Good morning kids. Boy, was that was about as critical a win during the regular season as we’ve seen in the Mike Zimmer era. The offense, defense, and special teams all played very well, and the Vikings got out of New Jersey with a badly needed win to go to 3-2 on the season.
Although it’s an important win in the standings, I think it’s an even more important win for the franchise for a couple of reasons.
For one, it was a good performance by Kirk Cousins, and I don’t think there was another player in the NFL that needed a good game more desperately than Cousins did yesterday. At least for a little while, he silenced the rising tide of criticism that was getting ready to hit this team like a tsunami, and all seems well.
After a week of pointed comments from his two top wide receivers, Cousins came out of the corner he was getting punched into fighting. Adam Thielen had 130 yards and 2 TD receptions, Stefon Diggs had another 45, and the Vikings offense rolled up almost 500 yards of offense. After the game, Diggs was all smiles, said he wants to be in Minnesota, and also said he wished he had communicated things in a different way. I posted this Andrew Krammer tweet in the SMR, but I think it needs to be posted again to show that Diggsy took full accountability for what he said and did, and also said he could have handled things differently:
So everything is hunky dory, at least for now. If the Vikings had lost that game, while Cousins and the offense had laid another egg, I think things would have gotten really, REALLY ugly in Minnesota, and a lot of the rainbows and unicorns we saw yesterday would be nowhere in sight. We would be dealing with fire breathing dragons, schisms, and a dark cloud of locusts all waiting to devour this franchise bit by bit.
Thankfully, though, we aren’t. And after watching the Chiefs and the Cowboys yesterday, it feels like the Vikings, when they’re playing well, are very capable of beating both those teams. The Colts played some serious smashmouth football, which is something Minnesota excels at. And frankly, even though Dallas started 3-0, I never thought they were 3-0 good, if that makes sense.
Can the Vikings walk to the edge of the abyss again? Yes. Will they? I hope not. Look, I’m not sure what to tell you at this point, because we’re all thinking the same thing. Cousins played well against the Giants, and the Vikings rolled to a comfortable victory. And maybe they can go on a 2-3 game winning streak so the next loss doesn’t have us all sprinting to the edge of the cliff.
But...and you guys know where this is going...how will he play when the opponent is...what’s the scientific term I’m looking for here...oh yeah, how will he play when the opponent is good? We’ll find out this week when Philadelphia comes to town. They looked very good in dismantling the East Rutherford Jets, but c’mon, it was the Jets. They’ve got a huge quality win (at Green Bay), but lost to the Falcons, who are terrible right now. They sit at 3-2, though, and like the Vikings are in the thick of it for a playoff spot.
This game will have big implications down the road, the Vikings are at home, and they’ll be favored to win. So yeah, the pressure is a bit ramped up for this game, and Cousins will need to perform. If he does, maybe, just maybe, the noise surrounding him about beating good teams will fade a little bit.
This is a big game for the Vikings defense, too. Yes, they only gave up 10 points, but Daniel Jones and the Giants offense left two easy touchdowns on the field. On their first drive, Jones overthrew a WIDE open Sterling Shepherd that would have been an easy touchdown and a 7-3 lead. On their first drive of the second half, Jones once again overthrew a wide open Shepherd in the end zone, who almost made an acrobatic catch for the score. Convert those into touchdowns, especially that early one, and this is a completely different ballgame.
It’s easy to nitpick after a win, and after the disheartening loss last week, it was a good win and I’ll take it. The point is that this team is better than what they showed last week, for sure, and can still do better than the 28 points they got the hard way yesterday. The upcoming schedule is Philly, at Detroit, and then Washington at home on a Thursday night. I can honestly see a scenario where they can win all three...or lose two of three because lol if they lose to the Redskins just shoot me into the Sun and blow it all up.
After two bad divisional losses, 6-2 would be a nice way to end the first half of the season. Assuming the two losses would be the Eagles and Detroit, 4-4 with three losses in the division would be...not optimal.
And it may bring a schism, with a chance of locusts.
So, you know, just win.
Thank you for listening to my TED Talk.