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Minnesota Vikings Weekly Player Recap: Week 11, 2021

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

What a win! Just when you thought the team was going to blow it, they pulled it out. It was a close call with the late dropped INT, but Kirk and the boys pulled it out. Masterful clock management from the oft criticized Mike Zimmer. Huge plays made by Justin Jefferson kept the team in it. This is the offense we’ve been waiting to see from the Vikings and I hope it is here to stay. The aggressiveness on 3rd down in the 1st half helped build the lead. The team blew the 13 point lead, but was able to come back and finish the game off. Nothing better than seeing A A Ron on the sidelines as the game winning drive unfolds. The overall QB play in this game was superb on both sides.

QB

Kirk Cousins - 70 snaps (100%) 24 of 35 for 341 yards and 3 TDs, 78.0 QBR, 128.4 passer rating. Just a superb game from Kirk. He almost tossed 3 INTs by my count, but almost doesn’t count. He helped put up 34 points against a Packers’ defense that was playing well coming into the game. The team started off well with a FG, TD and TD on the first three drives. The team scored 17 points in each half and the consistent offense was nice to see. Kirk was able to overcome a fairly poor performance from the OL and deliver the passes we needed. In my preview article I said I thought the team would win if Kirk stayed aggressive. He did and the team won. Keep it up Kirk and I won’t mind seeing you stick around a little while. PFF didn’t have him in the top 5 because of those intercept-able throws, but I thought it was a really good game from Kirk.

RBs

Dalvin Cook - 53 snaps (76%) 22 rushes for 86 yards, 1 TD, 3 catches for 29 yards (4 targets). Cook did drop one pass, but it was an ugly play that wasn’t going anywhere anyways. It wasn’t a big game from Cook. He was good, but not really good. He still got a lot of touches, but there wasn’t a signature play where he made things happen. He made the plays that were there and didn’t make any mistakes. The 2 pt conversion super easy for him, but that is because of his quickness and vision. Cook got a freebee TD after JJ was stopped just short of the goal line. PFF 62.8 accurately reflects the averageness of his game on Sunday.

Alexander Mattison - 12 snaps (17%) 3 rushes for 5 yards, no catches (1 target). Mattison continues to get limited touches as the coaching staff relies heavily on Dalvin Cook. Not much of a chance to get things going on 3 carries. He’ll be ready if the teams needs him to step in.

C.J. Ham - 23 snaps (33%) 1 slow run for 0 yards on a weird play call. The coaching staff tried to slip one by Green Bay with Cook running to the left and a handoff to Ham on a sweep to the right. It might have worked if Ham’s 40 time wasn’t slower than Rich Eisen. Even when the LBs took a step in the wrong direction, they were able to get back and catch up with Ham. Ham did his job well other than that play. Solid blocking is what we’ve come to expect from the FB. PFF 52.5 is 2nd worst on offense and surprisingly low IMO. He did give up a pressure in pass pro, but I thought he was good overall.

WRs

Adam Thielen - 66 snaps (94%) 8 catches for 82 yards (10 targets), 1 TD. Thielen isn’t getting the bulk stats he is used to this year, but he is coming through when the team needs him. He had a couple of nice 3rd down conversions, including a 3rd down TD where he made a nice move to get in the endzone. He probably should have stayed in bounds on the 26 yard reception on the last drive and that is not a mistake I would expect him to make. Other than that, he was solid and catches everything that is reasonably thrown his way. PFF 78.2 is 2nd best on offense and shows his consistent effort.

Justin Jefferson - 53 snaps (90%) 8 catches for 169 yards (10 targets), 2 TDs, 1 run for 3 yards. JJ was the best player on the field on Sunday and that was with a lot of solid performances from both offenses. This is back to back games where he looked like the top WR in the game. I don’t think I would pick anyone over him at the position. There might be people who are slightly better now, but the ceiling for Jefferson is very high. I was a doubter when they traded Diggs away, but the trade has worked out perfectly for the Vikings and one of Spielman’s better moves in recent years. PFF 81.6 isn't high enough, show me a better receiver.

K.J. Osborn - 36 snaps (51%) 1 catch for 19 yards (4 targets) His one catch got the 4th TD drive started that put the team up by 7 late. He wasn’t able to come down with what would’ve been a great diving 32-yard catch. The other two targets were deep shots that just didn’t work out. KJ had a really strong start to the year, but has regressed to the mean these last few weeks. PFF 52.3 is the worst grade on offense.

