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Minnesota Vikings Weekly Player Recap: Week 10, 2021

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It’s fun when we win one of those close games against a good team. This win could be a turning point in the season where the team went on a run or it could be a blip on the radar come January. I am still hopeful that the team is capable of making a decent run. A lot of the common complaints that the fans have had all year were different this game. The team was more aggressive on 2nd and 3rd and long. The Vikes tried another fake punt (refs mucked it up) and went for it on 4th down to end the game (with an outside run and not one behind the lesser OGs). I thought the clock management was better (still failed at the end of the first half) and the play calling was better. Solid win on the road.

QB

Kirk Cousins - 79 plays (100%) PFF 78.9 25 of 37 for 294 yards, 2 TDs, 65.1 QBR, 109.5 Passer Rating. I have to tell you, at halftime, I thought this was a typical 2021 game with Kirk getting his stats, but the team not succeeding. The failure to end the first half with points and Kirk’s mediocre first half performance left me uninspired. I thought Kirk was mis-reading a lot of the plays and missing open receivers. He wasn’t pushing the ball downfield enough and it’s what I’ve seen for a lot of this year. Kirk was more aggressive in the 2nd half and helped put away a game that typically this year has been a loss. Kubiak/Kirk seemed to be on the same page in the 2nd half and the offense looked better. I’ll take this offense every week and I hope to see it again this week against the Packers. So happy with his performance, I almost forgot to mention the self-imposed fumble between him and Brian O’Neil.

RBs

Dalvin Cook - 65 plays (82%) PFF 71.1 24 runs for 94 yards and 1 TD, 3 catches for 24 yards (5 targets). I thought Cook was very effective. There weren’t any splash plays this week to drive up the YPC numbers, but Cook was consistently gaining yards and it helped keep the chains moving.

Alexander Mattison - 12 plays (15%) 4 runs for 16 yards and 1 catch for 24 yards. Mattison’s only real impact play was the 1 catch he had. He took a 1st and 16 dump-off and ran through some tackles to get the first down. I still think the team should take some more carries away from Cook and run Mattison more to keep everyone fresh for the end of the year.

C.J. Ham - 27 plays (34%) PFF 62.1 It’s a shame his TD catch was taken off the board via penalty. I have really enjoyed watching Ham play this year and he might be becoming one of the best FBs in the league. I have not been that high on him in the past, but he is consistently good.

WRs

Adam Thielen - 71 plays (90%) 5 for 65 yards (7 targets). Relatively quiet day for Thielen. His first two catches were on a sequence of 2nd and 3rd and long that will drive you crazy. His last catch was a 3rd and long conversion when the Vikes decided to be more aggressive. Keep pushing the ball down the field to JJ and Thielen.

Justin Jefferson - 60 plays (76%) PFF 90.8. 9 catches for 143 yards (11 targets), 1 run for -4 yards. It wasn’t statistically JJ’s best game, but man he looked good on Sunday. He made some spectacular catches and showed why he is one of the top young WRs in the league. You’ll notice in the tweet below from Will Ragatz, it isn’t all YAC either. The team pushed the ball down the field more this game and that just makes JJ’s impact bigger. Keep pushing the ball down field to JJ and Thielen.

K.J. Osborn - 41 plays (52%) PFF 51.2 0 catches on 1 target. Seemed to be the only skill player not on point on Sunday. Just didn’t get many opportunities and I don’t remember seeing him open anywhere.

Deede Westbrook - 5 plays (6%) Not much action on offense. A really nice punt return on special teams that was wasted by a fumble on the offensive drive.

TEs -

Tyler Conklin - 71 plays (90%) 3 catches for 11 yards and 2 TDs (5 targets). Conklin is really coming into his own. He didn’t get many opportunities, but he is sure handed and is the red zone target Kirk needs to finish off drives. Not the best blocking performance this week. PFF 56.2 is low.

Chris Herndon - 23 plays (29%) 1 catch for 14 yards (2 targets). 1st play of the game was a nice play to Herndon. He didn’t see his other target until the 3rd quarter.

