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Minnesota Vikings Weekly Player Recap: Week 6, 2021

Minnesota Vikings v Carolina Panthers Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

A win is a win and I will take it every Sunday. This team does not look good at all, but they found a way to win. We’ll see if they’re good enough coming out of the bye. There is a harsh schedule ahead and the team will need to play better to beat good teams. I don’t think the Panthers, Seahawks or Lions are good.

QB

Kirk Cousins - 89 plays (100%) 33 of 48 for 373 Yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 61.7 QBR, 112.6 Passer Rating. PFF 77.0 Kirk did his job extremely well. When they allowed him to play he lit the Panthers up. The coaching staff still needs to learn to trust Kirk more. He has shown this year he is locked in. I came into this a Kirk doubter, but he is turning me into a believer. He is playing at a high level and the only reason this team is still in the hunt. PFF has a season grade of 89.9 on Kirk, 3rd best in the league out of 33 rated.

RBs

Dalvin Cook - 66 plays (74%) 29 runs for 140 yards, 1 TD, 2 catches for 3 yards. Cook provides that much needed explosiveness in the run game. His vision is the most impressive aspect of his game. He seems to have a knack for finding the hole and exploding through it. PFF doesn’t like him, but I do (53.9 grade this week). Cook did have a fumble, but Adam Thielen saved him. Season Grade is 57.4 59th out of 64 HBs, really harsh IMO, but the injuries aren’t helping.

Alexander Mattison - 12 plays (13%) 3 runs for 10 yards. We do not rotate the RB position enough. Cook has proven time in and time out he cannot handle being the workhorse. Mattison is a capable backup. He doesn’t provide the same explosiveness, but he should get more action than this.

C.J. Ham - 21 plays (24%) 1 run for 30 yards. Ham’s longest run of his career. Ham even juked the safety to get an extra large chunk of yards. Ham is playing well right now and it is fun to watch the few opportunities he gets. PFF 70.0

Ameer Abdullah - No offensive snaps this week.

WRs

Adam Thielen - 87 plays (98%) 11 catches for 126 and 1 TD (13 targets). Thielen has phenomenal hands. His TD was a catch from his knees on 3rd and goal. That would’ve been another disappointing Red Zone FG if not for his great catch. He has disappeared some this year, but this week, he was the #1 WR on Kirk’s depth chart. PFF 84.6 is highest on the offense this week. Season Grade 72.6 is 37th out of 103 WRs.

Justin Jefferson - 84 plays (94%) 8 catches for 80 yards, 1 fumble. The fumble was not good and Sunday wasn’t one of JJ’s best games. PFF 56.4 is 5th worst on offense this week. Season Grade 82.6 is 5th out of 103 WRs.

K.J. Osborn - 48 plays (54%) 6 catches for 78 yards and 1 game winning TD (7 targets) PFF 70.3. Big play KJ lit it up when he got the opportunity. He had some big 3rd down conversions, including one to keep that overtime drive a live. He came through in the clutch and deserved his moment in the spotlight. He is really coming through strong as the WR3.

Dede Westbrook - 12 plays (13%) 2 catches for 13 yards (3 targets) A nice catch to convert on a 3rd down early in the game, but not much after that.

Dan Chisena - 1 play (1%) I didn’t see him out there, but hey, he played!

TEs -

Tyler Conklin - 76 plays (85%) 3 catches for 71 yards (5 targets). Big 24 yard gain after the Ham 30 yard run to keep the defense on the ropes (that was followed up by a Cook 16 yard TD). He also had a 40 yard catch and run to start the drive that should’ve finished off the game after Carolina pulled within 8. Not a ton of action for Tyler, but two big gains on 3 catches. Season Grade 61.3 is 37th out of 70 TEs.

Chris Herndon - 24 plays (27%) 1 catch for a 2-yard TD. All C(h)ris does is catch TDs? Herndon had a pretty good day moving up the depth chart one slot to the #2 TE. He looked competent out there blocking and the TE was an easy walk in. PFF like him a lot, 76.6 grade is 3rd best on offense.

Luke Stocker - 10 plays (11%) I saw him out there, I think. I did, but not much action for the newly acquired TE.

OL - The interior of the OL is still really, really bad, but the two tackle spots might be taken care of for a while.

