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Monday Night Football: Redskins vs. Bears Discussionby just_rob on September 24, 2019 at 12:00 am
Redskins vs Bears Good Evening! We’ve got the Monday night game setup with a thread for everyone’s commenting pleasure this evening, as these two teams are common opponents for the Vikings I figured most people would be watching the game. Besides it’s Monday night, what else are you going to do? Since Case Keenum is playing for the Redskins, I’m onboard with a Redskins win and I’m always up for another NFC North team to lose. Today’s game will kickoff at 7:15pm Central time with the NFC East Washington Redskins hosting last years NFC North Champion Chicago Bears. As usual, I’m hoping for an entertaining game with no significant injuries for either team. Washington Redskins SB Nation Site: Hogs Haven. Chicago Bears SB Nation Site: Windy City Gridiron. If you’re going to be watching tonight’s game anyway, you could just as well come and hang out with your fellow Vikings fans while you do so. Also, GIF’s are welcome in this game thread, however within the rules as usual. Again, we all know the rules, but in case someone is new:-No discussion of politics or religion-No feeding of the trolls-Leave the gender hatred at the door-Keep the bad language to a minimum (using the spoiler tags, if you must)-Speaking of which, if discussing a newer show or movie, please use spoiler tags-No pictures that could get someone fired or in serious trouble with their employer-If you can’t disagree in a civil manner, feel free to go away-While navigating the open thread, just assume it’s sarcasm.With that, the beer light is on and the bar is open. Belly up & tie one on. Don’t forget to tip your waitress, try the coffee and as always, Welcome Aboard and Skol Vikings!
Vikings vs. Raiders: Five Game-Changing Playsby Eric J. Thompson on September 23, 2019 at 8:36 pm
No YOU’RE the best running back in the NFL. | Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images Looking back at the most important plays from the 34-14 win over Oakland. I don’t know about you, but I could get used to this whole “jump out to a huge lead and then coast to an easy victory” thing the Vikings are doing at home so far this season. Much like their Week 1 domination of the Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings led wire-to-wire in their 34-14 blowout of the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. To say that the game was never in doubt may actually be a bit of an understatement. According to ESPN’s win probability chart, the lowest the Vikings’ win probability got was 75.1% after the first play of the game. (It was 78.3% at kickoff, which shows what a lopsided matchup it was in the first place.) Once again, Kirk Cousins was largely relegated to being a steward of the large lead, throwing the ball only 21 times for a pedestrian 174 yards. For the second straight home game, Cousins wasn’t even required to attempt a pass in the fourth quarter. But he played a much cleaner game than last week’s debacle in Green Bay. Cousins made a few nice throws, made a couple more plays with his legs, and he didn’t turn the ball over along the way. The run game and defense took center stage at U.S. Bank Stadium once more. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison combined for 28 carries, 168 yards, and two scores. Derek Carr was stifled for most of the day. Carr’s final stat line—27 of 34 for 242 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception—was much kinder to his performance than what he put on film. He looked uncomfortable in the pocket for much of the game as the Vikings sacked him four times. Rookie running back Josh Jacobs was held to 44 yards on only ten touches. Of Oakland’s 303 total yards, 42% of that output came in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand. Let’s go through our weekly list of the biggest plays from another Sunday stroll to victory. Play 1: Vikings ball, 1st & 10 on the Oakland 35. First quarter, 11:31 remaining. K.Cousins pass deep right to A.Thielen for 35 yards, TOUCHDOWN [P.Hall]. That’s more like it, Kirk. I almost went with two key plays of this drive before the touchdown itself: The defensive holding penalty on Gareon Conley while covering Stefon Diggs. It kept the Vikings from going three and out on their first drive. It also showed that while Diggs isn’t making a splash in the box score through the first three games, he’s still making an impact.The play before the touchdown: a 20-yard dart from Cousins to Irv Smith Jr. Smith led the Vikings in receiving yards on Sunday after having a grand total of -1 yard in his first two NFL games. It was encouraging to see him more involved in the passing game, especially out of big sets like this pass out of 13 personnel.But I settled on the touchdown itself for a variety of reasons: It was an actual