The Minnesota Vikings went to the Meadowlands Sunday to hand the New York Jets a 37-17 loss, and extend the win streak to three. The defense was stout, the offense got the job done and the Vikings are now where the team belongs. At the top of the NFC North.
Here’s this week’s three takeaways from the Jets’ game:
Latavius Murray deserves the starting role in the backfield
Dalvin Cook must earn his starting job back when he returns to 100 percent. Why plug him in right away when you have a trusted workhorse in Murray? Also, to me, Murray has earned the starting spot after his past couple of performances.
He’s made his presence known over the past two weeks. Murray managed to rush for 155 yards off 24 carries against the Arizona Cardinals. He also scored the first rushing touchdown of the season for Minnesota. The touchdown streak continued at MetLife Stadium where Murray scored two rushing touchdowns. He finished the game with 64 yards off 15 carries.
Cook has not participated in the last three games with a hamstring injury. When he was playing, he wasn’t very productive in the run game. In the three games he’s played in, he’s recorded 98 yards off 36 carries. However, Cook’s been productive in the passing game. He’s caught nine passes for 107 yards. Cook was only targeted two out of the three games. Cook could be a solid third down back until deemed worthy of the starting spot.
Defense still put the clamps on (even with injuries)
After a couple weeks of worry, and a couple weeks of promise, I think it’s fair to say Minnesota’s defense will be alright (for now). On Sunday, the defense played without Everson Griffen (again), Linval Joseph and Andrew Sendejo. Unfortunately, Xavier Rhodes went down with what head coach Mike Zimmer said was a sprained ankle after Sunday’s game.
But, the backups stepped up big and stepped into the shoes that needed to be filled. David Parry, Tom Johnson and Jaleel Johnson all were in rotation to fill Joseph’s absence. The Jets were only able to rush for 71 yards off 24 carries, or about three yards per carry.
Stephen Weatherly has been playing well in place of Griffen, he even had a nice pass break up. Holton Hill grabbed an interception after Xavier Rhodes went down with an ankle injury. Seeing all of these guys play their role is fun to watch. With a healthy roster, the defense will no doubt be full and complete.
Stephen Weatherly with great out-of-phase instincts, playing the hands of the intended receiver. pic.twitter.com/AvvHDZJiZg— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) October 21, 2018
Adam Thielen is currently the best wideout in the NFL
He’s first in the league for targets, receptions and catches. He’s caught 67 of 89 passes for 822 yards and five touchdowns. It's not like Thielen’s the only reliable receiver on the team neither, or Cousins’ only target. There are so many talented players on the offense who can catch the ball. Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and Aldrich Robinson just to name a few. Diggs is fourth in the league for receptions with 48, only 19 less catches than Thielen.
Thielen’s on pace for a career-high season. If he continues playing how he is, then he’ll be on track to at least a 1,900 yard season. He’s on the road to break Randy Moss’ single-season record for most receiving yards. Moss’ record came in 2003 when he had recorded 1,632 receiving yards off 111 catches.
The guy grew up idolizing, and mimicking the plays of Moss and Cris Carter, this was always a dream for his. He watched two of the greats play, and he wanted to be just like them, well he certainly is looking like them, especially when he’s being talked about in the same category as the two.