kenny Stills
  • MIN 10
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 4 Yards
    • Rusher: Alexander Mattison
    • Conv Kicker: Dan Bailey
  • Match End


Last 10

W 60% L 40%
6 4
  • @Detroit W 37 - 35
  • @New Orleans L 33 - 52
  • Chicago L 33 - 27
  • @Tampa Bay L 14 - 26
  • Jacksonville W 24 - 27
  • Carolina W 27 - 28
  • Dallas L 31 - 28
  • @Chicago W 19 - 13
  • Detroit W 20 - 34
  • @Green Bay W 28 - 22
W 30% L 70%
3 7
  • Tennessee L 41 - 38
  • Cincinnati L 37 - 31
  • @Indianapolis L 20 - 27
  • @Chicago L 7 - 36
  • Indianapolis L 26 - 20
  • @Detroit W 41 - 25
  • New England W 20 - 27
  • @Cleveland L 7 - 10
  • @Jacksonville W 27 - 25
  • Green Bay L 35 - 20

Last Meetings

  • Vikings @ Texans 31-23
  • Texans @ Vikings 13-31
  • Texans @ Vikings 27-13
  • Vikings @ Texans 23-6
  • Vikings @ Texans 24-28
  • Texans @ Vikings 0-28
  • Vikings @ Texans 17-10
  • Texans @ Vikings 21-28

American Football Conference

Buffalo Bills133 0.8130.00.00.0 7-16-29-0-1
Miami Dolphins106 0.6253.00.00.0 5-35-37-0-3
New England Patriots79 0.4386.00.00.0 5-32-65-0-5
New York Jets214 0.12511.00.00.0 1-71-72-0-8
Pittsburgh Steelers124 0.7500.00.00.0 7-15-36-0-4
Cleveland Browns115 0.6881.00.00.0 6-25-37-0-3
Baltimore Ravens115 0.6881.00.00.0 5-36-26-0-4
Cincinnati Bengals411 1.2677.50.00.0 3-51-63-1-7
Indianapolis Colts115 0.6880.00.00.0 6-25-37-0-3
Tennessee Titans115 0.6880.00.00.0 5-36-26-0-4
Houston Texans412 0.2507.00.00.0 2-62-63-0-7
Jacksonville Jaguars115 0.06310.00.00.0 1-70-81-0-10
Kansas City Chiefs142 0.8750.00.00.0 6-28-09-0-1
Las Vegas Raiders88 0.5006.00.00.0 2-66-25-0-5
Los Angeles Chargers79 0.4387.00.00.0 4-43-55-0-5
Denver Broncos511 0.3139.00.00.0 2-63-53-0-7

National Football Conference

Washington Football Team79 0.4380.00.00.0 3-54-46-0-4
New York Giants610 0.3751.00.00.0 3-53-55-0-5
Dallas Cowboys610 0.3751.00.00.0 4-42-64-0-6
Philadelphia Eagles411 1.2672.50.00.0 3-41-73-1-7
Green Bay Packers133 0.8130.00.00.0 7-16-28-0-2
Chicago Bears88 0.5005.00.00.0 3-55-33-0-7
Minnesota Vikings79 0.4386.00.00.0 3-54-46-0-4
Detroit Lions511 0.3138.00.00.0 1-74-42-0-8
New Orleans Saints124 0.7500.00.00.0 6-26-28-0-2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers115 0.6881.00.00.0 5-36-27-0-3
Carolina Panthers511 0.3137.00.00.0 2-63-52-0-8
Atlanta Falcons412 0.2508.00.00.0 2-62-63-0-7
Seattle Seahawks124 0.7500.00.00.0 7-15-37-0-3
Los Angeles Rams106 0.6252.00.00.0 6-24-46-0-4
Arizona Cardinals88 0.5004.00.00.0 4-44-44-0-6
San Francisco 49ers610 0.3756.00.00.0 1-75-33-0-7

Last Injuries