Hey everyone! For the second straight week Ted is slacking on his Stock Market Report duties so he's leaving it in my very incapable hands. Consider this your apology in advance.
Whew! Well, that was...entertaining? Nerve-wracking? Exhilarating? Way too friggin' close for comfort? Simultaneously promising and concerning? I'm not really sure how to describe the Vikings' 30-24 overtime victory over the Jets. One thing's for sure: it definitely wasn't pretty.
But even the ugliest of wins is always better than the prettiest of losses. For the first time this season, the Vikings came out victorious in a game where they turned the ball over. The mistakes and missed opportunities were plentiful for the Vikings today, but so were the big plays and resilience. Mike Zimmer knows his team has to keep improving, but it's pretty obvious that this team is still playing their guts out for him down the stretch. After all, the mistakes you make during a win are my favorite mistakes. Ain't that right, Sheryl Crow?
Did you know when you go
It's the perfect ending
To the bad day I was just beginning
When you go all I know is
You're my favorite mistake
Your guest-hosted SMR follows. I hope I don't break it.
Blue Chip Stocks
Teddy Bridgewater: TED-DY! TED-DY! TED-DY! If Bridgewater's ho-hum performance against the Panthers won him Rookie of the Week, he should run away with it this week. (Although Derek Carr could probably make a pretty solid case this week too.) As Chris noted earlier today, it looks like Teddy is ready more and more with each passing week. The offensive line is still nowhere to be found in this section of the SMR so Bridgewater is constantly buying time with his legs while keeping his eyes downfield. He's making smart decisions. And oh yeah--to paraphrase Happy Gilmore, "Teddy learned how to throw the deep ball--uh oh!"
What a gorgeous strike to Charles Johnson. Speaking of which...
Charles Johnson: Wow. This guy is doing everything right. He's getting open. He's making big catches. He's running after the catch. He's making Vikings fans think about reworking their old #12 Percy Harvin jerseys with some masking tape and writing JOHNSON on the back. I mean, HE EVEN FUMBLES FOR TOUCHDOWNS.
He's obviously WR1 for the Vikings at this point, which is pretty nuts since he's been with the team for all of two months. After Teddy he might be the most important player in this offense right now.
Jarius Wright: I still wish the Vikings would include him more in the offense, but guess what? The Stock Market Report has a steadfast rule: if you score an 87-yard game-winning touchdown in overtime, you get to be a blue chipper! Let's watch that play over and over again in perpetuity:
Gerald Hodges: The Stock Market Report has another steadfast rule: if you score on a pick-six on the first play from scrimmage, you get to be a blue chipper! Hodges acquitted himself quite nicely starting in place of the injured Anthony Barr, making a few big stops after giving the Vikings a dream start to the game.
(And you know I made a gif of that one for you as well. Enjoy!)
Jeff Locke: Hey, I'm just as surprised to see him here as you are. But Locke actually did what he was supposed to do this week multiple times. He pinned the Jets deep a couple times and had a couple boomers to help flip the field. He even got to do a couple kickoffs today thanks to a certain offensive lineman's sheer incompetence.
Greg Jennings: The veteran had a solid game (5 grabs for 54 yards) including a great sideline catch that was upheld after review. Earlier in the season I was questioning his dedication and body language; now I'm hoping he's the first option on big third downs.
Harrison Smith: His stat line may not be the most impressive: 5 tackles, 3 assisted, and 1 sack. But Smith altered what the Jets wanted to do on offense at least a dozen times today. If he wasn't in the backfield making the play himself, he was stopping one of New York's unconventional running plays by redirecting the runner back into help. Smith was the glue that held together an otherwise inconsistent performance by Minnesota's secondary.
Matt Asiata: It's probably a little generous to put him here, but it's kind of calming to know exactly what you're getting with a player during a season with so much uncertainty and turmoil. With Asiata you can always depend on hard, non-flashy running with low-to-middling success. Asiata had total 22 touches for 64 yards, which is almost exactly 3 yards a pop. That's so perfectly Asiata.