scoring play. It was a very good throw by Cousins while getting hit, which was important on many levels. It showed that the play action and rollout passes weren’t dead after the Packers largely shut out that aspect of the Vikings offense last week. (It also might have showed that the Raiders didn’t do their homework all that well.) Thielen’s lowkey disrespectful stiff arm of Curtis Riley as he strode into the end zone. It wasn’t much more than a nudge, but it was still fun to watch. Let us not overlook the subtle, yet disrespectful as hell stiff arm Thielen gave Curtis Riley at the end of his TD pic.twitter.com/s0G8UHzsuD— Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) September 23, 2019 After a disastrous start in Green Bay, the Vikings had restored order and set the tone with their first drive. Play 2: Vikings ball, 3rd & 18 at the Minnesota 13. First quarter, 4:38 remaining. (Shotgun) K.Cousins pass short left to D.Cook to MIN 31 for 18 yards (B.Mayowa) [A.Key]. PENALTY on OAK-A.Key, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards, enforced at MIN 31. The Vikings defense had forced two punts from the Raiders on their opening two drives, but the offense was pinned deep late in the first quarter. Thanks to Cook and more help from a Raiders penalty, they were able to get out a third & long situation. Cook made some nifty moves on the screen pass and almost got the first down on his own. In fact, the referees awarded a first down after it initially appeared that Cook had bounced on top of Benson Mayowa before going down. That spot would have likely been overturned, but it was a first down regardless thanks to this roughing the passer penalty on Arden Key. The Vikings took full advantage of the opportunity. They marched 54 more yards—15 of which came via a face mask penalty of Conley on Diggs—in nine plays. Cook fought for a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. The offense wouldn’t have to wait long to get the ball back and start marching again. Play 3: Raiders ball, 2nd & 6 at the Oakland 29. Second quarter, 14:23 remaining. (No Huddle) D.Carr pass short right intended for F.Moreau INTERCEPTED by H.Smith at OAK 43. H.Smith to OAK 30 for 13 yards (F.Moreau). Harrison Smith now has 21 career interceptions. He didn’t have to work too hard for this one. Despite good protection, Carr got happy feet and air mailed his throw to Foster Moreau. Or, if you listen to Carr’s big brother, it was just really good defense and there was nothing baby bro could do. Either way, Hitman was there to make the pick and set up the Vikings in great position to go up by three scores. And that’s just what they did, converting two short third downs capped off by Adam Thielen’s rushing touchdown. For the third straight week, the home team was up 21-0 in the first half. Thankfully, the Vikings were at home this time around. Play 4: Vikings ball, 3rd & 6 at the Minnesota 12. Third quarter, 11:15 remaining. (Shotgun) K.Cousins pass short left to A.Thielen pushed ob at MIN 23 for 11 yards (D.Worley). The Raiders got on the board on a flea flicker and were showing signs of life at halftime. But any semblance of momentum they may have had was quickly quashed when the third quarter got underway. The Vikings defense forced a three & out thanks in part to a Danielle Hunter sack. The offense started deep in their own territory because of back-to-back illegal blocking penalties on Kris Boyd and Thielen. But on third down, the homegrown star wideout made up for it with a crucial catch. The pass from Cousins was thrown a bit behind Thielen, but he made a great adjustment to keep the drive going. It’s good that he did, because it turned out to be the scoring drive that put the game away for good. Plus it gave us our next play. Play 5: Vikings ball, 2nd &15 at the Oakland 31. Third quarter, 8:46 remaining. D.Cook right guard to OAK 16 for 15 yards (K.Joseph). My goodness, Dalvin. The run gets more ridiculous each time you watch it. You can practically hear the Chris Berman “WHOOP!” noises just by watching the gif. Cook’s devastating moves embarrassed Vontaze Burfict so much that he resorted to randomly punching everything in sight. (Actually, knowing Burfict’s past, that’s just kind of what he does.) Two plays later, Mattison scored his first career touchdown and that was that. Eric Kendricks and Hunter stuffed the Raiders on fourth down on the ensuing drive and the Vikings added a field goal to make it 31-7 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Daniel Carlson even threw in a late missed field goal, much to the delight of Vikings fans. It was another thorough domination by the Vikings at home. Hopefully they’ll travel a little better next week when they visit Chicago. As always, we welcome you to vote in the poll to tell us which play you thought was the biggest and encourage you to suggest any we may have missed in the comments.
