Football is stupid and doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.
Case in point: Just four days after going out against a Buffalo Bills’ team that was (at the time) considered by many to be the NFL’s worst and putting up 6 whole points on their home field, the Minnesota Vikings had the tall task of flying out to the West Coast on a short week and taking on what might be the best team in the National Football League in the Los Angeles Rams. They scored 31 points, and were in the game until their very last possession as the offense was pretty hot for most of the evening.
Case #2: Last season, the Minnesota Vikings were regarded as one of the best defenses in the National Football League. The led the NFL in both yardage allowed and points allowed. This season, they returned 10 of the 11 starters from that defense, and replaced the one that left with a former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Through four games this season, the Vikings have allowed 27.5 points/game, one of the worst marks in the NFL, and at times appear as though nobody on that side of the ball has actually played football before. Yes, I know that the Everson Griffen situation is a huge loss, but there’s still enough talent on that side of the ball where it shouldn’t be nearly this bad.
Yes, at least in 2018, football certainly is stupid. Isn’t that right, Mr. Yankovic?
Talk with your mouth full
Bite the hand that feeds you
Bite off more than you chew
What can you do
Dare to be stupid
Take some wooden nickles
Look for Mr. Goodbar
Get your mojo working now
I’ll show you how
You can dare to be stupid
You can turn the other cheek
You can just give up the ship
You can eat a bunch of sushi and forget to leave a tip
Dare to be stupid
Come on and dare to be stupid
It’s so easy to do
Dare to be stupid
We’re all waiting for you
Your Stock Market Report, which is hopefully not quite as stupid as football, follows.
Blue Chip Stocks
Kirk Cousins, QB - Yeah, yeah, you can be pissed off about the fumble at the end of the game. I get that. The primary reason that the Minnesota Vikings were even in a position to have an opportunity at the end of that game was at #8. Cousins was, as the kids might say, “dealing” on Thursday night, folks. He completed 36-of-50 passes for 422 yards and three scores, and did this with pretty much no running game to speak of. . .Cousins led the team in rushing as well with 28 yards, most of which came on one 19-yard scramble in the fourth quarter. The Vikings’ three running backs that carried the ball (Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray, and Roc Thomas) combined for 26 yards on 13 carries, a cool two yards per touch.
Cousins was also under duress all night, as for the second week in a row he was pressured on more than half of his dropbacks according to PFF. Despite that, he was accurate, and he was pushing the ball down the field when he was given the opportunity to do so (or created that opportunity himself). If you’re still in the camp that thinks that giving Cousins the big money to be this team’s quarterback was the wrong decision, then man. . .I don’t know what to tell you.
Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, the best WR duo in football - You can make the case for several other wide receiver pairs, but I’ll take Diggs and Thielen over just about everybody. On Thursday night, they did what receivers of their caliber should do against an undermanned secondary, which is get open a lot. Both men went over 100 yards, with Thielen wound up leading the way with 135 yards and a score on eight grabs, while Diggs led the team in receptions with 11 and wound up with 123 yards. Both of those guys made some outstanding catches, too. I’m sure that having those two guys to throw to was part of the appeal for Cousins in coming to Minnesota, and they’re going to be pretty damn solid for a long time.
Kevin McDermott, long snapper - Lose a body part (or part of a body part), get a Blue Chip.
Aldrick Robinson, WR/touchdown machine - ALL ALDRICK ROBINSON DOES IS CATCH TOUCHDOWNS! No, really, that’s all he did on Thursday night: two catches, 33 yards, two touchdowns. You get two touchdowns, you get to be in the SMR.*
** - Rule may not necessarily apply when Ted takes back over next week.
Danielle Hunter, DE/all that is man - The only guy on the defensive side of the ball that didn’t look like a complete dumpster fire for the entire night on Thursday, Hunter actually did a pretty good job against Andrew Whitworth for most of the night. Oh, and then there was this:
Ok, so he doesn't make the tackle, but Danielle Hunter just ran down Todd Gurley!! pic.twitter.com/IZcKYON12Q— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) September 28, 2018
Oh, no big deal, you know. . .just a 275-pound defensive end chasing down the best running back in the National Football League in the open field.
