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Minnesota Vikings Weekly Player Recap: Week 12, 2021

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

So close, but the team couldn’t quite pull it out. Overall the team made too many mistakes to overcome. Two turnovers, multiple missed opportunities, and some bad breaks pushed the game to the 49ers favor. Overall I thought the coaching was ok and the execution was mediocre at best. The team needed something more to win against a tough team on the road. Healthy DL probably means a win. Dalvin not injured fumbling, probably means a win. Kirk making a few more throws probably means a win. It was a multitude of things that built up to it. So frustratingly close, like almost all of the losses this year.


Kirk Cousins - 55 snaps (100%) 20 for 32 for 238 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 32.8 QBR, 92.9 Passer Rating. Kirk was not good on Sunday. He missed multiple throws to Jefferson and couldn’t quite pull it together. He was so out of sorts he lined up under the RG on a 4th and goal. This is the type of game all of the Kirk detractors will point to. He still had decent stats, but he wasn’t likely to lead the team to a win on Sunday unless someone else had a herculean effort. The last throw of game was a perfect example of it. He missed Jefferson three times on my count, once in the back of the end zone on 4th down, once on the 2 pt conversion and once on the last offensive play of the game. 3 big plays to miss the best WR. He isn’t the sole reason the team lost, but he was a big part of it. The OL protected Kirk well allowing only 6 pressures on 33 drop backs, Kirk was unable to take advantage of the solid pass blocking. PFF 57.9 is Cousins’ worst grade of the season thus far.


Dalvin Cook - 29 snaps (53%) 10 rushes for 39 yards, 6 catches for 64 yards (7 targets) 30 of Cook’s 39 yards came on one play. The run blocking overall was really good and I thought there was more to be had on Sunday. Mattison and Cook were unable to get the ball rolling on the ground and that is disappointing. Cook dropped the ball when he injured his shoulder. It looks like the hit by the DL dislocated his shoulder and Cook dropped the ball. Cook has been overworked by the Vikings since he has been drafted. They ride him like he is Adrian Peterson and he just isn’t. I’ve been saying for weeks the team needs to mix Mattison in more. Once again, the team will be without Cook and likely for a while.

Alexander Mattison - 22 snaps (40%) 7 carries for 21 yards, 1 TD, 2 catches for 7 yards (3 targets) Really nice TD run by Mattison, other than that, not much. He dropped a pass that wasn’t perfect, but catchable. The team was unable to maintain possession in the 2nd half and that meant there was limited opportunity for Mattison. Really disappointing to waste the best effort from the OL all year. PFF 52.9

C.J. Ham - 20 snaps (36%) 1 catch for 16 yards (1 target) It was another nice catch and run from Ham to start off a drive that looked promising until stalling inside the 10. Ham was solid, as usual, blocking and opening things up in the run game. PFF 73.2

Kene Nwangwu - 2 snaps (4%) 1 rush for 7 yards. Only one chance on offense and it looked good. Kene had an awesome kick return for a TD to keep the team in it. His first few returns were not great (two inside 25), but he more than made up for that.


Adam Thielen - 53 snaps (96%) 5 catches for 62 yards, 2 TDs (7 targets). Stat line should read 6 catches as the refs inexplicably failed to overturn a call where Thielen’s hands were under the ball. He had a really nice game in the first half and was held catch-less in the 2nd half. Thielen routinely makes extremely hard catches and he needed to make several on Sunday as Kirk’s accuracy was not on point.

Justin Jefferson - 51 snaps (91%) 4 catches for 83 yards (9 targets) JJ played very well. Kirk was unable to get him the ball on several occasions. The biggest being the 4th and goal with JJ in the back of the end zone. There was a small window and Kirk launched it nearly into the stands. Kirk also missed JJ for the 2 pt conversion and the 4th down on the last offensive play of the game. I also want to note that JJ had the highest passer rating of the game with his 1 for 1 performance for 24 yards to Dalvin Cook. He is a baller and he played well this week. He can’t help it if the QB couldn’t make the right throw. PFF 70.7

K.J. Osborn - 30 snaps (55%) 1 catch for 5 yards (2 targets) Short catch to start the final drive and a blown pass interference non-call on the 2nd to last play. Other than that, he had very little impact on the game. He has not seen much action since early in the season. PFF 50.1

Dede Westbrook - 5 snaps (9%) No real action to speak of

TEs -

Tyler Conklin - 44 snaps (80%) 2 catches for 25 yards (3 targets) A pair of nice catches got the team down to the SF 6 with a chance to tie the game. Kirk was unable to connect with Conklin on 3rd and goal and the 4th and goal was also incomplete. Conklin didn’t see a target outside of that drive. Strange considering his production the last handful of weeks. He has been a solid target for Kirk when he does get the opportunity.

Chris Herndon - 8 snaps (15%) Nothing of real significance. He was decent in OL support, but not much else.

Luke Stocker - 6 snaps (11%) 6 uneventful snaps

OL - clearly the best performance all year from the OL. Great effort really wasted by the QB and RBs.

Christian Darrisaw - 38 snaps (69%) 70.9 overall, 66.1 run, 75.0 pass Really solid game from Darrisaw until he got hurt. He has been solid for the most part and this was his best pass blocking game. I am excited about Christian being the LT.

Rashod Hill - 17 snaps (31%) 70.0 overall, 71.9 run, 65.6 pass. Solid game from Hill in relief work. He struggled this year in the starting role, but he seems to do well in this backup role. He was called on and stepped up big time.