Vikings Run Over Raiders: Game Notesby wludford on September 23, 2019 at 4:39 pm
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports The Vikings picked up the 500th victory in franchise history by dominating the Oakland Raiders 34-14 in a game that was never in doubt. While there was a lot to like in this game, which was similar to the week one win over the Falcons, the Vikings dominating performance came against a pretty bad Raiders team at home. The Vikings were helped early on by some key Raiders’ penalties that allowed the Vikings to extend drives, and ultimately score touchdowns. But the Vikings defense was stout except for covering TE Darren Waller and a flea-flicker play, leaving the Raiders behind multiple scores from the beginning of the second quarter. If there is a theme emerging for the Vikings this season, it is a strong running game, solid defense, and winning the turnover battle as the keys to victory. They did that in their two victories, but lost the turnover battle at Green Bay, leading to their only loss so far. But in these three keys, the Vikings rank #2 in rushing yards, #4 in takeaways, and tied for 5th in points allowed. The only flaw was the 4 giveaways at Green Bay, which led to the only blemish on the win-loss record. The Vikings haven’t faced a real top defense so far, but will have their first test next week against the Bears, who are currently tied for 5th in fewest rushing yards allowed, with just 68.5 a game. The Vikings offense is averaging 193.7 yards a game. Here are some notes on the Raiders game. Dalvin Cook Widens his League Lead in Rushing Yards Dalvin Cook had 110 yards on 16 carries (6.9 yard average), along with 4 receptions for 33 yards, giving him a total of 143 of the Vikings 385 yards of total offense (37%). That brings Cook to a league-leading total of 375 rushing yards after 3 games (125/game). Cook widened his lead in that respect as Saquon Barkley (2nd behind Cook after 2 games), had only 10 rushing yards before leaving the game with a high ankle sprain. That leaves Christian McCaffrey as the new #2 behind Cook with 318 yards on the ground. Cook’s 6.6 yards per rushing attempt is also highest among rushers with at least 20 carries. Vikings Add Another Kubiak Staple to Repertoire The throwback pass to Adam Thielen for the Vikings first touchdown was, I believe, the first time we’ve seen that play from the Vikings this year. Here is a similar throwback play performed by Peyton Manning with Kubiak and the Broncos in 2015: The Vikings’ version of this play is more difficult to execute from a pass protection standpoint, as it is slow-developing, but the throwback concept goes against DB instincts in coverage as they expect a throw to the same side of the field. So, if pass protection can hold up, it often presents a pretty good opportunity for a shot down the field. We’ll have to wait and see how often the Vikings dial up this down the stretch, but it’s a good option for generating a chunk play. Passing Game Very Efficient Too While the Vikings running game behind Dalvin Cook is generating all the buzz, and deservedly so, it is helping the passing game become more efficient too. After three games, the Vikings offense is averaging 5.6 yards per rush attempt, and 7.6 yards per pass attempt, and 6.4 yards per play, which is tied for 4th best in league rankings. The Vikings averaged 6.5 yards per play against the Raiders, including 8.3 yards per pass play. Special Teams Perfection Hopefully this won’t be as noteworthy in the future, but the fact that the Vikings made every field goal and extra point attempt, including a 50-yard field goal, is definitely noteworthy as it hasn’t happened much. I’m not sure the last time Bailey went 6/6 between field goals and extra point attempts, but it certainly isn’t every game. Bravo. Hopefully this is a sign things are beginning to click in the kicking game. It was also noteworthy that Bailey also had all touchbacks in his kickoffs, while Britton Colquitt had a very respectable 47.5 yard net punting average. Pretty solid all around. Irv Smith Jr. Gets Involved It was nice to see Irv Smith get more involved in the Vikings pass offense, collecting 3 receptions on 3 targets for 60 yards - leading all receivers for the Vikings. Smith led all offensive players in PFF grade, narrowly edging out Dalvin Cook, based on his receiving and blocking against the Raiders. Smith’s development at TE is encouraging, as he looks like a wide receiver in terms of speed and athleticism, but is also learning to block better too. He is a real matchup problem for linebackers, and having a safety cover him is going to provide opportunities elsewhere for Diggs, Thielen, or Cook. Irv Smith is also proving to be the most