The Rundown: Player by Player Observations From Week 4


There are the days your Vikings-loving father warned you about.

It was a tough loss and a tough game to watch. Why is it that if the defenses do well and the offenses poorly it is a tough watch but, the opposite, when offenses do well and defenses do poorly, it is exciting and "great football?" Well, the NFL knows it and for years has designed the game to be higher and higher scoring.

First, a few general observations, all designed to help us cope with this loss and our 1-3 record:

1. In the first 4 games we were favored to win one of them and lose 3 of them. By God, we did it! In a sense, we are par vs. expectations. Did that help?

2. The Cardinals are the only undefeated team left and we came closest to beating them.

3. The refs stole Game 1, half stole the Browns game, and our PK cost us Game 2. Take away the refs and real bad luck and we are 4-0 or 3-0-1, something like that.

4. We have faced the second toughest schedule in the NFL so far (based on win-loss to date) and the #1 (The Steelers), their opponents have won and lost the same number of games as ours so we must be #2 on a tiebreaker and are more like tied for #1 hardest schedule.

5. We love Kevin Stefanski and, if we had to lose to someone then I like losing to him and the Browns more than, say, the Packers.

6. People can talk crazy about replacing Zimmer but he has the same number of wins and losses this year as Mike Tomlin and Bill Belichick and faced much tougher games than Bill.

I also bring you this exclusive hidden video footage of Kevin Stefanski preparing for the game against the Vikings:

You've got to admit, he was well-prepared. You have to, heh heh, hand it to him....

I don't always do this because, let's face it, we have our own issues with our team. However, it is in the news as per Urban Meyer and a female dancing near him. Near, heh heh. Entire microns apart at times and at other times, less than that. Let's take this on!

Almost all men, at some point, even if married, visit a strip club. There are females there who dance as close as can be with little or no clothing on and... they must be paid!

Urban sat in a chair as she danced up to him. He just stayed sitting there. That's not a defense. It's a fact. He even put an arm down between his legs with his hand on the chair, thus preventing the woman from making more intimate contact.

So, to recap, he did, and allowed, much less than what happens at a strip club, the woman was fully clothed and they sure aren't at strip clubs (except for the lame ones. Lame strip clubs, not strippers.) And... he saved his family LOTS of money! It was a free lap dance!

So, poor Urban was simply being economical and watching out for his family, saving money for them. I don't get it. Why are they upset? (yes, all this is somewhat tongue in cheek though there is some truth here)

However, don't get me wrong, I am no Urban Meyer fan or defender. The fact he did not travel home with his 0-4 team is the true offense. He's a bad coach, in the pros and at this stage of his life, and I do not think he will ever get the Jaguars to the playoffs.

Wasn't talking about some other team's ugliness so refreshing?


Kirk Cousins

He was due for a bad game, I guess. But... was it? Kind of. It was definitely not as good as the first three games. However, he faced a much better defense and the pass protection evaporated. It was worst in the NFL of any team for Week 4. Should we put all the blame on Cousins that he then had a QB-average game? Facing all that?

Put another way, the QBR and traditional QB rating and all the other ones out there are supposed to, theoretically, judge a QB's performance. You with me? Yet a good defense, over the course of the season, has QBs again and again with low ratings. So, did all those QBs just happen, on their own and due to their own poor work, have bad luck and it all coincided that they all played bad against the better defenses? Or, go with me on this, is it maybe possible that the defense deserves some credit?

You see, that is the problem with ratings, including (or especially) PFF. They do not take into account competitive circumstances -- a little on some, but not entirely. For instance a Guard has a great score one week and then a terrible score the next. Yay and then Boo. He can be so good but then some games he isn't trying. That dog! Yes, but the game he did so well in he faced Jaleel Johnson. The game he did so poorly in he faced Aaron Donald. You see? His personal performance was actually, quite possibly, exactly the same but his performance, based on results that differ due to the competition faced, is rated vastly differently.

One more observation. Watching the game, Cousins surveyed the field, you could see him looking at multiple receivers, going through his reads, stepping around in the pocket (and, by some miracle, only getting sacked twice despite the line allowing or the defense achieving the highest pressure rate in the NFL), and then was forced to throw to a covered receiver, throwing it where only the receiver could get it but usually could not. I'm telling you, on that day, against that D, with those plays called, with no run game either, and with a constantly and instantly collapsing pocket, Brady or Mahomes or anyone would not have done better.

Justin Jefferson

Yes! Finally a game he did not drop any passes. In fact, this game, despite fewer catches and fewer yards, was a far better performance by Jefferson than the Seahawks game. He had Denzel Ward shadowing hm and he made clutch contested catches. This was, to me, the first game he seemed completely as good as he was last year. I was pretty sure he was fine but this game has completely reassured me.

Adam Thielen

Is it me or is he a lot slower and stiffer now than he was just last year? I know he has the TDs but he isn't getting separation or getting deep. Not really. Not like he used to do. He's looking like a skinny malnourished slow stiff TE.

KJ Osborn

I'm going to say it and maybe no one wants to hear it. I think Osborn might now be a better player than Thielen. I don't think he will put Thielen on the bench any time soon but he is always clutch, has great focus and hands and catches contested balls and gets open. He is the future at WR.

Besides his catches including that spectacular 20-yarder, he also drew two penalties because they struggled so badly to cover him. Osborn is the real deal!