Luke Stocker - 20 plays (25%) PFF 48.7 Stocker’s best attribute is blocking and he didn’t do that well on Sunday. He added nothing to this offense and I would rather see Ham or Brandel take some snaps than have Stocker in as the 3rd TE.

OL -

Christian Darrisaw - 79 snaps (100%) PFF 51.7 overall, 57.7 run, 37.2 pass, 1 pressure give up, even with the terrible pass blocking grade. Not Christian’s best game as a Viking. That is a couple of games now where he hasn’t been strong against the pass. I am hoping this is just a rookie learning to play. It says only 1 pressure given up, but his overall pass blocking grade is more accurate IMO.

Ezra Cleveland - 79 snaps (100%) PFF 54.4 overall, 54.9 run, 51.0 pass, 3 pressures given up. This is the typical performance Cleveland has given this year. He is still young and learning. Hoping he can be more consistent play by play. He has the ability to do so.

Mason Cole - 79 snaps (100%) PFF 60.9 overall, 63.9 run, 44.2 pass, 3 pressures given up. Yeah, Cole is our new starting C. If he isn’t, the coaching staff should be tarred and feathered. I think the grading is a bit harsh on him, but that might be because I am used to see Bradbury at center.

Oli Udoh - 79 snaps (100%) PFF 59.6 overall, 64.4 run, 38.4 pass, 3 pressures given up. If it weren’t for the penalties Udoh would be good. Two more holding penalties this week. The difference is the offense was able to overcome the penalties both times. Other than that, he was ok against the pass and really good in the run game. Udoh/O’Neil really opened up some room to run.

Brian O’Neil - 79 snaps (100%) PFF 67.9 overall, 68.2 run, 62.8 pass, 2 pressures given up. O’Neil was really solid this week. He had the one play where Bosa pushed him back into Cousins to force the fumble. Bosa is going to beat a lot of OTs and the DL for the Chargers was relatively quite compared to their season average.

Blake Brandel - 4 snaps (5%) Jumbo package plays. He is definitely the first OL off the bench for the team though as he went in at OG last week and is the extra OT in jumbo packages.

DL -

Everson Griffen - 50 snaps (85%) For as good as the defense was, the DL was unable to get pressure this week. Griffen’s stat sheet is blank this week other than his weekly free first down penalty (Hand to the Face this week). He has been unable to get consistent pressure without Hunter on the other side. I don’t think there is a solution on the roster at DE though. PFF 52.2

D.J. Wonnum - 53 snaps (90%) Similar to Griffen, Wonnum didn’t get much pressure on the QB. Wonnum’s one entry on the state sheet is a tackle 10 yards down the field on Jared Cook.

Armon Watts - 42 snaps (71%) I say this every week, but I like Watts. I think he does a solid job taking up blockers and opening things up for Kendricks and company to make plays. He doesn’t get pressure up the middle like the highly paid DTs, but he does a solid job. Sounds like he will be starting for several more weeks and Pierce continues to recover from injury.

Dalvin Tomlinson - 30 snaps (51%) I feel like Tomlinson was doing better at the beginning of the year getting pressure. That might have been because Pierce was next to him. Tomlinson is still solid against the run and had a pair of nice run stops. PFF 51.2 is his lowest of the year.

Sheldon Richardson - 32 snaps (54%) Bunch of meh. The team isn’t getting much out of Sheldon this year and this week was no different.

James Lynch - 18 snaps (31%) PFF 65.5 By my count Lynch had 4 run stops in limited action. He played well and really helped limit Ekeler to small gains.

Patrick Jones II - 11 snaps (19%) Two run stops for 3 yards or less and a hands to the face penalty for the youngster. Doing more than a lot of other DL for the team though.

Eddie Yarbrough - 4 snaps (6%) The re-signed DE didn’t get much action on Sunday. I only saw him out there on a defensive celebration, I think it was Kendrick’s INT.