complete, so far, of the top tight-ends in the 2019 draft class. Top picks T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant have struggled more in blocking assignments, while other picks like Jace Sternberger and Kahale Warring haven’t played due to injury. Given his development, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith get more reps in the future. PFF Grade Standouts Outside of Irv Smith Jr., Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins rounded out the top grades on offense. The offensive line in general graded higher than normal across the board for the most part, but to a large degree this reflects the level of competition. Only Pat Elflein and Garrett Bradbury allowed any QB pressures, and Cousins actually had a higher passer rating under pressure against the Raiders than when he wasn’t. Defensively, Everson Griffen led the way with the highest PFF grade, credited with a sack, 3 hurries and 3 stops. Trae Waynes, Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Harris rounded out the top 5 grades on defense. The Psychology of Kirk Cousins Kirk Cousins had a workmanlike game, 112.0 passer rating, no turnovers, 15/21 for 174 yards, 1 TD, no sacks. It wasn’t a performance for the ages by any means, but he got the job done and was pretty much mistake-free. Overall, it was a nice bounce-back following the poor decision and throw on first down in the red zone last week that sealed the fate for his team last week, so that was good. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on what appears to be a bit of a change in Cousins’ demeanor. During the week, Cousins had a couple interviews about the Packers game, including questions about the 4th quarter interception, which he was clearly down about, and made comments to the effect that if he didn’t improve, he wouldn’t be a starting QB anymore. And following the Raiders game, the tone and body language of Cousins in his post-game press conference seemed a little more like that following a loss, rather than a win. He talked about the team finding it’s identity, and what kind of a team it would be, and remarking that it would be a lot different than last year - essentially becoming a run-first rather than a pass-first offense. Perhaps the blown comeback attempt and interception, a long-standing criticism of Cousins’ career performance, and the implications of what a run-first offense means in terms of how the team views his skill-set, along with what that means for his future, and future contracts, began to set in. Whatever the case, Cousins doesn’t seem to be as upbeat, or confident, as he was a month ago, or a year ago, when the Vikings first signed him. Over the past few months, he’s been fairly open and self-aware about his .500 record as a QB, and other shortcomings, and perhaps he’s beginning to see his role differently. Perhaps before he saw himself as a top QB that lacked the supporting cast, a play-maker who can make the deep throws and put up big numbers. But now he sees his role more as a game-manager, who needs to do what’s asked of him, but most importantly not make mistakes. I can’t help but think he’s ego has taken a bit of a hit in the process. Of course this is all casual observation on my part, but nevertheless worth noting. Back at the beginning of August, I wrote about some perceived changes in Cousins’ demeanor, and perhaps what we’re seeing now is just an extension of those changes. It will be interesting to see how those changes play-out on the field this season. Cousins has a deserved reputation for pressing at times, particularly trailing in a game. That has led to some bad decisions and forced balls. Perhaps the changes in his outlook, if real, may help him improve in those situations - if he doesn’t feel the pressure of the game is on his shoulders and therefore doesn’t press as much in critical situations. And that would be a good thing. On the other hand, if he’s really just less confident, and not as happy with his role in the offense, that could be a bad thing. We’ll see. Injuries There is a lot to be said for the NFL season being something of a demolition derby, and the Vikings didn’t emerge unscathed despite a pretty good thrashing of the Raiders. Chad Beebe was taken off on a cart after not being able to put weight on one leg. That could be a variety of issues from a knee or ankle or potentially something else. We’ll have to wait and see what the injury was and the prognosis. Starting right guard Josh Kline also left the game, apparently with a concussion, as he is now in concussion protocol. Hopefully he’ll be back for next week’s game at Chicago, as he’ll be needed to face a tough Bears defensive front. Official Game Summary Here is the official game summary.