Ezra Cleveland - 55 snaps (100%) 93.6 overall, 92.1 run, 77.8 pass. Could not be more impressed with Cleveland’s game on Sunday. He was a rock on the O-Line and the best OG play I’ve seen from anyone in purple in a long time.

Mason Cole - 55 snaps (100%) 84.6 overall, 85.9 run, 79.0 pass. Cole now ranks as the 10th best center in the league according to PFF. He was solid this week after having a couple of questionable weeks. Solid pass protection and impressive run blocking.

Oli Udoh - 55 snaps (100%) 30.41 overall, 42.8 run, 10.5 pass. The only OL to have a bad game. It was Udoh’s career-low PFF grade. He had another holding penalty that nearly ended the 2nd to last offensive drive. Just bad, really bad.

Brian O’Neil - 55 snaps (100%) 75.1 overall, 72.6 run, 75.6 pass. Solid as usual from the vet RT. No pressure coming through O’Neil and still really solid in the run game.

Blake Brandel - 5 snaps (9%) Jubmo package

DL - the defensive line got worked a bit as they were missing all of the starters (Hunter, Pierce, Tomlinson, Griffen). Over 200 yards on the ground for San Francisco and very little pressure on Jimmy G.

D.J. Wonnum - 61 snaps (87%) A good sack to end San Francisco’s 3rd drive, but not much else from Wonnum. The DL didn’t get much pressure on Jimmy G at all.

James Lynch - 55 snaps (79%) Yeah, Lynch has been ok in spot duty this year, but this was his chance to see significant playing time. He was really poor against the run and the pass. 0 pressure and open lanes for the run game all around. PFF 41.4 is 2rd worst on defense.

Armon Watts - 54 snaps (77%) Watts had a sack to end a San Francisco drive and get the ball back to the offense down by 5. Cook then fumbled, but it was a nice effort from Watts nonetheless. Watts didn’t have a terrible game, but he can’t be the best DL on the field. He needs the other DL to play and take up the double teams to excel.

Sheldon Richardson - 53 snaps (76%) Richardson had a nice game. He played both DT and DE on Sunday and handled it well. He didn’t get to the QB, but he also wasn’t the one getting run over against the run.

TJ Smith - 20 snaps (29%) A pair of run stops for the newly signed Smith. He didn’t do much else and will likely be off the team soon.

Tashawn Bower - 19 snaps (27%) PFF 67.2 is 3rd best on defense. Quite frankly I thought Bower outplayed Wonnum. Really solid effort from the recently re-signed player and he might get more opportunities next week.

Patrick Jones II - 15 snaps (21%) PFF 58.7 is good for 5th best on defense. Good performance overall from Jones in limited action. It is a small sample size, so best not to get too excited.

LBs -

Eric Kendricks - 70 snaps (100%) Another mediocre game from Kendricks. The DL didn’t do him any favors, but Kendricks was unable to make an impact on this game. Hopefully Kendricks can bounce back next week.

Anthony Barr - 44 snaps (63%) Barr was 2nd on the team in tackles despite playing under 23 of the snaps. He went off injured, but he was clearly the best LB on defense Sunday. He gave up a couple of passes to Kittle and the RBs, but other than that he was really solid. I had him as a top 5 performer on the team overall. Hopefully his injury is nothing that will keep him out.

Nick Vigil - 57 snaps (81%) Typical game from Vigil. He is flying around out there, he just might not be flying to the right spot. He had to play more with Barr going out and that isn’t a good thing for the defense.

Blake Lynch - 20 snaps (29%) PFF 40.4 was 2nd worst on the defense. He looked like a special teamer playing in base defense. He did have two nice tackles to hold the 49ers to a FG attempt that they missed. That was his only real contribution on defense.


Xavier Woods - 70 snaps (100%) Another poor performance from Woods this week. He gave up two big catches to the 49ers for large gains. Struggling since Harrison Smith came back. Somehow seemed better when Bynum was out there.

Harrison Smith - 70 snaps (100%) Really nice game from Harrison Smith. He had the INT to end San Francisco’s first drive and led the team in tackles. He was strong against the run and pass and really helped limit the damage from the poor DL showing.

Patrick Peterson - 70 snaps (100%) PFF 58.9 is 4th best on defense. He wasn’t great, but was better than the others on defense. His best effort was fighting with a 49er WR while they were scoring a TD behind him. Refs did miss a hold on that play.

Bashaud Breeland - 49 snaps (70%) PFF 29.2 as Breeland looked like he did the first quarter of the season. Not the best effort from the CB and he split some time with Dantzler.

Cameron Dantzler - 25 snaps (36%) PFF 67.9 is good for 2nd best on defense. Dantzler was solid in coverage, but also wasn’t tested much.

Mackenzie Alexander - 15 snaps (21%) The team played a lot of base defense so not a ton of action for Alexander. He wasn’t good when he was out there. He couldn’t keep up with the speedy 49er WRs.

Josh Metellus - 3 snaps (4%) Not much action for Metellus.


Who was the Vikes’ best player on Sunday?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Adam Thielen
    (166 votes)
  • 21%
    Harrison Smith
    (88 votes)
  • 6%
    Justin Jefferson
    (27 votes)
  • 1%
    Anthony Barr
    (5 votes)
  • 31%
    Ezra Cleveland (!!!!!)
    (131 votes)
417 votes total Vote Now

Last Game’s Poll Results

Justin Jefferson - 76%

Kirk Cousins - 23%

Armon Watts - 1%

Other - 0%