Dede Westbrook - 11 snaps (16%) 1 catch for 7 yards (2 targets) Dede’s only real action on offense was the failed quick drive to end the first half. He caught the first one 3 yards short of the first down and the 3rd down ball was just thrown over his head out of bounds.

TEs -

Tyler Conklin - 56 snaps (80%) 3 catches for 35 yards (3 targets) Very efficient production from Conklin. His first two catches were 15 yards each to start TD drives. His 3rd reception was a 3rd and short conversion. I think he was asked to block a little more this week and the offense was aggressively targeting Thielen and Jefferson. Still a solid performance from the TE1. PFF 68.0 is good for 5th best on offense.

Chris Herndon - 14 snaps (20%) Nothing to see here. Kirk didn’t look Herndon’s way this week and he has had little opportunity to do much.

Luke Stocker - 14 snaps 20%) Stocker is someone that will be released if Irv Smith ever gets healthy. Luke does nothing for this team. He is really there to help block and he gave up an east pressure where Ham had to rush over and try to bail him out.

OL - Not the best day for the offensive line. They did have 0 penalties which is a drastic improvement. Decent day run blocking, but really poor pass protection all day. Superb effort from Cousins helped overcome their deficiencies.

Christian Darrisaw - 70 snaps (100%) 73.2 overall PFF, 84.9 run, 47.5 pass block He did come up with a key fumble recovery at the end of the 3rd after a sack/fumble. 6 pressures allowed lead the team. He was really solid in the run game, but struggled in pass pro.

Ezra Cleveland - 70 snaps (100%) 67.0 overall PFF, 73.2 run, 57.2 pass. 2 pressures given up wasn’t bad, especially in comparison to the guys on either side of him.

Mason Cole - 70 snaps (100%) 53.6 overall PFF, 67.5 run, 14.7 pass (oof) Cole was getting run over by the Packers’ DTs. He struggled in pass pro and the opening handoff nearly got taken by Kenny Clark (IIRC). He seemed to get bull rushed a lot and was unable to handle it. 5 pressures given up is a massive number up the middle.

Oli Udoh - 70 snaps (100%) 71.9 overall PFF, 73.2 run, 57.2 pass. No penalties this week for Udoh!?! Only 2 pressures given up from Udoh and solid run blocking. Good bounce back from a rough few weeks.

Brian O’Neil - 70 snaps (100%) 63.3 overall PFF, 52.4 run, 75.8 pass 1 pressure given up in pass pro is solid against a pretty good Packer DL. He was the worst graded run blocker and most of the longer runs did seem to come from the left side.

Blake Brandel - 2 snaps (3%) Jumbo package

DL -

Everson Griffen - 43 snaps (73%) I was not impressed at all with Griffen on Sunday. He nearly had an offside penalty that was called a false start on the center for bobbing his head. The next play he gave them the 5 yards back by lining up in the neutral zone. Griffen never seems to learn from these penalties. On the TD where A A Ron scrambled to his left, Griffen opened up that massive hole by ditching his responsibility and running all the way over the the RG. He is trying to get pressure, but clearly can’t without Hunter on the other side. PFF 30.0 is dreadful, but matches his performance.

D.J. Wonnum - 53 snaps (90%) DJ is completely ineffective against the pass and that is why Rodgers had all day to pass. The team is getting nothing from the DE spot with Griffen or Wonnum on the field. PFF 51.8 is 3rd worst on defense.

Armon Watts - 48 snaps (81%) Watts was the best defensive player on the field for the Vikings on Sunday. He had a nice sack/fumble, but unfortunately he was unable to corral the ball. That play did end that drive near the 50 and kept GB from getting points on a promising drive. Watts is playing well and is turning into a fine player. He wasn’t in the top 5 graded defensive players, which surprised me.

Sheldon Richardson - 34 snaps (58%) Richardson did have 2 run stops in his action and Green Bay really couldn’t get much going up the middle in the run game. PFF 79.4 is the best on defense and rewards his consistency holding strong in the middle.

Dalvin Tomlinson - 30 snaps (51%) I’ll give credit to Tomlinson for 3 run stops and a solid day overall. PFF 72.0 is good for 3rd best on defense.

James Lynch - 21 snaps (36%) Two tackles from Lynch 6+ yards down the field. He has the effort there to make the plays needed. I hope to see a little more from him in the future. Not as talented as some of the guys above him on the depth chart though.

Eddie Yarbrough - 3 snaps (5%) Not much action for the recently re-signed journeyman

Patrick Jones II - 3 snaps (5%) Limited action for Jones as well.

