The Rundown: Player by Player Observations from Week 5

2-3 baby! As twas foretold in the intestines of the rooster I slaughtered. Hey, I couldn't wait! I had to know!

I was relaxed as Greg Joseph missed that FG.

I was chilling as Mattison fumbled and ice cold by time the Lions scored on the 2 pt, conversion.

I giggled as the Vikings took the field with 37 seconds left.

Yes, those rooster entrails served me well. If not for them... I may have died of a heart attack.

A few general observations:

*Did you know that 2-3 is not good? That it is a losing record? Who knew, right?

*If someone had told you before the season, some Nostradamous or perhaps a set of talking rooster entrails, "Oh, Ye, by Endeth of Week Five, the Vikings SHALL have the same won-loss record as the Kansas City Chiefs and the mighty Seattle Seahawks!" I think you would have been pretty pretty pretty happy.

*It's funny. If asked to name the top coaches people readily cite Andy Reid, Pete Carroll, Kyle Shanahan, and Bill Belichick. All with the same won-loss record as the Vikings. What do those same people say about Mike Zimmer, most of them? Fire him! They all have the same won-loss record. Three of those four are, at times, called "brilliant." Has any one ever called Zim brilliant?

*Some people want to take credit away from this win. A loss is a loss and some wins are losses also, that sort of thing. At the end of the year, there will be the won-loss record and no one will take into account or point out how the refs took the Bengals game from the Vikings, a single kick lost us the Cardinals game (Cardinals, undefeated, we took on at home and we played them closer than any other team has.), that the Lions game was close, or that the refs added three wins (by time the season is over) onto the Packers win totals. Bad luck has, so far, lost us more games than it has won us.

*Some have written that the Vikings "did not play to win" or "did not take enough chances" or "tried to give the game away." Really? All of the Vikings? Did you see that incredible interception by Kendricks? But, he wasn't playing to win? Or that pass rush while they weren't trying to win? Or rookie Darrisaw allowing no pressures while getting his first NFL playing time all while trying to lose? Come on!

As far as "did not take enough chances," have you noticed that when the offense plays lights out, Kubiak gets the credit but, when not, Zimmer gets the blame? Also, the way the game was played, at the point of Mattison's fumble, just before it, by computer simulation, the Vikings had a 99% chance to win the game. Such terrible decision-making to lead us to a 99% chance of a win up to that point!

I guess you could try to sell that Alexander Mattison was not trying to win the game or was trying to lose it but then how do you explain all his yardage and his hard-charging TD catch and run? He looked like he was trying to me. Was Mattison's fumble, as some like to try to twist it, Zimmer's fault? Come on!

It was correct to run on that play and Mattison was our best available runner. Are we really supposed to hold it against Zimmer for going with the correct play and the best player to execute the play? Really? Or should we buy into the theory that Joseph's missed 49 yard FG would have gone one foot further and been good if Zimmer was not the coach? Come on!

We had more yards of offense than our opponent, more passing yards, more running yards, more sacks against them, more turnovers, more points, and our best defensive performance of the year... all while "trying to lose the game...."

Can you imagine what this team will achieve when they start trying?

*Let's talk about the Cousins-Zimmer celebration. Was it happiness? Was it anger? Was it friction? Here is what I saw when I watched it. Cousins, enthused, smashed his closed fist into Zimmer's chest like he was trying to resuscitate him. But Zimmer wasn't having a heart attack. He did not need resuscitation! It looked like that chest punch hurt. Zimmer is an older guy. I think Cousins inadvertently (bless his heart) hurt Zimmer and Zimmer reacted naturally by shoving the source of pain away from him. Honestly, I think Cousins was lucky and Zimmer showed exemplary instinctive self-control in not punching Cousins. Also, Zimmer was lucky Cousins did not shock him with the sideline defibrillator.