Christian Darrisaw - 89 snaps (100%) The best OL out there on Sunday on either side of the ball. Christian was effective in the pass and run game. Really impressive effort in the rookie’s first start. Only 1 pressure give up all day. Overall Grade 64.7, Pass Block Grade 70.0, Run Block 58.4 “Season Grade” is 63.9, 2nd best on the OL and 41st ranked OT in the league out of 75.

Ezra Cleveland - 89 snaps (100%) Cleveland has been up and down this year, but Sunday was a down. Overall Grade 52.1, Pass Block 47.8, Run Block 53.0. Season grade is 57.3, 52nd ranked OG out of 72.

Garrett Bradbury - 89 snaps (100%) Bradbury is not good. He and Udoh are competing to be the worst OL on the team. Season grade from PFF is 56.0. Bradbury is ok in the run game, but he struggles mightily if he is asked to anchor down and block a DT. I think he is just too small to play C effectively. Overall Grade 54.5, Pass Block 32.7, Run Block 59.4. 26th ranked C for the year out of 34.

Oli Udoh - 89 snaps (100%) Woof, the worst player on the field for the Vikings on Sunday. 3 holdings penalties (2 accepted) and a false start. He struggled in what was a homecoming game for him. Udoh had 50 family members in the stands and I felt bad for him and the family that had to watch. After a promising start to the year, Udoh has really struggled. Udoh was ok pass blocking, when he wasn’t being called for holds. Overall Grade 40.3 (worst on the team), Pass Block 59.8, Run Block 41.4 54th ranked OG in the league out of 72.

Brian O’Neil - 89 snaps (100%) O’Neil is good, probably better than average. He is rated 66.3 for the year according to PFF, 35th best OT out of 75. Sunday he didn’t have any major mistakes, but there was little room to run to the right all day. The team seemed to have better luck running to the left. Overall grade 60.4, Pass Block 62.1, run block 57.0.

DL -

Danielle Hunter - 67 plays (91%) Pretty calm day for Hunter’s standards. 4 pressures from Hunter is good, but he sets a high bar. There seemed to be easier pressure up the middle. I remember seeing more double teams on the DEs this week than usual. Season grade 83.7, 9th best Edge Defender out of 104.

Everson Griffen - 63 plays (85%) Griffen was getting pressure on Sunday, even if he didn’t get a sack. 5 pressures was the most on the team. He lost contain on one of Darnold’s big runs, but overall did a decent job. PFF 76.0 is still good for 4th best on defense. Season Grade 77.9, 16th rated Edge Defender out of 104

D.J. Wonnum - 36 plays (49%) DJ was not effective on Sunday at all. Less than impressive effort from DJ and allowed Darnold way too much room to operate. PFF 43.0 is worst on defense and only Oli Udoh was worse. No pressures from Wonnum on almost half the snaps.

Armon Watts - 36 plays (49%) Watts was the best player on the field IMO. PFF grade of 91.8. He was a beast on Sunday. He is really coming through strong at DT filling in for Pierce. I, and many others, hope to see Watts keep the starting gig when Pierce is back. 4 pressures from the DT is impressive. Watts had a sack that forced a fumbled (recovered by Tomlinson). The fumble led to the missed FG, but could’ve iced the game. He had another tackle for a loss on Hubbard that forced the Panthers into a 3rd and long and held them to a FG after a Viking 3 and out. Season Grade is 81.5 and 7th best Interior DL out of 119.

Dalvin Tomlinson - 42 plays (57%) Tomlinson and Barr split a sack that forced the Panthers into a 3rd and long (Breeland gave up the 1st with his penalty). Tomlinson had another sack taken off the board because he took Darnold down by the head as the QB ducked. Toss in a couple of run stops and Tomlinson had a pretty good game. Season grade is 77.2, 14th best Interior DL out of 119.

Sheldon Richardson - 31 plays (42%) Really unimpressed with Richardson. He might see a lot less playing time when Pierce comes back. His only tackle of the day was after a 5 yard run from Hubbard where Richardson was pushed back.

James Lynch - 13 plays (18%) Lynch was effective in his limited playing time. He even got a sack on a rush up the middle for a nice 8 yard loss. Moved the Panthers to 3rd and long and ended up forcing a punt.

Stephen Weatherly - 8 plays (11%) Weatherly has no impact on the game.