LBs -

Eric Kendricks - 59 snaps (100%) Not the best effort from Kendricks this week TBH. I don’t expect him to be graded well in this game. The opening play of the game Kendricks seemed to think he’d have help against Adams coming across the field. Not 100% sure if it was his blown assignment, but it sure looked like it was. 37 yard opening play essentially gave the Packers a FG to start as they only gained 2 yards after that. He gave up another 26 yard gain to St. Brown. He also gave up some yards to AJ Dillon in the passing game. PFF 53.9 is 5th worst on defense and I thought would’ve been lower.

Anthony Barr - 55 snaps (93%) Barr had a better day than Kendricks. He was better in coverage and against the run. Fairly solid day overall from Barr and a PFF grade of 72.5 is 2nd best on defense.

Nick Vigil - 14 snaps (24%) Not much in coverage from Vigil, but really poor in run support when he was on the field. His tackles were all well down the field and he wasn’t reading the ball well. This wasn’t just a Vigil issue, but he was probably the worst at it. Our LBs need to read the run better and step up in the hole to stop it. 4.8 YPC from Dillon is too much, even if GB abandoned the run fairly early.

Blake Lynch - 1 snap (2%)

DBs

Xavier Woods - 59 snaps (100%) Xavier Woods gave up 5 catches allowed for 152 yards and 2 TDs. He also had a few missed tackles. Not the best showing from the safety with Cam Bynum chomping at the bit to get back in the game. The final TD to Valdez-Scantling was a complete blown coverage and he got smoked deep way too easily. It did work out in the VIkings’ favor as they were able to get the ball back and leisurely run out the clock for the game winning score. He also gave up the 39 yard bomb to MVS at the beginning of the 2nd quarter, 15 yard pass to Cobb on 3rd and 8 and just several other long passes. Worst player on the field for the Vikings defense.

Harrison Smith - 59 snaps (100%) Harrisons sack was a thing of beauty. He ran over the off-balanced LT and the RB to get to Rodgers. Impressive play from a DB and he looked more like a OLB coming after the QB. Smith was also significantly better in coverage than Woods. Solid game from Smith after missing the previous two on the COVID list.

Bashaud Breeland - 52 snaps (88%) My favorite moment from Breeland had to be when he celebrated dropping an INT on a poor/late throw from Rodgers. He is enjoying playing the game and has played better than the dumpster fire he was at the beginning of the year. He still isn’t that good, but he isn’t horrendous. PFF 68.0 is good for 4th best on defense.

Patrick Peterson - 51 snaps (86%) Peterson had a defensive hold and gave up some plays to Devonte Adams. That is a tough assignment coming back from the IR with a bad hammy. Adams got his yards, but Peterson also wasn’t responsible for giving up the big play. Hoping he can bounce back stronger next week. PFF 58.7

Mackenzie Alexander - 43 snaps (73%) I don’t remember Alexander giving up much in the passing game. I am trying to think of a play where he gave something up, but can’t off the top of my head. I think Mac was solid in coverage in comparison to the other DBs.

Cameron Dantzler - 15 snaps (25%) Stepping in to give relief to Breeland and Peterson. No splash plays, but he did his job well. Solid in coverage is better than what we saw from most on Sunday. PFF 66.6 is 5th best on defense this week.

Camryn Bynum - 6 snaps (10%) 0% of the snaps with 3 safeties on the field is interesting. Might see this more going forward with how well Bynum is playing.

Solid performance from the offense this week. Really enjoyed the aggressiveness the past two weeks from Kubiak and Cousins. I hope like hell they keep pushing the ball downfield. Good things happen when Jefferson and Thielen are given the opportunities to shine. The defense had a rough day. They started off well against the GB offense, but gave up way too many chunk plays. They got lucky the blown coverage for a 75 yard TD didn’t come back and haunt the team. Clock management was superb once again this week. The team didn’t score to end the first half, but they were given the opportunity too and were unable to execute. The end of game strategy was perfect from Zim. Get the ball super close for the FG and take all of the time on the clock. Stupid challenge in the first half cost the team a TO, but that was the only visible game management mistake. I blame whoever saw that replay and told Zim to challenge.

Poll

Who was the Vikes’ best player on Sunday?

  • 76%
    Justin Jefferson
    (809 votes)
  • 22%
    Kirk Cousins
    (240 votes)
  • 1%
    Armon Watts
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    Someone else?
    (1 vote)
1063 votes total Vote Now

Last Game’s Poll Results

Jefferson - 58%

Kendricks - 30%

Cousins - 7%

Bynum - 5%