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Stock Market Report: Packers

The Vikings opened their new house in style

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

This team. It's never easy with this team, and tonight was no different. In what was the home opener and the coming out party for US Bank Stadium, the Vikings offense, already down Teddy Bridgewater for the season, lost Adrian Peterson in the third quarter with an injury that looked to be significant. Yet somehow, some way, the Minnesota Vikings might have found a winning formula in Stefon Diggs and...Sam Bradford?

Yeah, Sam Bradford. When the Vikings traded a first and a fourth round pick to Philadelphia for Bradford just over two weeks ago, it was either a bold move to keep a team with Super Bowl dreams at a high level, or a panic move that saw the Vikes massively overpay for a guy that people are close to labeling a bust.

But for one night anyway, Bradford might not have been what we wanted when the season began, but he's what this offense needed. Because like Mr. Jagger says, you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might get what you need.

I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was gonna meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need
And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, "We're gonna vent our frustration
If we don't we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse"
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find

Your undefeated SMR foll--crap, I just hurt my elbow and I'm questionable to return. I'll try to guy it out.

Blue Chip Stocks:

Sam Bradford, QB: Two of the craziest and unsettling weeks in Vikings history ended with a truly remarkable performance by the new Vikings quarterback. Bradford, who was under assault all night, calmly stood in the pocket and delivered precision pass after precision pass all night. When it was over, he went 22/31 for 286 yards and two touchdowns. For a guy that's had to completely immerse himself in the offense, it was, in a single word, remarkable. If he can get some protection (which we'll talk about, trust me) this offense can be flat out electric. Yeah, electric.

Stefon Diggs, WR: Why do I say electric? Because of Diggs. Bradford made some big throws, but yeah, Diggs made two remarkable catches. His 44 yard fingertip reception in the second quarter flipped field position, and was the key play that got the Vikings a field goal right before halftime. His touchdown reception was one of the prettiest TD grabs you'll see, and credit to Bradford, he put it in a spot that only Diggs could get to. It was somewhat reminiscent of the 1998 Randy Moss Coming Out Party against Green Bay on Monday Night Football in Green Bay. Those comparisons tend to happen when you catch 9 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive Line: The Vikings defensive line played a heck of a game the entire night. Already down a guy with Shariff Floyd out, the entire line--Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Shamar Stephen, Tom Johnson, and Linval Joseph--brought pressure to bear on the Packers offense all night long. And had it not been for about 32 or 33 defensive pass interference penalties on the Vikings secondary, the Vikings might have tossed a shutout, because the Packers offense looked out of sync most of the night. They also held the Packers on a big 4th and one, deep in the Vikings territory. And that turned out to be the difference in the game, as the Vikes won by three.

This defensive line depth was critical tonight, and it will be all season long. Rotating in fresh...and really good...defensive linemen the whole game helped when the Vikes offense was struggling in the second half, and the defense was on the field a lot. Without quality guys two deep at each position, that line gets worn down, and doesn't stop the Packers all night long. They simply don't.

Solid Investments:

Adam Thielen, WR: Another solid night for Thielen. He's becoming a sure handed WR3, and moved the chains all night. With Jarius Wright deactivated as a healthy scratch for the second straight week, it looks like Thielen is now the full time WR3 for the Vikings.

Kyle Rudolph, TE: Rudolph had another decent game, and is now the answer for the 'who scored the first touchdown for the Vikings in US Bank Stadium history' trivia question. That aside, he had three catches for 31 yards, and could have had more if the o-line had given Bradford another half second or so to set up and throw, as he was open a couple other times as well.

Junk Bonds:

The offensive line: Hey, do you guys remember when the Vikings hired Tony Sparano, and his specialty was offensive line overhauls? Or how about all the free agents the Vikings signed, as that would create competition on the o-line, and make everyone better? Yeah...not so much. Joe Berger and Alex Boone...who went to Ohio State...who boatraced Oklahoma on Saturday...seemed to do okay, but Brandon Fusco, Andre Smith, and Matt Kalil were flat out terrible. There was one sack Bradford took in the second half that saw Smith AND Kalil get blown up ON THE SAME PLAY, and Bradford was nearly murderdeathkilled by the Packers. They seemed overwhelmed at times, much like the French at Dien Bien Phu, and if they don't figure it out by next week, Bradford is going to get smoked.

Terence Newman, CB: It was kind of a Tale of Two Pass Interference Halves for the Vikings secondary. In the first half, your protagonist was Newman, who was flagged for a 40 yard pass interference penalty that set up Green Bay's first touchdown, and spotted them an early 7-0 lead. He was also called for a defensive holding on that same drive. In the fourth quarter he dropped a sure interception on the Vikings goal line, and two plays later Rodgers scrambled in from 10 yards out and got the Packers to within three points.


Buy: Trae Waynes game winning interception. For a guy that was the living definition of the Snowball Effect come to life, Waynes turned a largely forgettable night into an unforgettable night with one fantastic interception that clinched the game. The thing is, he started out strong, matching Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams step for step, and not giving Rodgers any windows to throw to early on. It was a strong beginning, with an exclamation point for a finish.

Sell: Trae Waynes pass interference calls. But man, the middle. Once Waynes had the first PI call on him, it just opened up the floodgates, and it got in his head. He went from an aggressive guy playing good man coverage, to a guy that had to be put in a zone to keep from killing his team. And he still almost did, giving up a LOLWUT catch to Jordy Nelson in the 4th quarter that set the Packers up for their second touchdown. It was brutal, but yeah, gotta tip my cap to him for hanging tough and making a play when he needed to make one.

Buy: Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asiata as replacements for Adrian Peterson. I'm conflicted here. Part of me thinks McKinnon and Asiata will be fine as AP's backup. In 2014, with Peterson out for all but one game, the Vikings, using McKinnon and Asiata, ran for 1,804 yards, good for 14th in the NFL. And in the short term, this might actually open up the running game, as defenses will no longer put eight and nine guys in the box on every play. So you could make an argument that at least in the short term, the offense could very well find more balance as a whole. We'll see.

Sell: The running game right this moment, regardless of who the feature back is. All of that said, no one is going to get anywhere if your opponent's defensive line is playing in the backfield right off the snap. That's happened for two weeks now, and if the Vikings offensive line doesn't get it figured out, the Vikings will end up with the worst running attack in the NFL when it's all said and done.

Buy: The 2-0 start. A 2-0 start is a huge deal in your path to the playoffs. Starting out 2-0 gives you a 58% chance to make the post season in the NFL, and a division win, especially one against the Packers, is a big deal. It was a great team victory, and with a tough schedule coming up before the bye, it was much needed.

Sell: The Vikings have already won the division. But yeah, this is far from over. The Vikes schedule the next three weeks is brutal--at Carolina, a suddenly good again Giants at home on Monday night, and then the Houston Texans, also at home. When you compare that to the Packers next four games, all at home by the way, against the Lions, Giants, Cowboys, and Bears--where these teams are right now compared to where they could be a month from now could be two very different scenarios. When you add to that the uncertainty surrounding Peterson, and yeah, things are far from decided.

Buy: Forcing four fumbles. The Minnesota Vikings defense is championship caliber. There, I said it. Because I think it's that good. They kept Aaron Rodgers in check all night, and forced four fumbles. It was, arguably, the best overall effort of this defense since Mike Zimmer got hired. The Packers never got their running game going, and had Green Bay not discovered the 'Jerome Simpson Pass Interference Special' part of the playbook, they wouldn't have driven the field all night long. And they are a ball hawking unit, forcing Green Bay to cough up the football four times on the ground.

Sell: Only recovering one of those fumbles. I get that luck is involved, to a certain extent, in being able to recover a fumble. A football just bounces weird sometimes, but man, the three fumbles Green Bay recovered should have belonged to the Vikings. On the first one, on Green Bay's first play from scrimmage, Davante Adams fumbled the ball after a short pickup, and it was scooped by Andrew Sendejo at the Green Bay 10, only to have Randall Cobb strip the ball from Sendejo. That could have been a HUGE momentum shift early. On the second one, on third and eight from their own 25, Danielle Hunter sacked Rodgers for a 12 yard loss and forced a fumble, only to see it recovered by Green Bay. Recover that, and once again they have the ball deep in Green Bay territory. The third one saw Green Bay driving, and Rodgers, as he has so many times before, slipped from the pocket under pressure and ran for a first down, only to have the ball knocked loose by Everson Griffen. It looked like Captain Munnerlyn had it, until Jared Cook recovered it. The drive ended with the Vikings stopping Green Bay on 4th and one, but still, those were three huge potential momentum shifting plays.

Don Glover Quote Of The Week:

So my Dad's health isn't all that great, and for games that will be on local TV here, I go over to his place and watch there. If it's a Sunday or Monday night game, I'll watch the first half over there, then he'll go to bed at halftime and I'll come home and watch the rest of the game. So I got there a little after 6:00, and he has the door propped open for me. I walk in, wave and say 'hi Dad'. I'm thinking I'll get a hello back, maybe a 'what have you been up to' but no. Not tonight. You see, my friends, it's Packer Week, and my Dad's sports hate game is still at an elite level.

Me: 'Hey dad. Ready for the game?'

Dad: 'I don't like that McCarthy, son. He's one smug sonofabitch.'

I was literally laughing out loud before I sat down at my Dad's. It was a fun night.

So the Vikes are 2-0, but not without issues. Sam Bradford was a godsend, and Stefon Diggs is now a household name. Still, they have issues on the offensive line, and now Adrian Peterson is going to be out for an as yet to be determined amount of time. Still, with a defense like this, anything is possibe.

We'll see you on the flip side, kids.