Yeah, but it was the Giants.
Yeah, but they still haven’t beaten a good team.
Yeah, but Kirk Cousins almost NEVER beats a good team.
Yeah, but 38-7.
And when the Vikings seemed to get past their own locker room discord created by Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, some bulletin board material from another locker room popped up. It seemed to reinforce some Kirk Cousins doubters, and it came in the form of Eagles LB and former teammate Zach Brown. Earlier in the week, Brown said:
Cousins, I think every defense is going to want that guy to throw the ball. For me, that’s probably the weakest part of their offense is him. Everything else is good. They’ve got a good running game, probably one of the best in the league. They’ve got real good receivers. You just want them to pass the ball. You want Kirk Cousins to get it in his hands.
Well, when someone questions your ability and who you are, essentially, you can do one of two things. You can let it eat at you, affect you, and ultimately reinforce everyone’s negative opinion about you, Or you can come out with both guns blazing and Let It Go. Can’t you, uh...Zac Brown?!?!
Looking back now on my life, I can’t say I regret it
And all the places that I ended up, not the way Ma would have had it
But you only get one chance at life to leave your mark upon it
And when a pony comes riding by, you better set your sweet ass on it
You keep your heart above your head and your eyes wide open
So this world can’t find a way to leave you cold
And know you’re not the only ship out on the ocean
Save your strength for things that you can change
Forgive the ones you can’t
You’ve got to let them go
The SMR that neither forgives or forgets follows.
Blue Chip Stocks
Eric Kendricks, LB: Through six games, I’m honestly having a hard time remembering a better season by a Vikings linebacker in quite awhile. In the first half he had a tackle for loss on Philadelphia’s first drive, a pass breakup in the second quarter that helped end a drive, a third down pass break up that forced the Eagles to go for it on fourth down and not convert. In the second half he sniffed out a screen that ended a drive and forced the Eagles to kick a field goal, had a HUGE sack in the fourth quarter that ended a drive, and forced a fumble with a little over six minutes left that pretty much iced the game. It was one of the more remarkable single game defensive performances I can remember since I started doing this column almost 10 years ago.
Stefon Diggs, WR: I don’t know if you are on Twitter and follow me, but if you do, a profound thanks. I generally vent about all things Vikings there, and quite frankly I’ve about had it with this ‘Diggs wants to be traded’ stuff. So, when he had his big day (7 for 167 and 3 TD’s), I started venting. And I’m not sorry:
ADAM FROM APPLE VALLEY DIGGSY'S TRADE VALUE WON'T BE HIGHER THAN IT IS NOW LET'S SEE IF SPIELMAN CAN SWING A TRADE DURING HALFTIME THANKS I'LL HANG UP AND LISTEN— Ted or Treat Glover (@purplebuckeye) October 13, 2019
HE IS SO UNHAPPY YOU CAN TELL HE WANTS OUT pic.twitter.com/ms3qzzDpfc— Ted or Treat Glover (@purplebuckeye) October 13, 2019
Seriously, can we just shut the hell up about this for now? It’s as overdone as Old Town Road.
Kirk Cousins, QB: Last week in this space, I said there wasn’t anyone in the NFL who needed a good game more than Kirk Cousins with regards to the Giants game. He did, but before the dust settled the narrative changed to ‘well, Kirk still sucks against good teams so let’s see how he does with the Eagles coming in to town’. In defense of the People Who Don’t Like Nice Things Ever Because Happiness Is Impossible Because Living In The Moment Is For Losers, it was a fair criticism. Cousins has historically struggled against good teams and the Vikings, as a franchise, always seem to be waiting for the next shoe to drop. Today, though, the only thing that dropped were Kirk Cousins dimes from the Nordic heavens, as he carved up the Eagles for 333 yards and four touchdowns.
Adam Thielen, WR: Thielen had a relatively quiet day compared to The Man That People Think Will Be Traded But Really Won’t. He had a huge catch on Minnesota’s initial drive for a first down on a really nice throw by Cousins, and he capped the drive off with a beautiful double move to field a catch in the corner of the end zone.
