I love Mondays, but I love post-win Mondays even more. What a game, huh? NOBODY (except some of us) expected the Vikings to win yesterday. Not only did they win, but the defense absolutely dominated.
The Vikings showed, once again, that they are one of the top defenses in the NFL. The Panthers were the top scoring offense in the NFL last year, and averaged over 31 points per game. The Vikings allowed Carolina to score only 10 points yesterday......IN CAROLINA. I was a bit concerned after Carolina jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, and our offense was nearly non-existent. Then, the defense tightened up, scored a safety, and went into shut down mode. They sacked Newton 8 times on the day and pressured him constantly. A big contributing factor was great coverage by our secondary, which made Newton hold on to the ball longer than he wanted to. Newton finished the day with 201 yards passing, and some of that came toward the end when we'd backed the defense off into a form of prevent. It was impressive, to say the least. Honestly, I think we can beat any team in the NFL, injuries be damned.
I'm not sure what Norv and the staff did to adjust at halftime, but it worked. The offense in the first half was.......horrible, non-existent, anemic, all of the above. The O line didn't block well, Bradford and the passing game looked horrible (I actually made a McNabb comment at one point when Bradford threw another one into the ground), and the running game got virtually nowhere. I don't know what the coaches did in the locker room at halftime, but it was effective. The Vikings offense we saw in the second half was a polar opposite to the offense we saw in the first half. They moved the ball efficiently and effectively with both the run and pass, and gave the defense a much needed and deserved breather after forcing them to stay on the field for much of the first half. The offensive line figured out how to block, and gave Bradford time to throw and gave the running backs actual lanes to run through. They did all of this against a very solid Panthers defense in their own backyard.
What we did right:
Our defense is a top unit. I love watching good defensive football, and I honestly don't recall a Vikings defense this good in my lifetime (I wasn't alive to see the Purple People Eaters). I love Coach Zimmer and what he's done with this team. Our corners covered well, which gave the front time to pressure Cam, which caused sacks and interceptions. What you saw yesterday was a defensive unit dominating a football game.
Also, the second half offense looked very good. I honestly wasn't sure how much our guys could muster against that defense with all the injuries, but they looked very good in the second half. Rudolph was the biggest contributor in the passing game with 70 yards and a touchdown (Kyle and his wife are also expecting twin girls to arrive any time now), and Jerick McKinnon led the rushing attack with 45 yards on 16 carries. Adam Thielen made an absolutely beautiful catch on a third down throw in the 4th quarter.
The special teams units did a great job as well. Jeff Locke had another outstanding game. He punted 7 times, only two of them were returned for a combined total of zero yards. He averaged over 48 yards per punt and put them inside the 20 3 times. I've been critical of him in the past, but he's really looked good these past two games. Blair Walsh went two for two on field goal attempts. Also, Marcus Sherels returned a punt for a touchdown when we really needed it.
What we didn't do right:
The first half offense was a V-8 running on about 3 cylinders. Bradford was throwing the ball like McNabb, the running backs had no room to run, and the offensive line wasn't blocking at all. Seriously, I remember one play where the Panthers rushed 3 guys, and 2 of them got to the quarterback almost immediately......against five blockers. I'm shocked the defense was able to sustain their level of play with how tired they must have been. I'll give it to the coaching staff though, they adjusted something, and it worked. Charles Johnson was invisible again yesterday, except for that one throw he dropped that hit him right in the hands. When you have guys like Thielen playing their asses off and making one-handed diving catches, I really don't know how long you start Johnson over him. I'm also chomping at the bit to see Treadwell on the field.
Also, dammit Blair. He missed another extra point attempt. He did go 2 for 2 on field goals, but he's got to get this figured out, he's missed 2 XPAs in 3 games. The Vikings went for two on the next touchdown when it really didn't make sense to, other than that they maybe figured they'd have a better shot at making the two point conversion than they'd have with Blair and the XPA.
I honestly can't find anything to put in here about our defense. Sendejo was late on a couple of coverage assignments, but he even played a pretty okay game, for the most part. I didn't even yell at him yesterday.
Around the DN since our last open thread:
Arif posted Podcast 149: Previewing Panthers with Edgar Salmingo.
Chris told us that the Vikings officially placed Adrian Peterson on IR.
Former Vikiings LB, Napolean Harris, thwarted a robbery and helped get the garbage arrested.
Chris has the post-game wrap-up.
Eric looks at the curious case of the DJ stuck at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Ted posted the Stock Market Report for yesterday's game.
Wludford posted notes for the game.
Vikings news from the rest of the internet:
Here is Coach Zimmer's post-game speech to the team.
Here are the game highlights from yesterday's game.
Wobby and PA look between the lines at yesterday's game.
Coach Zimmer addressed the media after the game.
Sam Bradford also addressed the media yesterday after the game.
News from around the NFL:
Fivefingers told me that Carson Wentz would get destroyed by the Pittsburgh defense. Well, Wentz and the Eagles curb-stomped the Steelers and their potent defense 34-3. Wentz finished the evening with 301 yards, and a 75% completion rate. NEVER bet against a North Dakotan.
NFL.com has all the scores from week 3.
Russell Wilson suffered a sprained knee in the Seahawks' win over the 49ers yesterday, per NFL.com. No word yet on how much time he's expected to miss, if any.
The Twins bullpen got rocked on Friday (I know, I'm shocked) and the Twins were blown out by the Mariners, 10-1. The Twins mustered just three hits on Saturday (fortunately, two of them were home runs), but it was enough to eek out a victory against the Mariners, 3-2. Duffey had a really solid outing to make the three runs suffice. The Twins, already guaranteed the top pick in the next draft, reached the century mark in losses yesterday when they lost to the Mariners again. Yep, they reached number 100, and that's with 6 games still left to play. Final score was 3-4. I really think they're capable of losing 105 this year.
My thoughts & prayers are with the family of Jose Hernandez and the Marlins organization. Hernandez, along with two others, were killed yesterday morning when the boat they were in hit a jetty at full speed, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Atlanta Urinal Constipation). The game between the Marlins and Braves was cancelled yesterday because of the accident.
We come to today's media selection. Fire up the band, boys & girls. It's post-win Monday!