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Minnesota Vikings Weekly Player Recap: Week 9, 2021

Minnesota Vikings v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Whelp, who didn’t see that second half coming a mile away? Same stuff different week. Offense was strong the first half and irritatingly bad the second half. Touchdowns on the first two drives of the games and then not much from the offense until the last drive of the game. The defense couldn’t get off the field against the potent Ravens offense, even after holding them to a respectable 10 points in the first half. Of course the TD coming right before the half. There wasn’t much left in the tank for the defense piling up an enormous amount of snaps. The team won the turnover battle 2-0 and still lost. They got a turnover in OT and still lost. The team has no one to blame but themselves and that includes the coaching staff.


Kirk Cousins - 54 plays (100%) 17 of 28 for 187 yards, 2 TDs, 1 rushing TD, 71.3 QBR, 104.3 Passer Rating. Surprisingly high QBR and Passer Rating for Kirk. He wasn’t that efficient and couldn’t keep the ball moving. He did well to avoid sacks this game, but we need him to make something happen. The offense gets in this rut in the middle of games and Kirk can’t seem to help pull them out of it. I say this a lot, but he just isn’t the leader the team needs.


Dalvin Cook - 43 plays (80%) 17 rushes for 110 yards, 3 catches for 12 yards (3 targets). Cook’s big gain was a 66 yarder that was excellently blocked by the left side of the OL and CJ Ham. It was a perfect play call against the defense and he couldn’t quite break it free for the TD. He started the game with a 15 yard run too. 29 yards on the other 15 rushes..I know, you can’t take out the long runs, but the run game wasn’t that effective on Sunday. The Ravens pass defense is not that good and the team didn’t take advantage. 97 yards of Cook’s 110 came of the first two drives. 13 yards the rest of the game. Baltimore adjusted to stop it and the Vikings had no response (as usual). PFF 61.9 and he has been rated low all year. I am starting to agree with the rating, which doesn’t overly reward big plays, but rewards consistency.

Alexander Mattison - 9 plays (17%) 4 runs for 0 yards and 1 catch for 3 yards. There is no rotation at RB. Mattison is there to step in when Cook is gassed. Which isn’t very often when you can’t maintain possessions.

C.J. Ham - 21 plays (39%) 1 spectacular catch for 27 yards. CJ does his job almost without fail. He had a nice block on the Cook 66 yard run and several others early on. PFF 84.6 is the highest on offense.

Kene Nwangwu - 0 snaps on offense, it counts as a special teams snaps (I thought it would count as offense since the team ran an offensive play, might be a mistake on the snap count sheet). 1 run for 9 yards on a fake punt that was excellently read by Metellus. Big play that could’ve changed the game.


Adam Thielen - 48 plays (89%) 2 catches for 6 yards and 1 TD (7 targets). