AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, okay that game was just a back breaker. Minnesota wastes a good offensive first half and decent defensive performance to go full Vikings. This was a game that the Vikings could have had and we all know where to put the blame.....Kirk missed too many field goals dang it, and missed that tackle......alright in seriousness this one is not on the offense it was like the Green Bay Game but special teams did not show up, the offense came to play and the defense held up better than I thought. On to the report.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Irv: Irvember resumes! Yes Irv gets a few good catches and a TD to give us a chance. Irv was part of a tight end duo that showed up even with Rudy out. Irv is our TE 1 of the future and he showed up today.
The Running Back Committee: Dalvin had the most carries on the team with 22, but they mixed in more running backs at the start and the Vikings were finding success. That was a good approach and in the absence of Mattison the Vikings still mixed things up to try and spell Dalvin. Dalvin is clearly getting banged up and a committee approach should be the way going forward.
The Interior Defensive Line: The Dline has been rightly maligned all year, and in fairness still struggled to get pressure this game. What I loved today was the Vikings stopping the run for large chunks of the game. Wonnum was back and had a great tackle for loss. We need more pressure on the QB but today was a positive step.
Justin Jefferson: Jefferson did not get enough targets today, that was partially on Kirk but also on Kubiak. When they started flinging it at JJ in the second half he got some great plays and that 2pt conversion was an amazing play. That play looked like a loss of yardage for sure but JJ just powered through. JJ deserves better.
Kirk Cousins: Our second leading rusher today was some dude named Kirk Cousins. He averaged 8.2 yds per carry! There were some ugly moments in Tampa today with 2 fumbles and 6 sacks but Kirk was not the issue. When the Vikings got the ball back in the 2nd half Kirk got them down the field and kept them in the game. Watching the oline, Dozier got blown up a few times and Kirk did a decent job most of the time evading pressure but there was too much to evade all of it. Everyone wants to put Kirk on blast but the offense was the best unit out there today.
CJ Ham: Ham was back! He had some great blocks today and got 3 passes for 22 yds. It was confusing to see Ham get targets when we were down so much but if he is making plays keep it up.
Tyler Conklin: Conklin just came out and caught passes. He had 5 targets and caught all of them for 40 yds. Without Rudy I didn't think there would be much out of the tight ends today but they proved me wrong. Conklin had 2 penalties that hurt the Vikings today and that moved him down.
Gladney and Dantzler: This game was not the best for our young cornerbacks but Dantzler and Gladney made a few plays. The PI on Gladney was questionable and the fact that he caught that ball was impressive. Brady missed some open guys but the cornerback room is heading in the right direction.
DAN BAILEY: Today was the first time in a while that every time we went to kick I shuddered. We give Kirk so much crap for his contract but Dan's contract became worse than Kirk's today. Missing a 50+ yd kick, understandable. Missing every kick after a bad game the week before? You need to be out. I am still wondering if Blair Walsh kidnapped Dan and was impersonating him.
Harrison Smith: Another roughness call on Smith. It was questionable but Harrison has to be more aware at this point. I expect some of that from the rookies, Smith needs to step up.
Dakota Dozier: Dozier had half a sack on Cousins today, and was just getting blown up all game. Kirk managed to either run or move around to extend some plays but in the end, Dozier was the weakest link on the oline until Samia came in. Why not try Brett Jones instead of Dozier? And why on earth would you put in Samia instead of Jones?
Buy: Running back by Committee. The first half running back approach was good for the team. If we can get into the playoffs we need Dalvin healthy. We still got production with out Mattison, that is a good sign.
Sell: The long methodical drive to start the 2nd half. Down by 17 points the Vikings should have come out with a sense of urgency to get some points. The offense at times confuses me because so often it seems that they are trying to play Zimmer ball no matter how many points they are down. All i hear is that Kirk does what he is told, well next time I want him to go rouge. Every play 50yd pass to Jefferson or Thielen.
Buy: The Vikings are fun despite the frustration. Yes, despite all the frustration the Vikings were still fun to watch today. They have been fun this year. They make me angry but they are still fun. I can watch them every game and stick around to the end.
Sell: Making the playoffs is enough. We might make the playoffs this year and that is a huge accomplishment if they succeed. But we need more to win a super bowl and its time to try something different. At the end of this season unless we pull of a super bowl win everything needs to be on the table.
The Vikings are a rollercoaster this year. It has been a hard season with the covid stuff. But today the Vikings showed who they are, a team that is on a soft rebuild and has some good pieces but it is not there yet. After this season some questions will need to be asked. I don't have the answers but something needs to change for the Vikes to win a Super Bowl.