A TED Talk, Week 3by Ted Glover on September 23, 2019 at 4:20 pm
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports What to make of two convincing wins and one brutal loss Hi kids, so are we doing better this morning? We are three weeks in to the season, and it feels like there are some patterns developing for the Minnesota Vikings. For one, we the fans are about as skittish as a herd of buffalo with a pack of wolves nearby. It feels like we’re ready to bolt and stampede in about 100 different directions at the first sign of trouble. You could sort of feel it building ever since the final gun sounded at Lambeau last week, and had the Vikings laid an egg against Oak Vegas we would have all been in full blown panic mode. But that didn’t happen. For the second time in three games, the purple and gold played exceptional complementary football. Once again, the defense started off fast, which has been their main key to success so far. In week one they forced a three and out on Atlanta’s opening drive. Then the special teams blocked a punt and set the Vikings up for an early opportunity to score on a short field. On their second drive the Falcons went three and out again, the Vikings got the ball, and scored another touchdown. Against the Raiders, the Vikings gave up one first down in Oakland’s first two drives, and the offense got two touchdowns. In both wins, the Vikings had a 21-0 lead by the second quarter, and both games felt like they had been put out of reach. Minnesota’s defense has been good at creating turnovers in their two wins as well. Besides the blocked punt in week one, the defense produced three turnovers, and as a team Minnesota was +3. Against the Raiders, they had an early interception, and the team was +1. At Lambeau, the defense gave up three touchdowns on their first three drives, they were -2 in the turnover battle, and those two main factors prevented them from coming back to win the game, which they put themselves in position to do. On offense, some clear patterns are emerging for the Vikings and their recipe for success. It seems counter-intuitive in today’s quarterback-centric, pass happy NFL, where modern analytics dictate that the running back isn’t important. But I harken back to something I learned in the Army (heeeeeere we go)—if it’s stupid but it works, it’s not stupid. The most obvious one is that this offense runs through Dalvin Cook, first and foremost. The new zone blocking scheme installed by The Denver Mafia is paying big dividends early. At this time last year, the Vikings had 198 yards rushing, or 66 yards per game. By season’s end, they were 30th in the NFL in rushing, and it was one of the worst rushing seasons in franchise history. This year, they have 581 yards in three games, they are 2nd in the NFL as a team, and Dalvin Cook currently leads the league in rushing with 375 yards in the first three games. Even in last week’s loss, the Vikings stuck with the running game, and it paid off and got them jump started on a comeback after they went down 21-0. Cook is ‘The Guy’, and since John DiFilippo is currently presiding over the Gardner Minshew II Deb Ball Coming Out Party in Duval, the Vikings are not going to get away from running the ball this year. And that’s not a bad thing. So, where does this leave Kirk Cousins? I think the Vikings can win with him, certainly. But I think asking him to carry the team on his back regularly isn’t a recipe for success. I’m not saying this to bag on Cousins, either. He needed a confidence builder after last week’s three turnover game, and he bounced back with a pretty good game. It was a pedestrian stat line, for sure. 15/21 passing, 174 yards passing, and a touchdown isn’t going to put Kirk Cousins in the rarified air of what constitutes an elite quarterback...but he doesn’t need to be in this offense, either. That’s going to be a bitter pill for the ‘but we paid him $84 million guaranteed’ crowd to swallow, but go get a glass of water and wash it down. I don’t care if Cousins throws for 174 yards or 374 yards, as long as the Vikings win. Those of us who were Teddy supporters when he was here would have been perfectly fine with the stat line Cousins dropped yesterday as long as the Vikings won. He made some good throws when they were needed, kept the offense moving, and had a very efficient day. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, no matter what his take home pay is. Cousins also needs to minimize turnovers, which he has done in the two victories. It’s okay for Cousins to be a secondary or even tertiary weapon in this offense, as long as the running game can produce. But there is going to come a day when the running game isn’t producing and the Vikings will need Kirk Cousins to rise to the occasion. Can he, though? Because that is the one question that this season hangs on. He most certainly has the physical talent to do so, there is no question about that. If he can, the Vikings are going to be a very good football team. If he can’t, they are going to struggle to make the playoffs, like they did last year. He didn’t against Green Bay, and the House of Horrors that is Soldier Field awaits. A win there and a good game by Cousins really transforms his career narrative, at least for a little while, while a loss causes the herd to stampede towards the cliff. Thank you for listening to my TED talk.
