Jets quarterback Sam Darnold

USA Today Sports Images

These Jets aren't well-known, but Vikings' Harrison Smith says they're still pretty good

Vikes lose DB Hughes to ACL injury

October 16, 2018 - 6:44 am

The Vikings appear to have survived what many feel is the roughest part of their 2018 schedule.

But if the players feel that way, it could wind up biting them where they don't want to be bitten.

Now at 3-2-1 following consecutive wins over the Rams and Cardinals, the Vikings take to the road again when they play the New York Jets on Sunday in the Meadowlands of New Jersey.

Fans will say the Jets are the Jets, pointing to a downtrodden franchise that was recently the victims of the Cleveland Browns' first win in two years.

But this version of the Jets is coming into Week Seven on a high note not seen in recent seasons. Consecutive wins over the Broncos and Colts have them at 3-3.

And the Vikings themselves already have a history this season of stubbing their toes at an unexpected moment.

"The thing about this league is there's no week off," said Vikings safety Harrison Smith during Monday night's player's show on WCCO radio.

"It doesn't matter what a team's record is, as we've already seen this year," he said, not needing to name the Buffalo team that whipped the Vikings at US Bank Stadium last month.

The Jets come into Sunday with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold leading the way, thanks to a receiving corps led by Quincy Enunwa, with Bilal Powell among the team rushing leaders and Avery Williamson anchoring the defense.

Darnold is a known quantity.  But the others?

"Doesn't matter if you've heard of their guys or not," Smith said. "They're there for a reason, and they can all go make plays and change outcomes of games. We don't take anything lightly."

Add to that the subtraction of the Vikings' top draft pick from last spring.  Cornerback Mike Hughes is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

"This has always been a deal where, if somebody gets hurt, everybody else has to continue to step up and play," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said in his regular Monday media availability in Eagan. "We feel bad about Mike, because I think Mike is going to be a really good football player. But we've got other guys here, and we expect them to come in and do a good job."

It's the second straight year the Vikings have lost their top draft pick to a knee injury.  Running back Dalvin Cook was hurt early last season, and has returned to action this year.

"Some of those things are going to happen, it's a long season" said Vikings fullback CJ Ham, the former Minnesota-Duluth standout who also appeared on the weekly show at the Lone Oak Grill in Eagan. "You have to make sure you're getting as hydrated as possible, doing as much as you can throughout the week developing a routine to make sure your body is feeling 100 percent by game time."

The Players Show is broadcast live on Mondays at 5:30 pm at the Lone Oak Grill in Eagan. Listen on WCCO Radio 830AM or register on Facebook to attend in person. Subscribe to the Players Show via Google Play, Stitcher or iTunes