Kirk Cousins

His 94.6 rating was not that bad but deeply effected by the interception. This is the kind of thing that stats do not show, if a pass result is the fault of the QB or not. Osborn did not turn and look for the ball, the ball hit him in the helmet right where only he could catch it, but, he didn't, and it took an unfortunate bounce way up high to give the Lions time and opportunity to intercept it. Just an odd play difficult to lay at the feet of Cousins. By the way, we were in position then at least for a field goal and possibly a TD. So, if not for a bizarre play, again, the game would have been wrapped up as a win much earlier, thanks to Zimmer's/Kubiak's play calling.

Cousins was, again, under a lot of pressure all game and, taking into account the interception not on him and the pressure he had to deal with, Cousins played a very good game, far better than the QB rating.

Alexander Mattison

Great game except, of course, for the fumble. Which, of course, according to some, means he was not trying to win the game and was, in fact, trying to lose the game. Oh, wait, that only refers to teams as a whole and to coaches? Oh, I did not know that. I have a hard time keeping track of the rules governing false narratives. I guess because I'd rather just do without false narratives entirely. (WHOOP WHOOP. Sarcasm Alert! WHOOP WHOOP)

Justin Jefferson

Yes, he is for real. No, it does not look like he is hit with a sophomore slump. He did drop a pass! Another! But he's great and a lot of fun to watch. He had 3 of the Vikings "explosive plays" on offense. 3 out of the 9. Mattison, by the way, also had three. Not counting the fumble which was explosive in a bad way.

KJ Osborn

Only 3 catches but that is 50% more than Thielen. Well, they were much shorter and he also made that interception happen. I'd say he wasn't using his head but....

Adam Thielen

I've been trying to figure out what is wrong with Thielen and I think I have it. Here we have another under-performing game by him. Ah ha! He was trying to lose the game! The early deep catch inside the 10 also had a near-fumble element and he dropped a pass as well, an Uber easy one to catch. His focus has been poor and he seems slow and stiff.

I wondered how he could be such a shadow of his former self.

But... I'm wrong.

He is exactly the same as ever before.

He isn't slower. Everyone else, most of them, are faster.

Follow along here:

Most of the players who got vaccinations look great.

Cousins looked poor in preseason, so poor that Paul Allen, of all people, was sounding the alarm bells. Then Cousins took off in the regular season. What happened in between the preseason and the regular season? It appears Cousins got vaccinated before the first game, just with no attached fanfare. Boom, concerns fixed, he is playing the best football of his life.

Meanwhile, Adam Thielen and Harrison Smith, supposedly not vaccinated, have looked like zombie shells of their former selves. But I bet they run just as fast.

I timed my own 40. I used to run, pre-vaccination, a 5.4. I now run, proudly, a 5.25! I can also lift twice as many tacos at a time.

I checked out some interviews and it turns out that Everson Griffen was feeling old, thinking about retirement, and then got the vaccine to protect his family, and he suddenly felt supercharged! He says he feels better now than he did when he was 25! Danielle Hunter's trainer says they had a lot of concerns about Danielle being rusty but then, one day, he got vaccinated and, later that same week, his training took off and he was unstoppable. Patterson says Hunter is now better than before the injury which is also before his vaccination.

Anyway, now we'll know if Thielen gets vaccinated. He will seem like he belongs on the pro field, not a high school one.

Tyler Conklin

Not too good.

Ben Ellefson

A dropped pass? That may be his only chance in the pros! He blew it! He was trying to lose the game!

Also, why, again, was a TE, him, blocking a DE on a long pass play? Just like last week with Conklin. Another sack! Will Kubiak learn from this? No more TE on DE one on one blocking. Fool!

Chris Herndon

I don't know. I hate penalties and he had two On the other hand, they were iffy at best and certainly would not be called if he was on the Packers.

Dede Westbrook

Getting worked in more on offense but his three catches for 6-6-6 yards scare me. Someone needs to shave his head and see if he has any numbers on it.

Oli Udoh

Holding. It looked like the call crushed Zimmer. He hung his head and looked shaky. Was it because he suddenly knew that Oli was not trying to win the game and was, in fact, trying to lose it?

