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Stock Market Report: Lions

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LOL holy crap that was fun

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Dagger

So we’ve talked about the Vikings first four games, where they were 2-2 and kind of foundering. We then discussed the next two wins, 28-10 and 38-20 victories, respectively, and there was a lot to like in those two games. And through it all we were wondering just what kind of team the Vikings have. After today, I’ve decided that it really doesn’t matter what people are going to say. People who like the Vikings will think they have turned a corner, and people who don’t like them will say they still haven’t beaten anyone, and they will continue to move the goalposts until they feel they can win their argument.

As for me, I’m going to enjoy this win for what it was—a tough road win against a division opponent in a league where wins are hard to come by. I’m going to worry about the Redskins tomorrow, and the rest of the schedule as it comes. But for now..Right Now, I’m just going to enjoy this game. Aren’t we, Mr. Van Hagar?

Right now, hey

It’s your tomorrow

Right now, c’mon, it’s everything

Right now, Catch that magic moment, do it

Right here and now

It means everything

The SMR that is still alive to win the division follows.

He’s So Good It’s like Martha Stewart Insider Trading

Eric Kendricks, LB: Kendricks continues to shine, and has invented our new ‘insider trading’ category, because guys that play this well are too good to be true. On a day when the secondary struggled, Kendricks was one of the few bright spots on the defensive side of the ball. He was in on 12 tackles, broke up two passes physically, and on the one Marin Jones, Jr. drop in the end zone, he broke that up with pure psychic powers. What’s that? You don’t believe me? Prove me wrong, hater of change and new age ideas.

Kirk Cousins, QB: It’s safe to say Kirk Cousins is playing at a level few have ever played the quarterback position right now. How well is he doing?

Oh, that’s pretty good. In three straight weeks he’s thrown for over 300 yards and a passer rating of over 135. But how good is that REALLLLLY?

Yeah, that’s right. NO ONE IN NFL HISTORY has done what Kirk Cousins has done the last three weeks. Look, a month ago damn near EVERYONE wanted to trade or cut him and today he is a darkhorse MVP candidate. That may piss you off to read if you’re still in love with Teddy Bridgewater, or that may make you laugh because you still carry a torch for Case Keenum, but deep down, I’m right. And you know I’m right, and your only response is about to be...

BUT RAWR RAWR WHO HAS HE DONE THAT AGAINST RAWR RAWR

...and now I tell you this—just shut up if you are one of those rawr rawr people. I will just assume you are a miserable person and are unable to enjoy when the Vikings are playing really good football because it’s with players you didn’t want to succeed, and you’re going to be shitty because your shitty opinion is wrong. Fine, free country and all, but go be shitty elsewhere, man. Let the rest of us enjoy this.

Also, you probably don’t like chocolate, or puppies. Or beer. Which makes you a communist.

Blue Chip Stocks

Kevin Stefanski, OC: I saw an interesting nugget from St Paul Pioneer Press beat reporter Chris Tomasson earlier in the week, were he stated that the two wins against the Giants and Eagles were the most productive two game stretch in the Mike Zimmer era. That was pretty impressive, but the Vikings did one better today:

Yes, over their last three games, the Minnesota Vikings are more productive than the three best consecutive games of the Best Offense In NFL History (at the time). I’m not trying to say that this offense is better than Cunningham, Moss, Carter, Robert Smith, etc., but I am saying that now that this offense has found an identity, they are going to be really, really tough to stop. I would argue that the only team that can stop them now, barring injuries...is themselves. Well, maybe except the Bears, in Soldier Field, because yeah whatever that place can eat a rotten Chicago style piece of crappy pizza.

The entire offensive line. A big round of applause to the Vikings o-line today. Whatever happened in the Vikes locker room after the Bears game, it happened in spades to these guys. They were getting Cousins killed the first four games, and particularly in Chicago, but since then they’ve really turned it around. Today was hands down their best performance of the season, if not more. Cousins had better pockets than a comfortable pair of Levi’s, and Dalvin Cook ran wild. Every single guy on the line had a block that made me rewind the DVR at least once, especially Riley Reiff and Garrett Bradbury. Just an exceptional day for everyone. How exceptional, you ask?

I know Cousins wasn’t sacked today, and I’m having a hard time remembering when he was pressured. Maybe once, twice tops? He had all afternoon to set up, check Twitter, get a hashtag trending, find a receiver, throw a touchdown, set a record, and wreck the Lions season. Pretty impressive day if you ask me.

Stefon Diggs, WR: On a day when Adam Thielen went out early with a hamstring injury, the Vikings needed a guy to step up. Diggs was an obvious choice, and he rose to the occasion. He didn’t score a touchdown, but did have seven catches for 142 yards, and a 66 yard catch and run late in the fourth quarter that daggered the Lions. And let me pose this question for the group—does Cousins make that throw a month ago? I don’t think he does, and if he does, for whatever reason, I don’t think Diggs makes the catch. Just food for thought.

Dalvin Cook, RB: So I’m having a hard time coming up with superlatives for Cook at this point. Admittedly, it’s a great problem to have, but he is on pace to become the most complete back in the NFL. Ezekiel Elliott might be a better runner, Alvin Kamara might be a better pass catcher...and someone else is probably better in pass protection. But can you name me a better all around back in the league right now? He runs with the power of Adrian Peterson, catches the ball like Rickey Young, and the Lions were so focused on stopping him they bit harder on play action than a Northern Pike looking at a Five of Diamonds. And when it was all said and done, The Chef still had 142 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Again, with an entire defense focused on stopping him.

