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Houston Texans at Minnesota Vikings: First Quarter Open Thread

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports


Date: 9 October 2016
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Time: 12:00 PM Central Stadium: U.S. BANK STADIUM~!
DirecTV Ch 707
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 228
Sirius Ch 108
TV Announcers: Spero Dedes
Solomon Wilcots
Know Thy Foe: Battle Red Blog
Weather: Indoors, because the game is at U.S. BANK STADIUM~!
Line: Vikings -7, Over/Under 39.5 (Thanks to the SB Nation Odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Vikings 24, Texans 13
Final Score: Vikings 31, Texans 13

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It's the last game before the Minnesota Vikings go on their bye week, and they'll be trying to keep their undefeated start to the 2016 NFL season intact. Today, they'll be battling their second AFC South foe of the season, as they take on the Houston Texans at U.S. Bank Stadium.

So, how does our favorite football team get their third win at U.S. Bank Stadium and go into the bye week with a 5-0 mark?

1) Continue balancing the offense - Last week, courtesy of Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata and a pretty solid job by the Vikings' offensive line, the Minnesota running game showed some signs of life we haven't seen in quite some time. The Texans come into this game sporting one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, so the Vikings can continue to try to establish some more balance in their offense. The team is still shuffling a bit along the offensive line, with Jeremiah Sirles stepping in for Andre Smith at right tackle, but their performance against the Giants last week gives some hope that things are getting better. That needs to continue today.

2) Come after Brock Osweiler - Yes, we know that the Vikings' defense is outstanding, the Texans are not without offensive weapons. They have a pair of very good wide receivers in the outstanding DeAndre Hopkins and rookie Will Fuller. But Osweiler has had his struggles this season, and the Texans have had offensive line issues as well. If the secondary can continue playing at the level they have the past couple of weeks, the Minnesota pass rush should be able to get to Osweiler or force him into bad decisions.

3) Keep winning on special teams - Again, Blair Walsh's struggles aside, the Vikings have played very well on special teams over the first few games. Jeff Locke has been outstanding the past three weeks, and the team is forcing turnovers on special teams and getting big plays in the return game. Special teams can be a real difference maker, and it's been a positive difference for Minnesota in recent weeks. If that can continue, it will make things that much more difficult for the visitors this afternoon.

We're less than an hour away from kickoff at U.S. Bank Stadium, ladies and gentlemen. We'll have a new Open Thread for your commenting pleasure at the start of each quarter, so keep your eyes out for that as well. Here's hoping that the purple and gold can get a victory today and give us plenty to get excited about during the bye week.