Hey, kids! Yours truly has the Stock Market Report for the next couple of weeks, because Ted is blessing the rains down in Africa or something or other on vacation. I’m assuming that nobody has told Ted that Africa has snakes, because if they had I’d think that the midwestern United States would be just about as close as Ted would get to the place.
But, even though I’m making jokes at Ted’s expense, at least he had the good sense not to sit down and subject himself to the absolute hot mess of a garbage pile of a dumpster fire of a complete freaking disaster that the rest of us subjected ourselves to on Sunday afternoon. How bad was it for the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills? Well, we have this little number from Chase Stuart from the outstanding Football Perspective website:
Since 1978, there have been 67 games where a team was favored by more than 14 points, and a team won by more than 14 points. Today was the 67th such game, but it was the first where the winning team was the underdog. That’s right: Buffalo pulled the massive upset, winning 27-6 (and leading 27-0 for over 30 minutes until a late Vikings touchdown).
Yeah, it was that bad. The Vikings’ afternoon was a disaster right from the start, and it only got worse from there. They were a three-score favorite, and the competitive portion of the game was effectively over by the midway point of the second quarter. All in all, for fans of the purple, it was a pretty bad day.
Isn’t that right, Mr. Powter?
Cause you had a bad day
You’re taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don’t know
You tell me don’t lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don’t lie
You’re coming back down and you really don’t mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day
The Stock Market Report for the Minnesota Vikings’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day follows.
Blue Chip Stocks
Dan Bailey, K - Pretty much the only guy in a Minnesota Vikings’ uniform that wasn’t a complete and total screw-up for most of the day on Sunday. Kudos to you, sir.
Stephen Weatherly, DE - I don’t want to completely crap on everyone. . .though there will be plenty of that in the next category. . .so I will say that Weatherly had a solid first NFL start with Everson Griffen sitting this one out. He tied for the team lead in tackles and had a sack, and I didn’t see a lot of egregiously awful stuff from him. So, for a young guy making his first start, I’ll give him a little bit of credit.
The entire offensive line, and especially Riley Reiff - The Vikings’ offense managed to generate just about nothing in the first half of play. A lot of that had to do with the fact that Kirk Cousins was under siege. On each of the Vikings’ first two drives, Cousins fumbled on third down plays. On both of those plays, he was hit from behind. Is some of that on Cousins? Sure it is. But that was the start of a pattern we saw all day.
Reiff’s play was particularly egregious, given that he’s the highest-paid member and the de facto leader of the offensive line. Jerry Hughes ate Reiff’s lunch all afternoon on Sunday. Not only did Hughes eat Reiff’s lunch, he followed Reiff home, and when Reiff went to the refrigerator to get himself a snack, Hughes ate that, too. I know that Reiff isn’t considered an elite tackle or anything, but man alive he’s gotta be better than he was on Sunday.
The rest of the offensive line was relatively awful on Sunday, too. Now, on a short week, they have to prepare to take a trip to the West Coast to face what might be the best front four in the NFL. What’s the worst that could happen?
Anthony Barr, LB - I know that Eric touched on this briefly in his preview leading up to this week’s game, but I want to ask this:
Exactly what has Anthony Barr done since the hit that knocked out Aaron Rodgers last October?
Here’s a summary of Barr’s first half:
Anthony Barr's first half saw him:— Cian (@Cianaf) September 23, 2018
Beaten to the edge by Allen for a TD.
Beaten by Ivory in space for seven yards + facemask penalty.
Hurdled by Allen.
Trapped by play fake on Ivory 55-yard reception.
Horscollar tackle that turned a Third-and-16 into First-and-Goal.
Honestly, this is a guy that sat out a little bit of Organized Team Activities earlier this year because he saw lots of people getting new contracts and not him. He’s a guy that’s playing for his next contract, whether it’s in Minnesota or somewhere else. If he keeps playing the way he has been so far, frankly whoever wants him can have him. I don’t know if it’s rooted in injury or disinterest or unhappiness with his contract or what it is, but he damn sure doesn’t look like a guy that Rick Spielman and company should be preparing to back up the proverbial armored truck for.