LBs

Eric Kendricks - 74 plays (100%) Kendricks was solid on Sunday. He got credited with a sack after Darnold tried to scramble for a run, but got no gain. Kendricks also had a nice pass defense in which he got two hands on the ball, but couldn’t quite get enough of it to get the INT. Eric also recovered a fumble after Xavier Woods forced it. PFF 76.3 for the game and 74.7 for 8th highest rated LB out of 96.

Anthony Barr - 74 plays (100%) Barr still looks a little slow out there to me. It’s only his 2nd game back after more than a year out. Hoping to see some improvement from Barr after the bye. PFF 52.8 for the season after two games 51st out of 96 LBs graded.

Nick Vigil - 9 plays (12%) Not much playing time as we spent most of the day in nickel. Vigil isn’t going to get much playing time without an injury going forward. Season grade 48.9 62 out of 86 lbs.

DBs

Xavier Woods - 74 plays (100%) Woods had a pretty good day on Sunday. He forced teh DJ Moore fumble that was recovered by Kendricks. Felt like it was a standard day for the S, he won’t light it up, but he keeps the big plays to a minimum.

Patrick Peterson - 62 plays (84%) Peterson limped off late in the game and what looked like a hamstring injury. Initial reports are saying it was just a cramp. Teams seem to mostly avoid Peterson when he is in covered with the cluster that has been the other side. PFF 56.9 for the game seemed harsh to me. Season grade 64.3 is 47th out of 115 CBs.

Harrison Smith - 74 plays (100%) Season grade 74.6 is 5th best at safety. Harrison Smith was the leading tackler on the day. Not a good sign when your safety is getting 9 tackles and most of them 10+ yards down the field. Smith limited the damage and always seems to take the right angle. Sure tackling gets him a 73.8 grade for the day.

Bashaud Breeland - 61 plays (82%) Where has this Breeland been all year? He had one defensive holding penalty that gave up a 3rd and long, but other than that he was strong. NFL Next Gen Stats says the Panthers were 0-6 with 1 INT when Breeland was the closest defender. The interception to start the game really set the tone. Keep it up and you won’t hear those boos anymore. PFF of 88.9 for the game is only 2nd to Watts. For the season 54.7 grade is good for 91 out of 115 CBs. We all know he had been rated the worst CB in the league prior to this game.

Mackenzie Alexander - 65 plays (88%) Mac also had a defensive holding to give the Panthers a first on 3rd and long. Mistake by him, but overall he wasn’t bad. He had one sequence to end the 3rd, run stop for a 2 yard gain on Hubbard, pass defensed on a deep pass to Temble, tackle of DJ Moore for a 1 yard gain. He single handedly ended their drive near midfield. I remember him giving up a big play, but for the life of me can’t remember when it was. PFF 64.9 for the day.

Cameron Dantzler - 25 plays (34%) Not one of Dantzler’s finest days. Gave up the big 4th down conversion. Really struggled in coverage all day coming in and out for Peterson and Breeland. PFF 46.1 2nd worst on defense. Really good attitude after the game though. Keep your head up Cam, you’ll bounce back.

Overall I thought the team played well. There are still big mistakes that happen at inopportune times. These to me, are signs of bad coaching. There were two holds on punts that backed the team up and gave up valuable field position. The first two trips into the Red Zone ended up in FGs. The blocked punt for a TD gave the Panthers a lead when they couldn’t do anything on offense. 4th and 10 from the 4 and it is an easy completion. The team breaks down at the end of every half weekly. The staff needs to fix this immediately or this team is going nowhere. Two additional missed field goals (not coaching, but we can’t seem to find a kicker). Special Teams were a disaster on Sunday and nearly cost the team a win.

Last Week’s Player of the Week Results

Justin Jefferson 38%

Erick Kendricks 17%

Greg Joseph 14%

Everson Griffen 14%

Kirk Cousins 8%

Danielle Hunter 8%

Harrison Smith 1%

Poll

Who was this week’s best player?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Armon Watts
    (98 votes)
  • 69%
    Kirk Cousins
    (739 votes)
  • 12%
    Adam Thielen
    (137 votes)
  • 6%
    KJ Osborn
    (73 votes)
  • 1%
    Bashaud Breeland (not a typo)
    (21 votes)
1068 votes total Vote Now