Vikings vs Raiders - GMG In The Raw! - Ep 063by Luft Krigare on September 23, 2019 at 1:47 pm
Good Morning Gjallarhorn In The Raw!, a post-game reaction to the Vikings defeat of the Raiders. Vikings versus the Raiders… Good morning Horners! GMG is back with another “In The Raw!” immediate post-game reaction show. Dave is done with all his moves and ready to talk football with Ted and Drew after that wonderful and expected victory at US Bank Stadium yesterday. Your Minnesota Vikings played a very efficient game soundly defeating the Oakland Raiders 34-14 to now go 2-1. Sackles, sackles, sackles,… We love us some sackles. Sackles for the uninitiated is the when a Vikings player gets a sack [and Dave has been consuming adult beverages]. The team amassed 4 yesterday with Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter each getting one, along with Eric Wilson [in for and injured Anthony Barr] amassing 2. There were plenty of more pressures on Derek Carr which is the goal on this Sunday, but the sackles are the cherry on top, and we love cherries. Does Dalvin Cook look absolutely remarkable or what?! Cooker has to be one of the best, if not the best running backs in the league. Coach Rick Dennison has coordinated on heck of a running game and Cook is the main beneficiary, but he isn’t the only one as we have seen with Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone [in garbage time] reaping the benefits of gaudy yards per carry numbers. We should all find out next week in Chicago versus the Bears defense if this is for real. We all sure hope so. The O-line has been good at run blocking and making it happen, but next Sunday should be their toughest test yet. Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports Coach Rick Dennison has Dalvin Cook and the whole run game on fire. Great design and run blocking has led to awesome yards per carry averages and a ton of yards so far in the 2019 campaign. The defense started out on fire! The dragon may of not due to the No Fun League’s moratorium on pyrotechnics, but the D sure did. We love seeing an opening 3 and out. Harrison Smith got yet another interception and turnovers like that definitely give the team an advantage. Passing was efficient with Kirk Cousins making most of the throws he should have this week. It was great to see Irv Smith Jr get big chunk yard receptions. Even Kyle Rudolph got involved. The WR3, Chad Beebe, who affectionately is called “Faberge Egg” by Ted Glover was almost non existent and went out with an injury. Hmm… I wonder if Ted nailed his nickname? Overall, the passing was good. That Cousins to Adam Thielen pass was perfect for the score. One question though, should we as fans be concerned about the lack of throws to Stefon Diggs? You tell us. Enjoy your victory week! SKOL! Like, subscribe, and rate us on your favorite podcast aggregator. Then shout SKOL! As always, enjoy the watch and listen! BREAKING NEWS!!! The Daily Norseman and the Climbing The Pocket Network are joining forces to create a one-stop-shop for Vikings podcasts delivered to your eardrums daily. This collection of shows promises to deliver the top independent voices covering the Vikings from every angle. Subscribe below: Click here for iTunes Click here for Stitcher Click here for iHeartRADIO Click here for YouTube Click here for Google Play Music You can follow GMG hosts Dave at @Luft_Krigare and Ted at @purplebuckeye. Unfortunately, Drew is behind the power curve and doesn’t have a Twitter handle… yet.