After an impressive start last week, the Minnesota Vikings had an opportunity to take an early lead in the division with an early season matchup against the Green Bay Packers. As is usually the case, the Vikes made the least of their opportunity, and lost 21-16. They fell behind 21-0, went on a 16-0 run, and after having multiple opportunities to take the lead, they couldn’t get out of their own way, and fell to 1-1 on the season. I would say the Vikings shot themselves in the foot, but it feels like they took a shotgun and blew both feet off years ago. So...maybe they shot themselves in the prosthetic?
Other than a couple of players, it just felt like that try as they might, the Vikings just couldn’t get it right, all day long. Could they, Climax Blues Band?
But I kept on looking for a sign
In the middle of the night
But I couldn’t see the light
No, I couldn’t see the light
I kept on looking for a way
To take me through the night
I couldn’t get it right
I couldn’t get it right
Your SMR that’s smart enough not to throw a pick in the red zone follows.
Blue Chip Stocks
Dalvin Cook, RB: On a dismal day, Cook shone brightly. He had 154 yards rushing, another 37 receiving, and was responsible for giving the VIkings the spark they desperately needed. Down 21-0, he went off tackle for 75 yards and a touchdown, and was the only player on either side of the ball that played pretty well for the entire game. A healthy Cook is essential to the Vikings success this year, and for the first two games, he has held up his end of the bargain.
Brandon Colquitt, P: So, here’s the thing. If you’re lauding the punter, one of two things are happening. You’re either Jim ‘the punt is the most important play in football’ Tressel, you love 1970’s Big Ten football, or your football team didn’t play particularly well and you’re looking for needles in haystacks.
Needle, haystack. Haystack, needle.
Harrison Smith, S: It’s hard to put any defensive player in this category after the Packers went up 21-0 on their first three drives, but all in all Smith had himself a whale of a game. He found his sea legs in the second quarter, and tried to give the Vikings momentum. After Cook’s 75 yard TD run, the Packers were driving again, but Smith recovered a fumble on the Vikings 28, snuffing out a scoring drive and giving the Vikes defense their first sign of life. Then, on a two play sequence halfway through the second quarter, Smith broke up what would have been yet another huge completion to Davante Adams and then followed it up with a three yard TFL on Marquez Valdes-Scantling, forcing a Green Bay punt.
Adam Thielen, WR: On a day when the passing game was unsteady at best, Thielen was a constant. He didn’t score a TD, but he consistently made plays when his number was called. He was Minnesota’s leading receiver, with five catches on 75 yards, and on a day when Stevie Wonder would have had more accuracy as the Vikings quarterback, 5/75 is really a hell of an accomplishment.
Chad Beebe, WR: I have been critical of Beebe all summer. I was leery of his injury history, and I didn’t get why he was anointed WR3, as he really hadn’t made any plays at all during the pre-season. But today, when the Vikings desperately needed a spark, Beebe delivered. With 1:28 left in the first half, Kirk Cousins was on the verge of being sacked when he threw a desperation ball to Beebe. Beebe took the ball and rumbled 61 yards, down to the Packers 3. On the next play, Cousins found DIggs in the end zo—lol oh wait, we’ll talk about that in a minute.
Kirk Cousins, QB: It would be easy to bring up the $28 million guaranteed, or whatever it is he’s making this year, but QB salaries have escalated since Cousins signed his deal. And I honestly don’t care how much a guy makes, as long as he is worth it. Today, Kirk Cousins was not. He had two fumbles on consecutive plays, lost one, and he had two interceptions. Overall, he was a dismal 14/32 passing, and missed some wide open receivers. Still, though, he had a chance to make up for all of it, overcome a miserable day, and sneak out of Lambeau with a win. The Vikings were poised to take the lead early in the fourth quarter, but from the Packers 8, Cousins threw a crippling, back breaking interception on first and goal, ending whatever realistic chance the Vikings had to sneak out of that accursed cow pasture surrounded by a high school stadium with a win. Cousins was a one man rally killer today. How bad was it?
BEHOLD, DEAR READER:
Vikings put up 7.0 yards per play and allowed 4.9 yards per play, but lost.— Krauser (@Krauserrific) September 15, 2019
There have only been 13 games in the last 10 years in the NFL with the losing team >7 YPP and winning team <5 YPP.
Kirk Cousins has been the losing QB in 3 such games since 2013.
Dan Bailey, K: I am so goddamn done with the kicking situation for this team. It’s not funny anymore, it’s embarrassing.
Buy: The Stefon Diggs touchdown. The Vikes come out of the locker room at halftime down 21-10, but had a little bit of momentum. After Hercules Mata’afa recovered a fumble on Green Bay’s 45, Cousins found Diggs for a 45 yard touchdown on 3rd and 13. Prior to the snap, I had little confidence the Vikings would convert the third down, much less score. But Cousins threw a perfect pass to Diggs, who caught it in the end zone for a score.
Sell. The Stefon Diggs post touchdown celebration. Yet Diggs ran through the end zone and took off his helmet like it was the Minneapolis Miracle. he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, and the Packers subsequently blocked the 48 yard extra point attempt. Verily I say unto you that this quickly turned in to some Lambeau Leprosy.
Buy: The New Orleans Saints are the biggest freaking crybabies on the planet. You whined and whined and whined and whined and whined and whined some more until you got your way, Roger Goodell caved like an exasperated parent who just wanted the temper tantrum to end, and the NFL has made pass interference reviewable.
Sell: Whatever that bullshit OPI call on the Stefon Diggs TD was. And because of their goddamn whining, the Vikings got screwed out of a TD right before halftime. After the huge Beebe run and catch, Cousins found Diggs for a three yard TD, and it looked like, after a mostly horrible first half, Minnesota would only be down seven going into the locker room. But, thanks to a collective hissy fit thrown by an entire goddamn franchise and city that has benefitted from questionable calls more than any other team this side of Green Bay, the play was reviewed and overturned on some flimsy-ass bullshit. I hope that Drew Brees injury turns into gangrene.
Buy: The Vikings defense after the first three drives. Minnesota’s defense really bowed up and played great football for three quarters. Green Bay didn’t generate a lot of offense, and when they seemed to get something going, the Vikings either got a turnover or ended the drive on some huge third down stops.
Sell: The Vikings defense the first three drives. But how they played for three quarters was overshadowed by the absolute horror show we watched unfold on Green Bay’s first three drives. They bent, they broke, and Aaron Rodgers picked them apart like a vulture snacking on a rotting carcass. Terrible.
Buy: Staying with the run down 21 points. Even though Minnesota found themselves down 21-0 before we could really get settled into our seats, OC Kevin (Gary) Stefanski (Kubiak) didn’t panic. The Vikings kept feeding Dalvin Cook, and it paid off in a big way.
Sell: Throwing the ball on first and goal at the eight, down five points. Yeah so we all said after the Falcons game last week that at some point, the Vikings were going to need to throw to win the game. This was not the time to do it. The entire drive had been all runs up to that point, save for a five yard pass to Kyle Rudolph. They had moved from the 40 to the 8, and Green Bay couldn’t answer. With Cousins struggling and the running game producing, I’m still not sure why they threw the ball there.