I’ll grant you, just about every guy on the Vikings’ defense on Sunday had a bad game. I’m not sure if any of them had a worse game than Barr, and in Barr’s case it’s becoming more of a pattern.
I could greatly expand on the Junk Bonds section, but we’d be here all night, so let’s move on.
Buy: John DeFilippo let this game get away from him - To say that the Minnesota Vikings’ play calling was unbalanced on Sunday would be the ultimate understatement. In 65 offensive plays on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings had six rushes. Two of those runs came from Kirk Cousins on scrambles, which means that the Vikings called four designed runs on Sunday afternoon against the Bills.
Four. As in, like, one per quarter. Mike Boone and Latavius Murray had two carries each. That was it.
I know that Dalvin Cook sat this one out, but seriously. . .there needs to be some sort of balance there, even when the game gets out of hand early.
Sell: John DeFilippo isn’t a great offensive coordinator - That having been said, I do think that DeFilippo is a good offensive coordinator overall. He’s shown a lot of things to be excited about over the first few weeks of the season, and I think that a game like this is going to prove to be the exception rather than the rule for him going forward. Besides, he didn’t make Kirk Cousins cough up those fumbles and put the offense in a terrible position early. Much like Bob Schnelker, that was not John DeFilippo’s fault.
Buy: The Minnesota Vikings have a lot of talented defensive players - It’s hard to deny that the Vikings have numerous talented players on the defensive side of the football. Guys like Danielle Hunter and Linval Joseph and Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes are all among the best in the NFL at their positions. There are as many talented players on the Minnesota Vikings’ defense as there are on any other defense in the National Football League.
Sell: The Minnesota Vikings are one of the best defenses in the National Football League - Having said that, something has happened to this team and they’re not even close to anything resembling a “great” defense. Not anymore. They fell apart in the second half against New Orleans, they fell apart against Philadelphia, they weren’t great against San Francisco, they weren’t great against Green Bay, and they damn sure weren’t great today against Buffalo. They still have the reputation of being a great defense, certainly, but as of right now they’re coasting on that reputation a bit.
Buy: Mike Hughes has all the skills to be a great return man - We’ve seen all the highlights, and we know that part of the reason the Vikings liked him coming out of college was because of his potential ability as a return specialist.
Sell: Mike Hughes needs to bring every kickoff out of the end zone - Having said that, Mike Hughes is not Percy Harvin or Cordarrelle Patterson. Yes, I know the Vikings were looking for a spark today. However, on the three returns that Hughes brought out of the end zone on Sunday, he failed to reach the 25 on any of them, and on two of the three the Vikings were penalized, pushing them back to inside their own 10-yard line. Sometimes it’s okay to just take the ball at the 25-yard line. Somebody needs to tell him that.
Buy: This is one of the most embarrassing losses in recent regular season history - All of the indications were that the Vikings should have won this game in a big way. The Bills got throttled in their season opener and didn’t look great in Week 2, either. The Vikings were at home, they looked to be the better and more talented team on paper, and they were looking to bounce back after their tie against the Green Bay Packers in Week 2. But, that didn’t happen.
Sell: The 2018 season is over - That said, this is Week 3. Yes, the Vikings have two very difficult road games coming up. Yes, it’s very possible that this team could be 1-3-1 after those two games. But this team does have talent, and although this is humiliating and not at all what we were expecting, there’s still a lot of football to be played. The Vikings have to make some adjustments and get some things straightened out, but it’s only September. At least, that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.
I’d give you a Grandson Quote of the Week, but. . .well, I don’t have kids. Therefore, I have no grandkids. Therefore, I have no such thing along those lines to offer you.
That’s this week’s SMR, folks. I’ll be back with this next week as well with Ted still being on vacation.