Danielle Hunter, DE: Hunter didn’t have a lot of ‘traditional’ stats, registering only one sack, but it was a pretty impressive career milestone that I feel deserves recognition:
Last week, #Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter tied the #NFL record for most quarterback sacks for a player before the age of 25. On Sunday, he took the record all for himself. #Skol https://t.co/LqFAfQj93d— The Daily Norseman, a Minnesota Vikings blog (@DailyNorseman) October 13, 2019
Alexander Mattison, RB: For the first time in his young career, Mattison was the Vikings leading rusher for the Vikings. On the day, he had 63 yards on 14 carries, and got yards when the Vikings bellcow, Dalvin Cook, was having a hard time moving the ball on the ground.
Trae Waynes, CB: Waynes got beat a couple times for a first down, but he shut down anything deep Philadelphia tried to do today. It felt like Carson Wentz was looking his way all afternoon and part of Philly’s game plan was to pick on him, but Waynes stood up to the onslaught really well, for the most part.
No one. So, there were some players that had some bad individual plays, but not over the course of the whole game. Xavier Rhodes comes to mind once or twice, Pat Elflein had a bad whiff that led to a sack, and Mattison had a fumble late, for example. Overall, though, I don’t think there was anyone that stood out so poorly the deserved a junk bond. If you disagree, let me know.
Buy: Something snapped in the Vikings after the Bears game. After the Chicago shitshow, it felt like the Vikings were one bad game or locker room outburst from spiraling out of control. But, something different happened. I don’t know what it was—a locker room speech, the Diggs and Thielen comments, or something else, but whatever it was worked, and the Vikings have gone on a a little bit of a tear, kicking the hell out of two NFC East teams in a row.
Sell: It’s going to last. As much as I would love to see it happen, the chances the Vikings go 14-2 are remote. So when the next loss does come, I will really be looking at how the Vikings react, and how they rebound the following game.
Buy: Anthony Barr fumble recovery. After the Vikings had gone up 38-20, there was still enough time left for the Eagles to rally, and they had proved earlier in the game that they could, in fact, do just that. But when it looked like the Eagles were driving, Eric Kendricks stripped the ball from Zach Ertz at the Vikings 28, Barr scooped it up, and essentially put the dagger in Philly’s comeback hopes.
Sell: Anthony Barr pass coverage. Of course, Barr helped breathe life into their comeback. Down 24-10 Barr let Miles Sanders get behind him for a 45 yard gain, and that got the ball down to Vikings 4. Two plays later the Eagles were in the end zone, it was 24-17, and sphincters throughout the Upper Midwest tightened.
Buy: 88 yard drive to ice the game. So here’s the situation. It was 31-20, and even though the Vikings defense had stopped the Eagles a couple times, and the Vikes had added a second half TD, it still felt like Philly wasn’t out of it. After a big sack by Kendricks and Mac Alexander stopped the Eagles around midfield, Philly punted and took over at the 12. The Vikings went on an epic 8 play, 88 yard drive that took almost five minutes of game clock, capped by a Dalvin Cook one yard run to make the score 38-20, and it put the game out of reach. It was a killer instinct that has been lacking from this team for the better part of two seasons, and it was really nice to see.
Sell: Closing the Eagles out at 24-3. As awesome as that drive was, it didn’t come until after the Eagles had closed the score from 24-3 to 24-20. The offense started out en fuego, but, not unexpectedly, cooled off a bit. And just when they cooled off a bit, the Vikes defense went into a bit of a hibernation. Broken coverages, missed tackles, and a lack of pressure allowed the Eagles to rally, and before you could lean over and tell a bad Ole and Lena Joke, it was 24-20 with over 20 minutes of game time left. Both the offense and defense snapped out of it, but it was still a concerning lapse on both sides of the ball, and something the Vikings can’t do week in and week out.
Grandson Quote Of The Week
So my grandson Gabriel was here for a decent part of the game, and we were watching some fairly early first quarter action. The Vikes were on defense, and Eric Kendricks almost made a really nice interception off a deflection on a third down play, and it forced the Eagles to punt. Gabriel got FIRED UP and jumped out of his seat:
Gabe: PAPA! The Vikings made-ed the stop and the 5 and 4 guy almost caught that!
He did, buddy, he sure did.
So, after a 2-2 start the Vikings now stand at 4-2, and a decent shot to be 6-2 at the break. What a difference two weeks make, and hopefully the Vikings can keep the good times rolling into Detroit next week.