Minnesota Vikings Weekly Player Recap: Week 8 2020

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

What an excellent effort by our running game. Dominate against a decent Green Bay defense. We made up for that terrible loss to Atlanta. There is a chance with the 3rd Wild Card Spot and some easier games coming up. I don't like our chances, but this game kept them alive. We should always enjoy a nice win over the Pack in Wisconsin. Even if there are no fans to boo Dalvin jumping into the stands.


Kirk Cousins - 52 snaps (100%) 11/14 for 160 yards and 1 TD. 50 of his yards were on that screen pass to Dalvin. Kirk had a Ponder like efficiency. This team played like the 2012 Vikings. 0 passes attempted over 10 air yards. It was working yesterday vs the Pack so I don't blame Kubiak for sticking with it. I also don't think Kirk is capable of doing much more at this point. He has shown us very little this year. Maybe he can learn from Ponder/Teddy and get us a wild card. I don't have much to say here. He didn't lose us the game. That is better than most weeks this year.

RBs - domination by one of the best RBs in the league

Dalvin Cook - 46 snaps (88%) 30 carries for 163 yards and 3 TDs, 2 catches for 63 yards and 1 TD (3 targets). Dalvin was the best player on the field yesterday and I don't think there is a close 2nd. Davante Adams caught 3 TDs on the other side, but he didn't have nearly the production in getting there. He was breaking tackles behind the line of scrimmage and then taking it for 20 yards. Dalvin is an underrated strong runner. He is listed at 209 pounds and runs like he is 250. He reminds me of some other RB in purple that had no QB help with one exception (health). We used the hell out of him yesterday. We can't play in fear of getting injured, but it would be nice if we didn't have to lean on him for 68% of our offensive yards. PFF Grade of 78.3 is laughable and this is why I question everything they do. I don't know what else they wanted Cook to do.

Alexander Mattison - 5 snaps (10%) 3 runs for 8 yards. It is an obvious drop off from Cook to Mattison. He just doesn't have the vision, speed or strength of Cook. He is only out there when we need to give Cook a rest. I wish we still had Latavius Murray back there.

C.J. Ham - 22 snaps (42%) 1 run for 2 yards. The week after only playing 8 snaps Ham comes back and plays 22. Cook runs nicely with him out there. I thought he did a good job opening up holes. PFF weirdly hated our run game yesterday and gave him an offensive score of 58.4.

WRs - It was all about the run game, but when we needed it on a few drives these guys came through with some big 1st downs.

Adam Thielen - 47 snaps (90%) 3 catches for 27 yards (4 targets). No much to speak about. Thielen drew a nice DPI on 3rd and goal.

Justin Jefferson - 34 plays (65%) 3 catches for 26 yards (4 targets) Not much to speak about. Jefferson drew a nice DPI on 3rd down on our 3rd TD drive. The 2nd TD drive he did have a nice 12 yard gain to get it to 3rd and reasonable after a sack.

Chad Beebe - 11 snaps (21%) 1 glorious catch for 16 yards. Beebe came through on a 3rd and long on the 1st drive of the 2nd half. It stopped us from being in that weird position of a long field goal with the wind going crazy or a 4th down play. It was his only target of the game.

Olabisi Johnson - 2 snaps (4%) Bisi is now waiting for an injury to get a chance. I just wish we'd give someone else that chance.

TEs - 2 catches for 28 yards from the group

Irv Smith Jr. - 41 snaps (79%) 1 catch for 16 yards. A tough OPI call on Irv took back a nice first down catch and that led to our first punt. He got called for a pick play in which he was the main target. The refs were mostly on our side from what I saw yesterday, but this one was a tough call. Irv's biggest contribution came in his blocking. He looked really good out there. I have to think this is why he has taken over the #1 TE spot from Rudolph. PFF grade of 69.3, 5th best on offense for us.