Dalvin Cook

We need him healthy. Alexander is a very good back but there is a very big gulf between Cook and Alexander. Cook is special. Alexander is very good, an excellent draft pick for a 3rd rounder and all that we expected and hoped but he is not special like Cook.

Tyler Conklin

A holding penalty and a dropped pass made for a bad day. However, that hold was when he was in single block on Garrett. What fool called that blocking scheme? The hold supposedly took away a big play but, really, if he had not held, that was going to be a sack. Either way, that play was never going to happen/count. It is unfair to expect a 250 lb. TE to block one of the top DEs in the league, in space, one on one with no help AT ALL. On a deep pass play! That holding penalty was called on Conklin but should have been called on Kubiak.

Dede Westbrook

18-yarder! Hi, Dede!

Rashod Hill

I saw him go airborne at one point. Jacked into the air. Lots of hurries allowed. LT is the second most important position on offense. It is a real big weakness for us. Frankly, what Cousins has done with Hill at LT is nearly a miracle.

Ezra Cleveland

Brother Ezra! Why did you False Start? Why???


DJ Wonnum

It isn't working. This isn't his year. He has not taken a leap since Year 1. The big plays in camp and preseason were an illusion melted by real competition. Maybe one day but, this year, he is not the solution at RDE. Yeah, I know, Chase Young ALSO has no sacks, just like Wonnum. That is a fair point.

Everson Griffen

The solution at RDE! Yes! While Wonnum had two Hurries, Griffen had SIX hurries, a SACK, two penalties drawn, and a couple of excellent run defense tackles. Griffen looked as good as Griffen from three years ago. We just need to keep him fresh and use him at the right times. I don't know, maybe he still has full game endurance. If so, play him as much as you can instead of Wonnum.

Dalvin Tomlinson

Heroic. Another great game and not because of the SACK though that was good. He had FOUR Hurries. Hurries for IDL are twice as hard to get and twice as rare as hurries by a DE. In other words, in the pass game, he outperformed Griffen, who you see above I am impressed with. Even when he does not get Hurries he consistently drives his blocker(s) back several yards making it hard for the QB to step up in the pocket and sacks for others more likely. Sure, the run D but he did well as an individual there. Remember run D is on everyone on the field, not just the DTs.

Sheldon Richardson

I was down on him after the first couple games but he is now bringing the fire. Also, it looked like his assignment in the first two games was to hold the line guarding against a QB scramble. Now he had been freed up. He had a Hurry, some great run stops, and knocked down a couple passes as well. I think we'll be fine if he starts instead of Pierce due to injury. Those two are very different players, but both are great.

Danielle Hunter

My God! What a wonder to watch that man play! He's wonderful and amazing! He was the best defender on the field that game, between both teams. 9 Hurries, some hard hits, a penalty drawn, a SACK, and he was running running backs down from across the field. Against an extremely good RT! He truly is back to his old form.

Eric Kendricks

Same excellence as always. Yawn.

Nick Vigil

Solid but I did resent that missed tackle.

Blake Lynch

Lynch, Dye, and Surratt seem like a set or triplets to me. Bu Lynch is the best one. I think we have something in this guy. He can be the free agent Thielen of the defense. One day.

Harrison Smith

He's having a real quiet season. I think the prevalence of cover 2 may be a reason for that.

Xavier Woods

Woods and Smith, even though they did not show up much in the stats, were obviously playing great based on allowing less than a 50% completion rate to Baker + almost all short throws.

Patrick Peterson

Excellent game. It may be that they are "doing it with mirrors" -- the mirrors being extra safety help, but Peterson has been the closest we've had to a shut down corner since Xavier Rhodes in his best year.

Cameron Dantzler

!!!!!! Wow! I was concerned that something had occurred to him physically such as lost speed due to size increase or some such. You know, young bodies can change dramatically in a year. But he looked sharp in pass D and in run D. He was a willing and able tackler, had lots of great coverages and a pass defense. He would be a shoo-in as starter again except for the Covid issue.

I'm not going to say one single thing about our Punter or our Kicker because they are doing great and I don't want to jinx it!

The signs for hope are there. We know we have an explosive offense that will improve with Irv Smith and maybe with Darrisaw when he can play. We had the #3 offense coming in to the game and faced the #3 defense and, you know what they say, typically a great defense masters a great offense when they are face to face. (That's what they used to say but I'm not so sure in today's NFL....)

On defense we had our first full game of high performance Yes, I know, lots of running yards allowed. That was actually the average yards the Browns gain per game except with much less yards per attempt against us. We may not pass the eye test but we did better against the Browns run game than any other defense has done this year. They do have one of the best RB combos in the league and arguably the top offensive line. Put simply, we only allowed 14 points despite losing the turnover battle. We should win most games where our opponent scores 14 or fewer points, especially with our offense.

This game truly cemented that Hunter is Aaaaaall the way back. It also showed that Everson Griffen can still be a force. Also that the Tomlinson and Peterson signings, and Woods, and Vigil, were all great moves by the front office. Possibly the best news was that Dantzler is still a playmaker, still the guy from last year, and he can also play great against the run despite his needle structure.

There were positives, it is just hard to get past the loss. I know. I feel it, too. We have all the luck going against us.

Meanwhile, the refs just plain stole another game and gave it the Packers. This happens a few times every year. The Vikings? Never. The refs add three wins a year to the Packers and so far have taken a couple away from the Vikings (one at least, arguably two). That's a 5-game advantage for the Packers! Hard to get over that hump of melted cheese in our path.

Stay strong!


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.