The Minnesota Vikings secured a victory in their first game without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins. It was an entertaining four quarters headlined by 28-year-old signal caller Josh Dobbs.
Dobbs entered the game after rookie Jaren Hall was forced to leave with a concussion. Dobbs was traded to the Vikings last week after starting eight games for the Arizona Cardinals. Minnesota has won five of their last six outings and sits in the seventh and final wild-card playoff spot in the NFC.
So what do the Vikings need to do to win their sixth straight game? Here are three keys to victory in Week Ten against the New Orleans Saints.
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More Dobbs Magic
The success of any football team will be determined by the starting quarterback. If Dobbs can continue to play the way he did last Sunday, the Vikings will have a shot at winning against the Saints.
Dobbs completed 20 of his 30 pass attempts for 158 yards and two touchdowns. He added another 66 yards and a score on seven carries.
With a full week of practice, along with more time to learn the playbook, Dobbs could make life difficult for the Saints' defense.
Run The Football
I sound like a broken record, but it's worth stating again. The Minnesota Vikings can not run the football. If you just look at the numbers, 146 combined yards would be great. However, when you take out the 77 yards produced by the two quarterbacks, you're left with 69 yards of production from the running backs.
Alexander Mattison averaged 2.8 yards per carry, while Cam Akers recorded 25 yards on eight carries -- most of which came on a 19-yard run.
With Akers' season coming to an end due to a torn Achilles, will Mattison and Ty Chandler be able to turn things around and support the passing attack? New Orleans is middle-of-the-pack in terms of rushing yards allowed per game (112.3), so it could be an area where the Vikings find success.
Vikings Must Win Turnover Battle
Winning the turnover battle is massive for the Vikings, who have found many ways to turn over the football this season. Minnesota had two fumbles last week but was assisted by a lost fumble and an interception by the Falcons.
Keep an eye on Harrison Smith or Ivan Pace Jr. to get pressure on Derek Carr and force him to make a poor decision or two.
Somehow, despite their 1-4 start, this team has found ways to win and find themselves in playoff positioning. With four divisional games, including two matchups with the Lions still on the schedule, the NFC North is up for grabs.
At the time of publishing, the Vikings are 2.5-point underdogs against the spread, and +125 on the moneyline. The total is set at 41.0.
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