In a game no one wanted to win apparently the Vikings played hard to earn the right to lose. This was a game that the Browns attempted to hand the Vikings and then we get the slapstick Midwest refusal of a gift until someone finally accepts. The oline was ugly today and the run defense was suspect. This game seems to follow Zim’s tendency of getting a big win then coming out flat. The Vikes beat Seattle for the 1st time since 2009 and then look incompetent against the Browns.
Blue Chip Stocks:
First Offensive Possession: The 1st Vikings offense drive was amazing. The Vikes managed to move down the field and cap off the drive with a touchdown. That is what this offense can be, creative and resilient. A bad penalty on Kirk pushed them back but the Vikes came back around to score the touchdown.
Danielle Hunter: Hunter was all over the field today. Getting a sack on Mayfield and running down Hunt and Chubb on several plays. He seems back to his normal dominating self. Hunter came up and made plays on both sides of the line and was the best defensive player on the field.
This Game not going to OT: Honestly this game felt just like slow torture. It seems that the Vikings kept missing their chances and I feel like if we hit OT the Vikings would lose on a safety or some other ridiculous play. The season is young so its too early to panic but today im just glad its over.
Justin Jefferson: Jefferson played a solid game today. Catching a TD on the opening drive and going 6 of 7 for 84 yards made JJ our top receiver. And as the Vikings were trying to get back in Jefferson caught some important passes to give the Vikes a chance on their second to last drive. When the Vikes try to get the ball into JJ’s hands it provides a spark.
KJ Osborn: Osborn had a quiet game compared to the last 3 but has solidified his WR3 position. KJ had a few catches and drew a massive PI call to keep a drive alive and nullify an interception. He did have a "push off" pass interference penalty that hurt. There was a chance for a TD pass that Kirk was unable to see earlier in the game but KJ seems here to stay.
Everson Griffen: Sack Daddy returns! Griffen got a good sack on Mayfield and demonstrated that he still has some gas left in the tank. Joining Hunter with a sack and TFL Griffen has filled in as a rotational piece well.
Cam Dantzler: Breeland must have been really hurt because after last week I thought Cam would be inactive and deep in the Zim doghouse but Breeland struggled and eventually got sick enough that Zim had to bring in Cam. Dantzler did have some miscues but overall played better than Breeland has and made some key tackles during the game. Its fair that Cam had an awful preseason and training camp and started the year towards the bottom of the depth chart, but as Breeland has struggled it was only a matter of time. Dantzler played well in Arizona and given the 1-year deals in the secondary could be the veteran next season, even if he is only a little better than Breeland overall, its Cam time.
Blake Lynch: Lynch has been on the Vikings for a couple of years. Today he stood out on a few plays while filling in as the 3rd linebacker. Lynch Broke up a pass and made a few tackles. He has a long way to go but I like what I am seeing.
Christian Darrisaw: Darrisaw was active today! Getting Darrisaw healthy is the 1st step in getting him on the field. Now its hard to say that he will be better than Rashod Hill to start but unlike Hill Darrisaw has the potential to improve. The Vikings need some of their top Oline picks to pan out. Darrisaw being active means that the clock should be ticking on Hill.
The Offense after the 1st Quarter: Now some guys on the offense are up in the solid investments. But overall, the offense after the 1st quarter was inept. The Oline remembered they are bad and did their best interpretations of turnstiles. The running game struggled to get consistent gains and outside of JJ and Osborn the Vikings pass catchers had some strange miscues. Thielen had some weird plays and some guys had balls hit their hand and go right through. Kirk had zero time most of the game and had to try airing it out at the end from a collapsing pocket and had his first pick of the year. This was a team effort to fall on offense and Kirk was not the main problem today. The play calling was also very suspect, the game was just ugly and the Lions should give the Vikes a bounce back opponent to right the ship and get to 2-3.
Harrison Smith: Smith had a bad game today. He seemed slow off the ball and had some plays where he seemed to be taking time off. We haven’t really seen the safety blitzes this year and so far, his extension is looking like highway robbery on his part.
Sheldon Richardson’s Time out call: The Vikings had some issues on the XP attempt after the Brown’s first TD then in an attempt to prevent the 12 men on the field call Richardson called a time out after the Vikes were out of time outs. Cue the Browns going for 2 and the Vikes were behind the rest of the way.
The Run Defense: The Vikings run defense has not gotten better. The Vikings gave up another 100+ yd running game and struggled to contain Cleveland’s run game. Giving up a 30 yd run on 3rd and 20 at the end of the half was awful. Pierce went out with an elbow injury and it seems like the attempt to retool the defense is racing towards a bust. There is still time to turn it around but that time is getting short.
The Final 3 minutes: Why? The Vikings should have tried more hurry-up. The lack of urgency down 7 pts with 3 minutes to go was concerning. Its possible the offense was rattled but the Vikings need to hustle at the end. Playing like they are up 7 instead of down was baffling.
The Vikes are in trouble: Buy, the Vikings are now 1-3 and the season is slipping away. The 1st part of the Vikings season was the easy stretch. As we head towards the bye the schedule gets tougher. Depending on the Packers game today the Vikings could find themselves in 3rd place and the chance for a division title slipping out of reach.
The Season is over: Sell, 1-3 is bad but with a 17-game schedule there is a little more wiggle room. The Vikings season is in trouble, but its too early to stick it in the grave. Zim seems to bounce back after games like this and the Vikes could go on their traditional mid-season run to give us all hope.
Zim is on the hot seat: Buy, Mike Zimmer’s seat is getting hot. The Wilfs have made it clear they expect the Vikings to be a playoff team and make some noise. This year is make or break and if the Vikings do not live up to expectations Zim will probably be on the way out.
Zim will be fired before the end of the season: Sell, I do not think the Wilfs will fire Zimmer before the end of the season unless the wheels come off the train completely. Now if the Lions beat the Vikings next week and things collapse this will change but for now Zim will probably finish out the season.
This was the kind of soul crushing game I would have expected from the Twins. Cleveland has played well this year and the Vikings at least held them to 14 points. Its hard to decide what kind of team the Vikings are? Seattle is looking like a bad team and the Bengals are tied for 1st in the AFC North. All of the Viking’s losses have been close and it makes predicting what this team is very hard. I’m also beginning to wonder if we can get George Edwards back. Like bring back Edwards and let him call defensive plays because since he left the defense has been worse. For a day when we had Bad Kirk appear for short stretches it was still better than some of the rougher games Kirk has had the last few years. Honestly if this is one of Cousins worst games it is a huge step forward for Kirk in my opinion.