Back home at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings will look to continue their dominance as they take on the Washington Redskins (8.20pm ET Thursday live on FOX / NFL Network).
It will certainly be a revenge game as Kirk Cousins, Minnesota’s new QB and, Case Keenum, Washington’s QB, face off against their former teams. Perhaps the biggest return of all comes for Adrian Peterson. Washington’s running back spent the first decade of his career in Minnesota, during which time he was regarded as one of the best at his position. Having gone to the Redskins in 2018, where he recorded his first 1K+ yards season since 2015, this will be Peterson’s first game against his old team and first game back in Minnesota.
That is just one storyline to follow as these two NFC teams prepare for do battle. At this point in the season, the Redskins and Vikings have gone in completely different directions. Washington has struggled mightily, finding themselves in last place in the NFC East. Their only win on the year came against the equally hapless and still winless Miami Dolphins. Washington won that game by just one point, in a 17-16 final. Looking to move forward, the Redskins fired head coach Jay Gruden, and have a 1-1 record since. Though, in fairness to Washington, their defense played well last week against the undefeated San Francisco 49ers, holding the team to just nine points.
The Vikings have been an excellent team, going 5-2 on the year including winning each of their last three by no less than 12 points per game. Leading the way has been Cousins, the guy who Washington drafted as their second QB behind Robert Griffin III. Washington never opted to give long term viability or commitment to Cousins, opening up the way for him to find a new home in Minnesota. With the Vikings, Cousins has flourished and is on pace to finish the year with career bests in just about every offensive category. He has thrown 13 touchdowns to just three interceptions and Minnesota has really benefited from having him under center.
Out with the Old, In with the New
There was nothing ceremonious about the way that Adrian Peterson’s tenure with the Vikings came to an end in the winter of 2017. Peterson, who had been marred by injury and an NFL suspension due to alleged violence against his son, managed to play just 20 games in his final three years with the team. So it didn’t come as a surprise to many when the Vikings opted not to pick up his team option, making him a free agent.
At 31 years old and carrying a would-be price tag of $18M, it is easy to see why the Vikings decided to go in a different direction. Peterson’s days as an elite NFL running back seemed to be behind him but that was never going to stop a team from taking a chance on him as the Redskins did prior to the 2018 season. For what it amounted to, it was a risk worth taking as Peterson recorded the eighth 1,000+ yard performance of his career. The Redskins got out of the deal what they wanted and so did the Vikings as Peterson’s absence paved the way for Minnesota to select Dalvin Cook in the second round of the draft.
As far as second round draft picks go, Cook has already outvalued and outproduced his draft position. The now third year back out of Florida State, Cook has slowly found himself becoming one of the best young runningbacks in the game. Already this year, he has rushed for an NFL best 725 yards across seven games and 133 attempts. It is an average of 5.5 yards, a mark that also puts him in the top-10.
It would seem the Vikings had indeed found their next Adrian Peterson. Meanwhile in DC, the actual Peterson has had an okay but unspectacular year. Not the regular starter on a week-by-week basis, Peterson has carried the ball just 83 times for 307 yards and an average of 3.7 yards per carry. He has just one rushing touchdown compared to eight touchdowns for Cook, another NFL high (tied with Aaron Jones).
If pre-game interviews mean anything however, Peterson is fired up to have the opportunity to show his old team that he has still got some gas left in the tank. Recovering from an ankle injury, the veteran back has guaranteed he will be available to play in the game Thursday night. While his impact and usage is still unknown, the way players have performed against their prior teams this year certainly promises Peterson could have a nice day. The same likely goes for Cousins, who has been tearing it up period, and will look to prove, much like Peterson, that his old team made a mistake in letting him go.
Our Betting Preview’s Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings Predictions & Picks Verdict
There is no secret that this game is an uneven matchup. The Vikings are surging, looking to bounce back from a few early season divisional losses en route to winning the NFC North. The Redskins are just looking to keep their heads above water and finish out this year in position for a top-five draft pick. The current makeups of these teams couldn’t be any more different, though their future trajectories could be if Washington makes the most of their likely high draft position.
That is still months away. What matters now is playing the games and for Minnesota, this should be an easy week to pick up a win at home. The odds tell much of the story as the Vikings are favored a whopping 16 points. It is a mark that is just shy of the Thursday night record of 16.5 set by the New England Patriots. As crazy as it sounds, teams with huge Thursday night spreads have actually managed to cover more often than not.
- Looking at Minnesota’s recent win margin, our Washington Redskins vs Minnesota Vikings predictions are going to follow the trend and pick the Vikings -16pts to cover that lofty spread @ -110 with Intertops. You can get -108 (but -16.5pts) with Bookmaker or BetOnline. It is also -16.5pts with Bovada for -110.
- For the final of this NFL game’s picks, look for the over on 42 total points @ -110 with Intertops, Bookmaker or BetOnline (-115 with Bovada). Vikings games of late have been high scoring.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.