Dan Bailey, K - Five kicks for Bailey, five footballs fluttering through the uprights. Well, one of them off of the upright and through, but still.
Pretty much every other player on the defensive side of the football - I don’t understand the drop-off on defense from this team. It’s mind-boggling. This is the same scheme that the Vikings have run the entire time that Mike Zimmer has been the head coach, and it’s not like this defense is filled with a bunch of old guys that have just dropped off physically. They have a bunch of players in their prime that have played at a high level for multiple seasons in a row, and all of a sudden they can’t stop a nosebleed. If the players are the same and the scheme is the same, then I guess some of it has to come back to. . .
Mike Zimmer and George Edwards, de facto defensive coordinator and actual defensive coordinator - On Friday, Zimmer said that he might be “overcoaching” his guys on defense. I’m not sure if that’s what the problem is or what, but I do know that the Vikings’ coaching staff got whooped by Sean McVay and company on Thursday. That’s why we saw Anthony Barr trying to run in coverage with Cooper Kupp 40 yards down the field. Of course Barr, who I was tough on last week in this space, isn’t going to make that play. He shouldn’t be in that position to begin with. Those two guys better figure out what’s going on, and quickly. There is too much talent on the defensive side of the football on this roster for them to be this awful.
Everybody on the offensive line, again - According to PFF, all five starting offensive linemen for the Vikings allowed at least four pressures and either a sack or a hit on Cousins. But they made up for that by not getting any push in the run game, either. And they won’t be getting a break next week.
Buy: The Vikings miss Everson Griffen terribly - Not only is Griffen one hell of a defensive end, but he’s the emotional leader of this defense both on the field and in the locker room. I’m not sure how much of a role that’s playing on this team, as they’ve been completely out to lunch these past two games, but I don’t think it’s a non-factor, either. Zimmer has already said that Griffen won’t be re-joining the team in time for the Philadelphia game, so they better find some inspiration in a hurry.
Sell: Bringing back Brian Robison will cure things - Look, I loved Brian Robison and think he was a great Viking, too. But he was already starting to see a decline in his snaps, and the team thought that his on-field performance was replaceable. Griffen is a huge part of both the on-field and off-field parts of this team, whereas Robison likely would not be. Plus, I’m not sure how the Vikings get him under the cap, quite honestly.
Buy: The offensive line is what’s going to kill this team again - This is what everyone was afraid of this offseason, and it appears that the fears were justified. Though Mike Hughes is pretty talented. . .and not a bad addition, given that apparently now the Vikings can’t cover anyone, either. . .the Vikings probably should have addressed the offensive line in the draft earlier than they did.
Sell: The fix is currently on the roster - That said, there’s only so much this team can do given their current configuration. I mean, I guess I don’t see the downside of playing Brian O’Neill (if Rashod Hill continues to be terrible) or Danny Isidora (if Tom Compton continues to be terrible) or Brett Jones. I still think that Mike Remmers should be playing right tackle in the first place and that moving him was a mistake. I don’t know what this team plans to do, but what I do know is that the current configuration isn’t getting it done, and the options to fix it at the present time are pretty scarce.
Buy: The season isn’t over yet - The Vikings have another tough game coming next week, but if you believe that this team has the talent to turn things around, then there’s no point in giving up hope yet. After all, this team didn’t go 13-3 last year by accident, and the schedule is a lot more favorable after the opening stretch.
Sell: The time to make changes is getting shorter - If this team is going to start making changes and getting their fecal matter collected into one group, they need to start doing it now. They’ve got a mini-bye here with the Thursday night game behind them, and they need to start figuring out what they need to do to get this team back to where they have the talent to be.
There you have it, folks. Ted will be back with the SMR next week now that he’s not galavanting all over the Southern Hemisphere and stuff.