When the Vikings play the Indianapolis Colts tomorrow, Leslie Frazier will be looking to do something no Vikings coach has ever done – leave a game against the Colts with a road victory.
In the 51-year history of the Vikings, they have played the Colts – both in Baltimore and Indianapolis – a total of 10 times and lost them all. Norm Van Brocklin was the worst offender. In his six years as the Vikings head coach, Minnesota played Baltimore twice a year. He lost all six in Baltimore. Bud Grant only met the Colts twice, both times coming in 1968 and the second being the Western Conference Championship game, and lost them both. Since 1968, the Vikings have played the Indianapolis incarnation of the Colts in Indiana just twice – Dennis Green losing to them in 2000 and Mike Tice losing to them in 2004.
Given that the Vikings won’t play in Indianapolis again until 2020, it’s kind of a now-or-never type philosophy. Peyton Manning likely only has two or three years left and will be in the Hall of Fame in Canton already by the time the Vikings head back to Lucas Oil Stadium (if it’s still called that in 2020) and Andrew Luck will likely have already gone to three or four Pro Bowls.
The Colts are one of only two franchises the Vikings have never beaten on the road. The other is the New York Jets, who have beaten the Vikings all five times they have played at home.
Given the propensity for home teams winning, it is somewhat surprising that the Vikings have only two teams on their list of those that they have never beaten on the road. They’ve only played the Texans and Jaguars on the road once and beaten them both times. Other expansion/relocation teams have played the Vikings just three times – the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers – and the Vikings have found a way to beat them.
While the Vikings have road wins against several other AFC teams, their records are less-than-spectacular: Miami Dolphins (1-3), San Diego Chargers (1-3), Tennessee Titans (1-3), Kansas City Chiefs (1-4), Cincinnati Bengals (1-5) and Oakland Raiders (1-5).
Of all the teams in the NFL, nobody has “had the Vikings’ number” like the Colts. They will always be the Vikings’ nemesis, simply because, even with a win on Sunday, when they play the Colts in 2020, the Vikings will still have a terrible losing road record. The best time to erase the egg in the win column will be tomorrow.
If they can get the Colts off the O-fer ledger Sunday, bring on the Jets! Oh, wait. That won’t be until 2018, so there will be plenty of time to prepare.
No decision was made by Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority in choosing a stadium architect and likely won’t be until the MSFA meets again Oct. 5 – the next scheduled MSFA meeting. It might come sooner, but would require calling a special session of the board.
The Bears’ Thursday loss to the Packers came with an extreme price. Running back Matt Forte suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to be out for at least two or three weeks, if not longer. However, it won’t help the Vikings, who don’t play Chicago until Week 12. In the next three weeks, the Bears play St. Louis, at Dallas and at Jacksonville.
The Vikings may have settled the starting running back job in Jacksonville for good. Maurice Jones-Drew, who held out for 38 days before reporting a week before the Week 1 game between the Jaguars and Vikings, didn’t start the opener because head coach Mike Mularkey named Rashad Jennings as the starter. On Friday, Mularkey named Jones-Drew the starter. Jennings injured his knee against the Vikings and has been ruled out for Sunday’s game, effectively ending career starts over MJD at one.
How bad are things going on the offensive line for the Colts? This week they signed street free agent and former Steelers guard Trai Essex and raided the Tampa Bay practice squad to pick up offensive tackle Bradley Sowell.
A panel of 12 ESPN NFL analysts pick all games during the season. This week, seven of the 12 are picking Indianapolis to beat the Vikings. In Week 1, six of the 12 picked the Jaguars to beat the Vikings.
Former Viking Madieu Williams, now with the Redskins, was fined $21,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints tight end Jimmy Graham.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.