Blair Walsh: Hey, I'm just as surprised to see him here as you are. But when you go 1 for 3 and
ruin my fantasy team's chances of making the playoffs blow the chance of putting this game away in regulation, you have to spend the week in the Junk Bonds section. I'm not overly concerned about Walsh or anything, but it's a bummer that he isn't completely automatic this season.
Cordarrelle Patterson: He was a complete non-factor in the offense again and sabotaged the start of the second half with a krumble (kickoff return fumble). At this point you have to believe that the biggest hindrance to Patterson's success is between his ears.
Vikings pass coverage: Not their best day after playing so well against Carolina last week. I think the scheme may be partially to blame here--it sure seemed like the Vikings were giving the Jets way too much cushion at the line of scrimmage. Either way they let Geno Smith throw for 254 freaking yards and made Percy Harvin & Eric Decker look like the second coming of Jerry Rice & John Taylor at times. The Jets were supposed to be one-dimensional but the secondary allowed the Jets to move the ball way too easily for much of the day.
Matt Kalil: I know this isn't usually a section of the Stock Market Report but I feel like putting Kalil in the Junk Bonds section is being too kind. He practically shoved Sheldon Richardson into Bridgewater for the first quarter safety and got a personal foul on a freaking extra point. He can't even commit a penalty correctly--Bridgewater was still sacked when Kalil was called for a holding. I want to say Matt Kalil is dead to me, but there obviously isn't any other option at left tackle until next season. So instead I'll just keep treating Kalil like we're parents that are getting divorced but aren't going to go through with it until the kids are out of the house. I'll loathe him with every fiber of my being and flash him looks of utter contempt every time I can just to let him know how much I can't wait until we're not together anymore.
Buy: The Vikings are fun to watch again. Sure, the game shouldn't have been as close as it was. The stakes weren't exactly high. But wasn't that game incredibly entertaining to watch? The first quarter alone had a month's worth of huge plays. The 2013 Vikings had plenty of thrills, but it turns out that actually winning close games late is much more entertaining than losing games in the last minute. Who knew?
Sell: The hands of Everson Griffen and Antone Exum. Each player had an opportunity to seal the game with a turnover delivered to them on a silver platter. Griffen had an easy interception dropping to him like a lazy fly ball and Exum had a muff punt lying there for the taking. Neither player could take advantage and both of the Jets' ensuing drives resulted in field goals. If overtime had gone the other way we'd be pointing to those plays and using only our most colorful swear words.
Buy: Norv Turner's play calling. It looks like we're finally at a point where Turner is finally comfortable enough with Bridgewater to start opening things up on a consistent basis (and vice versa). The Vikings took more shots downfield than usual this week and it obviously paid dividends. The personnel cupboard is still pretty bare when it comes to the current backfield and offensive line but the Vikings keep finding ways to move the ball just enough.
Sell: The offensive line outside of John Sullivan. No, seriously. Sell them like you need to get rid of them at a garage sale. The guys playing now either are backups or should be backups. Just don't get Teddy killed these last 3 games, OK?
Buy: My luck picking games this week. I'm 12-3 so far with only the inevitable Packers blowout over the Falcons to go! (Man I hope I just jinxed the Packers with that. And yes, if I'm going to fill in for Ted's weekly feature, I'm going to shamelessly plug my weekly feature. Deal with it.)
Sell: Josh Robinson's luck. Robinson had a couple thumping hits out there on Sunday, but all everyone will remember was the time he tackled Chris Owusu into a catch:
Come on. J-Rob just can't catch a break.
Gemma Thompson Quote Of The Week
Unfortunately I don't get to watch the games with Ted's dad, so I don't have any hilarious quips from the legendary Don Glover for you. But when Wright scampered 87 yards for the game winner and I went nuts, my 19-month-old daughter joined in on the celebration. She ran up to the TV and started cheering, not knowing exactly what she was cheering about but wanting to join in on the fun that Daddy was having. I picked her up high in the air, yelling "TOUCHDOWN!" Her response couldn't have been more perfect:
Tuhh-daaann indeed, little one. Tuhh-dann.