Solid Investments

Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith, TE: Smith and Rudolph had combined for 16 catches, 165 yards and no touchdowns in six games. Today, they had 10 catches (five each) for 118 yards, and Rudolph had a TD. Irv and Rudy really opened up the middle of the field and helped fill the void when Thielen went out.

Olabisi Johnson, WR: Another guy that really stepped up was Bisi Johnson. He had four catches for 40 yards, and a touchdown on a really nice play design and call down on the goal line that drew the Vikes even with Detroit at 14. It showed a lot of confidence in Johnson to call his number and throw to him in that spot, and it paid off.

Junk Bonds

The Secondary. On one hand, literally everyone in the secondary had a really bad day. On the other hand, the fact that the entire secondary can collectively suck against a really good QB...and you can still win the game? Look, for one week I’ll take it, but it’s obviously not something this team can get away with every week. And honestly, I don’t know that it was one particular thing today. Everyone, even the best players in the game, have a bad day, and with any luck we can say everyone decided to have their bad game all at once. I mean, there were blown assignments, bad coverage, penalties, missed tackles—pretty much everything you shouldn’t do, other than the late interception by Trae Waynes, the Vikings secondary did today. Once is an anomaly. Let’s hope it was only the one time.

Buy/Sell

Buy: Olabisi Johnson was very good in place of Adam Thielen. It’s really hard to come in and take over for a guy that’s close to becoming a Vikings icon. But after Thielen went out after his 25 yard touchdown catch, his only catch of the game, Johnson stepped in and played well. he didn’t drop any passes, averaged 10 yards a catch, and had a big touchdown when the game was still in doubt.

Sell: Johnson is a long term answer to Thielen. Still, Thielen is a big part of this offense, and him out for any extended time is going to be tough for this offense to absorb. WR depth was an issue heading in to the season, and if this turns out to be a serious deal, you could make an argument that the Vikings might want to make a trade before the deadline next week. Still early to hit that panic button, but WR depth may need to be addressed.

Buy: Kirk has had three great games in a row. We’ve already documented how good Cousins has been the last three games. It’s flat out undeniable. Unless you work for Pravda, comrade.

Sell: All the questions surrounding Kirk have been answered. Still, I’m sure it’s not good enough for some people. Like I mentioned in the intro, folks who think this is a fluke will say Kirk and the Vikings haven’t beaten anyone in this three game roll, and will move the goalposts until whatever inane argument they’re making works. There’s still nine games to go, yes, and there’s a lot of football left to be played, but this team is clicking right now, and they’re going to be formidable as we move to the second half of the season.

Buy: The Vikings defense had a bad day. The Lions were 6-11 on third down, amassed over 400 yards of offense, and were 4-4 in the red zone. If you look at those numbers in a vacuum, you might think the Vikings not only lost, but lost badly.

Sell: The offense couldn’t bail out the defense. But they actually kicked the hell out of the Lions, thanks to the offense. One of the more notable things about the Kirk Cousins era has been when the offense has a good day, it wasn’t quite good enough, as the defense had a particularly awful one and the Vikes would end up losing. Today, the Vikes defense had a really bad day...and the offense picked them up and carried them. Minnesota went down 7-0, 14-7, and then after taking a 21-14 lead, Detroit tied it up at 21. From there, the defense was finally able to get off the field, and the offense took control of the game. Cousins threw for over 300, Cook ran for over 140, the Vikes rolled with over 500 yards of offense and had no trouble doing whatever they wanted.

Buy: Stefon Diggs saved the season after the Bears game. I am going to go to my grave believing that after Diggs spoke up (and Thielen, for that matter) about his frustrations over the offense, there was a come to Jesus meeting between Vikings ownership/management to the Vikings coaches/players. I don’t know if ownership was involved; maybe a players only meeting, or just the coaches to the players, but something went down. And in the aftermath this team has clicked, and it wasn’t just because of who their competition has been the last three weeks. This is a completely different team than what we saw take the field in Chicago, and I honestly don’t care who said what to whom and whether or not there had to be multiple hurt feelings reports filed, I’m just glad this team is living up to their potential right now.

Sell: There is no sell. That’s it. Diggs saved the season. Sorry, he did. Bitch all you want about him being selfish, or a whiner, or a prima donna. He’s not, and him speaking up was the catalyst for this turn around. Wait, maybe he is a selfish guy. Let’s check and see:

“SAM FROM ST LOUIS PARK I THINK DIGGS PLAYING CATCH WITH FANS IS HIS WAY OF SAYING HE WANTS ANYONE THROWING TO HIM BUT COUSINS THANKS I’LL HANG UP AND LISTEN.” —Some rube on talk radio after the game who’s still butthurt about Diggs three weeks ago, probably.

Grandson quote of the week

Grandson Gabriel came over to watch part of the game today, and when he got here the Vikings were driving to take the lead against the Lions before halftime. The first play he saw was a Kyle Rudolph catch for a first down, and this was his analysis:

I may be biased, but he’s better than Joe Buck.