You know, with so many players "trying to lose the game," one really must applaud Zimmer's strategy of giving them as few opportunities as possible to lose it. See? Zimmer is brilliant!

Rashod Hill

I've been patient, really I have been. I've been supportive, really I have been. There are times it is embarrassing. Is this why Kubiak is blocking DEs with TEs? Because they are, in truth, a better option than having Hill block them?

Christian Darrisaw

It was so great to see him on the field and not, so far, over-matched.


Overview: This was great D. Our performance, by sight and numbers and points, was reminiscent of the great Zimmer defenses of 2017 and 2018, etc., and other years as well. We need to keep it up. This game gives me great hope.

Everson Griffen

My God! Wow!!! Besides the 2 SACKS and Forced Fumble, I also have him down for 2 Passes Defended and 7 Hurries. Yes, also 2 penalties but he also drew a penalty so we'll count it as one.

I love the magic of a 4-3 defense with two great DEs working to meet each other at the QB.

I love it!

RE: Naked Gun triathlon on showtime right now.

Dalvin Tomlinson

Quiet game, came back down to Earth. I think he was doubled more with no Pierce.

Armon Watts

I was not impressed.

Sheldon Richardson

Strangely invisible.

James Lynch

Good things happen when he is on the field. With his red hair, I can only guess it is a luck of the Irish thing.

Danielle Hunter

The man is a monster! He's back to being my favorite player! 9 Hurries and a Sack and the Sack/Fumble Forced by Griffen would have been a sack for Hunter if Griffen hadn't gotten there so incredibly fast. Rumor has it that Griffen is slightly faster than Hunter because Griffen has gotten his booster on the vaccine shot while Hunter says he is waiting until just before the playoffs so he can make the legendary "vaccine bump" really count!

DJ Wonnum

Just when I was souring on him. 5 Hurries, a penalty-drawn, and a SACK! A tremendous game for a starting DE but, for his limited playing time, truly incredible. Also, he showed a spin move! He did! I saw it! That was on a big Hurry. Everson must be teaching him.

Patterson, even though, obviously, he also was not trying to win, had Wonnum line up mostly inside in passing situations. We haven't seen that much before, not with Wonnum, and the results were electric.

I see a premiere passing down 4-man line of Griffen-Wonnum-Richardson-Hunter. Hard to stop!

Anthony Barr

He returns to the field and, finally, the Vikings defense is back to form after so long. I do wonder how important his game adjustments and play calls are. His value seems to far outweigh his stat sheet.

Eric Kendricks

That was the interception of his life and it still will be in sixty years. So amazing! I watched a PFF guy in Youtube who is renowned for and partially acknowledges that he hates the Vikings, say that Kendricks interception could go up against the best WR catches of 2021 at the end of the year and beat them all. He could hardly believe what he saw.

Nick Vigil

Blah, He's coming back to Earth.

Harrison Smith

A shade of his pre-pandemic self but he did Defend 2 passes. Maybe his best game this year?

Xavier Woods

Quite a few good coverages and good tackles and he was good in run support as well. Quietly quite good. He's been a big upgrade over 2020 Anthony Harris and for a LOT cheaper.

Mackensie Alexander

Made some great coverages and a good run D as well. A really good game for him.

Patrick Peterson

His best game as a Viking but probably only because the Lions chose not to avoid him like other teams have. We don't normally see how good he is. He is great. If we can get the other CB to good or above average, this D will become fearsome.

2 Passes Defended! Lots of great coverage forcing the QB to throw it away from him or away, period. He did miss a tackle badly. He isn't perfect!

Bashaud Breeland

Better but not good. I am looking forward to Dantzler coming back and hopefully taking away playing time. If Dantzler can be like last year, or even a bit improved, Dantzler taking over at this spot could transform our D.

That's it. We got the win. It was close. Weird stuff happened but we did deserve the win and we were trying.

We need to go prove we can win 2 in a row!

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.