LBs -

Eric Kendricks - 59 snaps (100%) PFF 49.5 and this is where their grading system loses contact with reality of the game. Kendricks led the team in tackles, had a sack and an INT that setup a TD. Basically ended two drives (INT and sack). However, when he was targeted on defense he gave up 43 yards on 6 targets. He also had a really poor run defense grade. The Chargers had 82 yards rushing and 22 of those were a Herbert scramble. PFF’s grading system only gives limited credit for big plays and consistency matters more the way the grade it. His negative plays outnumbered the huge plays that actually changed the game. If Kendricks wasn’t out there, this team loses. No question about that IMO. He’s my pick for player of the week (Jefferson close 2nd).

Thought Eric’s tweet summed the grade up best, but it is still garbage.

Nick Vigil - 59 snaps (58%) PFF 69.7 The Chargers’ RBs rushed for 60 yards on 17 carries. The TEs also had limited production. All three of the LBs were solid IMO.

Blake Lynch - 19 snaps (32%) PFF 75.6 Lynch had 6 tackles all within 6 yards of the LOS. That will get you a solid grade on 19 snaps. Solid play from the reserve LB.

DBs

Xavier Woods - 59 snaps (100%) PFF 73.1 I love me some Xavier Woods and Cam Bynum at safety. It gets me juiced the way prime Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo used to. Woods is really, really solid back there.

Camryn Bynum - 59 snaps (100%) PFF 77.4 Big sack when the team needed it. The Vikes gave up the lead to start the second half and the offense punted on their first possession. Bynum came in with a yuge sack on 3rd and 4 to push the Chargers deep into their own territory for the punt. The offense then went on a 66 yard TD drive to take the lead for good. There has been 0 drop off in play with Harrison Smith being out for COVID. 0 drop off replacing one of the best safeties in the league. Bynum is a player. The team has 3 safeties playing well right now.

Bashaud Breeland - 58 snaps (98%) PFF 51.0 Breeland wasn’t great on Sunday, as usual. He had 6 tackles because he gave up so many receptions. He also had a DPI penalty. He has one thing going for him, he is a sure tackler. That is better than a lot of what we saw last year.

Cameron Dantzler - 57 snaps (97%) Dantzler didn’t really give up much in the passing game. Not that he was great, it is just the Chargers never got into an offensive rhythm. CBs are a hole in this defense right now. Patrick Peterson needs to come back soon.

Mackenzie Alexander - 37 snaps (63%) PFF 57.5. Mac had a pretty bad DPI penalty on the TD drive right before half. He panicked with the ball in the air because he was beat. He didn’t locate the ball though and it was overthrown. He took down Keenan Allen for the 28 yard penalty. He needs to trust himself more and rely on his skillset. He also gave up a 26 yard reception to Allen late in the game before the Charges had to settle for a FG deep in Viking territory.

Kris Boyd - 2 snaps (3%) 2 plays in relief for Dantzler who went off injured briefly.

Overall, an excellent game from the team. They went on the road and beat a quality opponent. The offense finished off the game with a 4th and 2 conversion. I thought the coaching staff was better at clock management and play calling. Kirk was much more aggressive in the 2nd half after being conservative in the first half. First drive of the 2nd half was a punt. The others were two TDs and a 10 play drive to end the game on a kneel down. That is a drastic improvement over prior weeks. The team was 2 for 2 on 4th down. One was a TD to Conklin and the other was a conversion to end the game. The Chargers were 5 for 12 on 3rd down. Defense got off the field and the offense making things happen. This is the team we deserve to enjoy.

Poll

Who was the Vikes’ best player on Sunday?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Justin Jefferson
    (564 votes)
  • 29%
    Eric Kendricks
    (287 votes)
  • 7%
    Kirk Cousins
    (71 votes)
  • 4%
    Cam Bynum
    (48 votes)
970 votes total Vote Now

Last Game’s Poll Results

Cam Bynum 58%

Kene Nwangwu 29%

CJ Ham 9%

Tyler Conklin 3%