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Vikings’ 0-2 start both different and the same as last season

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Vikings’ 0-2 start both different and the same as last season

The Vikings started 0-2 last year and looked really bad while being outscored by an average of 13 points. This season, they’re again 0-2, losing games by three points in overtime and by one point.

So, is there a difference between the 0-2 starts? It depends on whom you ask.

“We go back and look at the two games that we lost and compare them to last year, if you want to do that, because it’s different,” Vikings running back Dalvin Cook said Wednesday. “You see the grit in the teams and you see it’s different. …You can see the difference in what’s going on and how things are happening. We’re a confident group.”

Hall of fame coach Bill Parcells, though, once said, “You are what your record says you are.” On Wednesday, Vikings co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson offered his own version of that quote.

Patterson said it doesn’t matter that the two losses have been close. The Vikings fell 27-24 in Week 1 at Cincinnati after Cook lost a fumble at the Bengals’ 39 late in overtime. They lost 34-33 at Arizona last Sunday when Greg Joseph missed a 37-yard field goal on the final play.

“0-2 is 0-2,” Patterson said. “That’s who we are. Some people say, ‘You’re one fumble and one missed kick away from being 2-0,’ right? But we’re 0-2. That’s who we are. You’ve got to live with it, you’ve got to accept it, and you move on and go to the next one. But you can’t get caught up in all of the could-have, would-have, should-haves.”

Next up for the Vikings is Sunday’s home opener against Seattle. After no tickets were sold for any games last season because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will mark the first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium with fans since Dec. 29, 2019 against Chicago.

“At this stage, it’s time to get some wins,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.

The Vikings are obviously hoping there won’t end up being one similarity between last year and this season. Minnesota started 0-3 in 2020 before finishing 7-9.

For now, the Vikings are off to the 14th 0-2 start in team history. In the first 13 such seasons, they made the playoffs just once, going 10-6 in 2008 and winning the NFC North.

“You see all kinds of stuff,” Patterson said. “Teams that are 0-2 have this kind of percentage to make the playoffs. C’mon. Let’s be real. You’ve got 15 games to go, man. You’ve got to go play. … The bottom line is this: You’ve got to go play Sunday, better than Seattle, and win. And then when you win that, you’ve got to go play better the next week and win.”

The Vikings play their next three games at home, with Cleveland on Oct. 3 and Detroit on Oct. 10 following the Seahawks into U.S. Bank Stadium. Pardon Cook if he might be looking a bit ahead.

“We could go on a tear for three straight weeks,” he said.

There is reason to believe that could the case if the Vikings can put together complete games. The defense has had its share of ups and downs, but the offense looks to be finding its groove.

Cook, who sat out practice Wednesday after hurting his ankle at Arizona but is expected to play Sunday, is fourth in the NFL in rushing with 192 yards. Kirk Cousins, who has thrown for 595 yards and five touchdowns, is ranked by Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s fourth-best quarterback.

“He’s done a good job of getting the ball to the right place,” Zimmer said of Cousins. “His leadership has been a lot better this year, just the way he’s gone about his business and not just being to himself, but being around the guys more.”

Cousins at first dismissed the part about being a better leader, saying he’s “been the same guy all the way through.” But then he said that being in his fourth Vikings season he has “a little bit more ability to have assimilated and understand how this organization works.”

One thing is for sure: Cousins is off to a much better start than last season when he threw four interceptions in the first two games and had 10 interceptions by the Vikings were 1-5.

So what is the comparison that Cousins offers between the Vikings’ 0-2 starts in 2020 and 2021?

“We believe in our locker room and the group we have and what we’re doing, but the results are all that matters, and that’s what we’re measured by,” he said. “So we understand in this league, winning and losing is really what it’s all about, in terms of how you’re measured. So we’ve got to be able to win.”

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Mikaela Shiffrin ties Ingemar Stenmark record with win in women’s slalom

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Mikaela Shiffrin ties Ingemar Stenmark record with win in women’s slalom

KILLINGTON, Vt. — Mikaela Shiffrin marked the return of the women’s World Cup to North America by setting yet another record — and the two-time Olympic champion did it Sunday on home snow.

Shiffrin beat Petra Vlhova — her main rival — for her 46th career win in slalom. That matched a 32-year-old record for most World Cup wins in a single discipline, set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark in giant slalom.

While the 26-year-old Shiffrin hails from Vail, Colorado, she can almost consider Killington a hometown race as she honed her skills nearby at the Burke Mountain Academy as a teenager.

Shiffrin trailed Vlhova by .20 seconds after the first run and, although she made an error at the top of her second run, a fantastic finish ensured she was still fastest on that second run.

Shiffrin lifted her arms over her head to soak in the cheers of the passionate home crowd before cupping her hand to her ear as she beamed broadly.

Then she turned to watch her rival.

Vlhova also made a mistake, and that cost her even more dearly than Shiffrin’s. The overall champion was almost a second slower than Shiffrin on the second run to ultimately finish .75 behind in second place.

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AP college football poll: Michigan rises to No. 2; Oklahoma State up to 5th

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AP college football poll: Michigan rises to No. 2; Oklahoma State up to 5th

Michigan jumped to No. 2 in The Associated Press college football poll on Sunday and Oklahoma State joined the top five for the first time since 2015.

Georgia was a unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank for the eighth consecutive week. For the fourth straight week, there is a different No. 2 team behind the Bulldogs.

Michigan has its highest ranking since it peaked at No 2. in 2016. The Wolverines moved up four spots after emphatically beating Ohio State on Saturday to break an eight-game losing streak in the rivalry.

Cincinnati moved up to No. 3, flip-flopping with Alabama at No. 4. The Crimson Tide slipped after beating Auburn in overtime.

Oklahoma State moved up two spots after beating Oklahoma for the first time since 2014. The Sooners fell three places to No. 13.

Notre Dame dropped a spot to No. 6 and Ohio State tumbled five spots to No. 7 a week after it peaked at second last week.

The week before the Buckeyes were No. 2, Alabama held that spot. The Tide had replaced Cincinnati the week before.

Mississippi, Baylor and Oregon rounded out the top 10.

POLL POINTS

The longest streak of weeks as unanimous No. 1 was Alabama’s run of nine in 2018.

There are two more polls left this season, after next week’s championship games and then after the College Football Playoff national title is decided on Jan. 10.

If Georgia can beat Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game next weekend and make a run through the playoff, it could break Alabama’s record.

But something to keep in mind for the Bulldogs: Alabama’s run of unanimous No. 1 rankings ended in a national championship game loss to Clemson and the Crimson Tide finished No. 2.

IN

— No. 22 Clemson (9-3) is back in the Top 25 after falling out after the last weekend of September. The Tigers have climbed back, winning seven of their final eight games.

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Lambert Airport gearing up for large crowds as travelers head home after the holiday

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Lambert Airport gearing up for large crowds as travelers head home after the holiday

ST. LOUIS – Airline passengers are headed home Sunday after the Thanksgiving holiday, which is traditionally known as the “busiest travel day of the year”.

It’s estimated that 40 to 45-thousand people will be walking through the gates at Lambert International Airport.

The Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 2.3 million people on Wednesday, marking the busiest day since March 2020, just before the pandemic began.

In 2019, 2.6 million were screened the day before Thanksgiving. So today brings some sense of normalcy this holiday weekend, even if that includes all that traffic we’ve come to expect this time of year.

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