Our Interview with the Enemy series continues this week with Christopher Gates from The Daily Norseman. Christopher joins us to answer a few quick questions before the Minnesota Vikings matchup against the New Orleans Saints in London at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.
TH: RB Dalvin Cook suffered a dislocated shoulder on Sunday, with the latest reports saying he is experiencing some pain. Cook suffered a similar injury last season and missed one game, so do you expect him to sit out this week or do you expect him to play?
CG: Cook didn’t practice on Wednesday, but Kevin O’Connell said that the team will continue to evaluate him through the week. It’s worth noting that Cook, as you said, had a similar injury last year and was expected to miss the team’s Thursday Night Football matchup against Pittsburgh. Instead, he went out there with a brace on his shoulder, to the surprise of everyone, and ran for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. I don’t know if I expect him to sit out, necessarily, but depending on the severity of the injury it could really go either way at this point. If he can’t go, it will be the Alexander Mattison show, which isn’t too bad, either.
TH: With Kicker Greg Joesph going 3 for 5 on field goals and 1 for 3 from 50 yards or more, (2 of those misses indoors) do you think this is a concern that could have O’Connell looking at other options soon?
CG: I don’t know if Joseph has to worry about his job yet. Kevin O’Connell and special teams coordinator Matt Daniels spent all offseason singing Joseph’s praises, so I’d be surprised if the team was going to start looking elsewhere at this point. I think the better idea would be to stop deciding that 56-yard field goals are a routine thing (both of Joseph’s misses on Sunday against Detroit were from 56, which is currently the Vikings’ franchise record). Just about every kicker has a bad game or two over the course of a season, and it looks like this past Sunday was one of those for Joseph. Now, if he starts stringing together bad games that would change things, but I don’t think the Vikings are ready to toss Greg Joseph out quite yet.
TH: Which Vikings player who was not on many people’s radars, has really stood out to you so far this season and why?
CG: It’s usually a bad thing when you speak highly of a team’s punter, but Ryan Wright has been great for Minnesota this year. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane this offseason and wasn’t really given much of a chance to win the job, but he beat out veteran Jordan Berry for the spot and has been really good when he’s been called upon so far. Whether the situation calls for a blast to try to flip field position or trying to pin the other team deep, Wright has gotten it done for the Vikings this season. Again, it’s not often you sing the punter’s praises, but in this case it’s worth making an exception for.
TH: This game is being played at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with kickoff set for 8:30am central time and it is the 1st of 5 international games this season. What are your overall thoughts on the overseas games?
CG: I like what the National Football League is doing as far as trying to expose other places to the brand and that sort of thing. I’m sure it’s something that the players enjoy as well, as it gives them an opportunity to go places and see things that they might not ordinarily take the time to do. As someone that’s trying to cover these games, it’s a bit inconvenient. The last time the Vikings played overseas I was in California, so I was sitting in front of my computer waiting for the inactive lists at 5 AM in anticipation of a 6:30 AM kickoff. But that’s a minor inconvenience and it doesn’t happen that often so it’s something I’m sure people can live with. Overall, I think the good from the overseas games outweighs the bad by quite a bit.
TH: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Vikings are currently 2.5 points favorites. Do you think that they cover the spread? What is your final score prediction?
CG: I think they will, but it will be close. Neither of these two teams have been lighting up the scoreboard offensively though the first three games. . .neither of them are even averaging 20 points/game through the first three games. I think this one is going to be relatively low scoring, and I think the Vikings are going to do just enough to pull this one out. As far as a final score, let’s go with 20-17 in favor of Minnesota.
Thank you again to Christopher for taking the time to answer our questions. You can check out his work on @DailyNorseman.
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