Kyle Rudolph - 39 snaps (75%) 1 catch for 12 yards. It was a nice catch and run. Rudy was also used more to block than to run routes. He is getting old and he was never that fast. He is reliable though.

Tyler Conklin - 11 snaps (21%) Conklin played quite a bit with the run heavy game plan. He doesn't play a lot, but usually does his job. I keep waiting for him to sneak out on a goal line play for a TD. Maybe next week.

OL - Solid run blocking from our OL, but a mixed bag overall.

Riley Reiff - 52 snaps (100%) PFF grade of 82.9 for Reiff. He is the most reliable OL we have and is always so solid out there. I know he is expensive, but I don't think we can let him go next year if he keeps playing like this.

Dakota Dozier - 52 snaps (100%) The new punching bag on the OL while Samia and Elf are sidelined. PFF grade of 59.9. He isn't that good. He cannot pass block at all and I am glad we didn't have to pass much. He is the weak spot on the OL right now, but that is manageable. He did have a very nice block on Dalvin's screen pass for 50 yards. If you look at most of Dalvin's long runs, it was designed to go behind Dozier/Reiff and he cuts back to run behind Cleveland.

Garrett Bradbury - 52 snaps (100%) Not a good game from Bradbury. PFF grade of 60.6. Dalvin has to bounce outside far too often because of the inability to block up the middle. Dalvin is that good though and it is why Mattison can't get anything going.

Ezra Cleveland - 52 snaps (100%) PFF grade of 81.1. He was the best OG we've had in years. Cleveland struggle last game in his first NFL start. He did not struggle yesterday. He was opening up cutback lanes for Dalvin all day. He was the OG we need. If we bench him next week for Elf we should riot. Cleveland deserves another game at OG and if he plays like this, he deserves the starting spot. First 80 PFF grade from a Vikes' OG since Josh Kline in week 16 last year.

Brian O'Neill - 52 snaps (100%) PFF grade of 69.3. Solid performance from Potato. The right side had running room. He probably loved having a competent teammate beside him.

Rashod Hill - 2 snaps (4%) Jumbo Package

DL - I think this was one of the better games from our DL. We caused 5 holding calls and ended the game with the sack fumble.

Jalyn Holmes - 62 snaps (83%) Solid effort from Holmes. I saw him a few times in A A Ron's face. He is going to get a lot of playing time with Yannick gone and Hunter out for the year. He might earn himself a rotational spot for next year.

Ifeadi Odenigbo - 59 snaps (79%) PFF grade of 71.1. Odenigbo had a really nice game. He started off really slow this year, but has been coming on stronger as of late. He didn't get a sack, but he made some nice plays.

Shamar Stephen - 43 snaps (57%) PFF grade 73.9. Really nice game from both our DTs. There was enough pressure on A A Ron in the 2nd half to stop their offense. Their run game got some yards, but no explosive plays.

Jaleel Johnson - 42 snaps (56%) PFF grade 72.8. Can we get this Jaleel every game? If he can play like this he would be a nice rotational DT. It would've been nice to pair him up with our free agent signing of the offseason.

D.J. Wonnum - 37 snaps (49%) I think he played extremely well in his extended opportunity. He stepped up nicely. That sack fumble at the end of the game is like fine art. I can't stop looking at it. The subtly of the beauty cannot be understated. He didn't just hit A A Ron from behind. He chopped the arm (Yannick style) to get that fumble. If he simply hits A A Ron that ball is a forward pass and incomplete. He chopped that mother-effer's arm like Bobby Flay. Wonnum is my hero of the game (outside of Dalvin).

Hercules Mata'afa - 32 snaps (43%) Someone needs to inform A A Ron of Hercules' name. I saw him quite a bit say "Mother F*cker" after plays. That's not how you say his name. Hercules had a really nice game playing DE. We need to keep him out of the DT spot. He is a nice rotational DE.

Armani Watts - 13 snaps (17%) He's been passed up by others. They way this season is going he will get another shot at a larger role. Let's hope he is ready.

