Merry post-win Monday, everyone!
Now THAT is a great way to win the division. The Vikings handled the visiting Bengals from start to finish yesterday, and the final score probably doesn’t even accurately describe how lopsided it was. The Vikings dominated both sides of the ball throughout the game. They received the ball on the opening possession, and despite a big loss on the first play from scrimmage, they followed that play with a nifty little RB pass to Murray for 28 yards, then drove down the field and scored on a Latavius Murray TD. The team never looked back, after exchanging punts, the Vikes defense scored the next TD when Eric Kendricks returned an interception for a TD, making it 14-0, and it was pretty much over at that point.
The defense, as we’ve gotten used to seeing, imposed their will on the opposing offense. They kept the offense off-balanced, played smart football, and did not give them a chance to get back in the game. They held Dalton to 113 yards and a 50% completion percentage, along with 2 interceptions and no TDs, and they pressured him throughout the game and sacked him 3 times.
Keenum played a heck of a game, despite the pressure from the Bengals defense. The offensive line performed well protecting Keenum, and the QB finished 20-23 for 236 yards and 2 TDs. I had hoped to see our running game break out against a defense that has struggled against the run, and even though they broke a couple nice gains, they failed to establish the dominance we’d hoped to see from them. Maybe it was because the Bengals adjusted the D to force the team to beat them in another way, it’ll be interesting to see the coach’s film on this one. It seemed that there were seams at the line, so maybe the D kept extra bodies up front for run protection. That would explain the Vikings’ success getting yards and YAC in the intermediate and short passing game, and why Jerick McKinnon led the team in receiving with 114 yards on 7 receptions. Other than the lack of a dominant rushing attack, I found very little to be concerned about from yesterday.
It was awesome to see Teddy get back under center, and even though an unfortunate INT resulted, I think it was wise to get him some reps to work out some rust and get that emotion out of everyone’s system when a mistake doesn’t hurt much. You could see the entire team rally behind him, including Case Keenum. This team is a very close-knit group, and you can see that they have built something special here. This is the time, this is the year, there is every reason for optimism if you’re a Vikings fan.
The Minnesota Vikings are 11-3, and have brought the NFC North Championship back to where it belongs. Enjoy the win, everyone. The team has a big game coming up on Sunday, and even though it may not mean a ton to play against a team that won’t make the playoffs (which is really surprising for the team with the NFL’s most complete roster), they’re still our bitter rival, and you KNOW the Vikings want to win in Green Bay. It would be an exclamation point after “NFC North Champions” on the banner, I hope to see it there.
News from around the DN since our last open thread:
Chris has the latest update on the playoff situation.
Wludford highlights the statement “Winning a division championship is not our final goal” in yesterday’s synopsis.
Get the best buy-sell advice that non-existent DN money can buy with Ted’s Stock Market Report: Bengals.
Chris has your post-game wrap-up.
The Vikings shuffled the roster a bit on Friday.
A familiar face made an unexpected appearance in the locker room, per Chris. Might there be more to the story?
Vikings news from other sources:
ESPN has stats and highlights from yesterday’s game. (caution, it has one of those auto-play videos on it that I truly abhor)
Over at Vikings.com, catch Coach Zimmer’s post-game locker room speech, and see his press conference where he says the team is not satisfied with just a division crown, get Teddy’s reaction to seeing some game action, catch a full highlight reel from yesterday’s game, and sift through more interviews and clips in the media vault.
News from around the rest of the NFL:
From ESPN, Panthers owner, Jerry Richardson, has announced that he’ll be selling the team after the season. A recent SI article stated that Jerry Richardson has been accused of inappropriate behavior, and that the organization has settled with at least four former employees.
Catch up on all the week 14 NFL scores and highlights, from FoxSports.
From FoxSports, the Jaguars have clinched a playoff berth for their first post-season trip in a decade. Good for them, glad to see them finally get something good going down there.
We come to today’s media selection.
I played this as I drove around the parking lot with my windows down at Lowes after the game. My favorite DN tradition, as we play this the day after every win. Fire up the band!
Again, we all know the rules, but in case someone is new:
-No discussion of politics or religion
-No feeding of the trolls
-This isn't a male version of The View, so 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 tiger meat.