James Lynch - 11 snaps (15%) I like Lynch. He doesn't get much time, but I'd like to see more of him.

LBs - very nice

Eric Wilson - 75 snaps (100%) PFF Grade 72.0 Wilson is reliable out there. Green Bay has some nice TEs that can light you up. The Eric and Eric company did a nice job keeping them at bay.

Eric Kendricks - 75 snaps (100%) PFF 90.7 for a team high. Did you see him cover Davante Adams 35 yards down the seem? Kendricks played one of his best games of the season this week. He is the heart of our defense. He is irreplaceable. He is the best defender we have right now. He is also a tackling machine with 12 total tackles.

Troy Dye - 21 snaps (28%) Troy struggled a little bit in his return to action. It is only his 2nd game seeing action and he got hurt in his first one. I hope he can learn quickly because I think we will be playing more 3 LB sets with our secondary getting beat up. PFF grade 58.2

DBs - do we have any healthy DBs left?

Anthony Harris - 75 snaps (100%) Antman was everywhere on Sunday. He had to cover for several mistakes in our secondary and even played nickel CB when we ran out of replacements. He is the better of the two safeties. I don't care if you have 73 Harrison Smith t-shirts and jerseys hanging in your closet. He isn't playing as well as he did last year, but he also isn't able to play as freely as he did last year. He has to cover for these young CBs.

Jeff Gladney - 75 snaps (100%) He had a tough matchup this week and proved he is not ready for it. PFF Grade of 49.9 was a defensive low for us. He got a reprieve because Green Bay was able to go after replacement after replacement. He just doesn't quite have the knowledge to play with a vet like Davante Adams. I do have high hopes for his future though. He has shown more than most of our past 1st round CBs.

Harrison Smith - 75 snaps (100%) Meh. Harrison Smith is playing ok. He is not playing to the elite level we came to expect for a while. He had a pass defense against Equanimeous St. Brown on 4th down. To be quite frank, a better receiver scores a TD against Harrison there. Rodgers was visibly upset after that play and it wasn't because of his effort. It was because he knew the WR had a chance and didn't come down with it. He is being asked to cover for the young CBs regularly, but I think he is on the decline. He has 0 dead cap on his contract next year. Is it possible we let the Hitman walk and keep Ant Harris?

Kris Boyd - 57 snaps (76%) I think Boyd filled in quite nicely. He was spring into action when Dantzler went down and surprisingly played over Hand. We gave up a lot of yards on Sunday, but not a lot of huge plays. Kris and the others did a good job of limiting their mistakes.

Harrison Hand - 29 snap (39%) PFF grade 60.0 That is 3rd worst on our defense, but not that bad of a score. He played ok I thought. Green Bay does a good job of mixing up their TEs and WRs in the slot. Hand did ok. I don't know if it is because I expect nothing from these guys or if it is because they played well, but I was happy with the effort.

Mark Fields II - 21 snaps (28%) He got in there with all the injuries happening. Equanimeous St. Brown's cleat punctured his lung. Hard to criticize a guy that gets a punctured lung from a cleat going into his chest. Get well soon Mark. The team had to leave him in Green Bay overnight and he will be driven back by a staff member today.

Cameron Dantzler - 14 snaps (19%) Nasty hit taken by Dantzler to his head/neck. He had a concussion and it looked like some neck issues. He flew back with the team yesterday and I am sure we'll hear more. Get well soon. We need you.

Josh Metellus - 9 snaps (12%) Metellus had to fill in at safety while Ant Harris played nickel CB. I didn't really notice him to be honest. That is probably a good thing.

Overall I think we played a good game. We did what we had to do to win the game. The offense came through with TDs on their first 4 drives of the game. This caused GB to get away from their winning game plan and start throwing the ball more. A A Ron was not sharp yesterday and that had to do with the environment, but also the defensive play. It was exactly the way Zim wants to win. It was a 2012 esque game. Maybe this is the end of the world the Mayans were talking about.

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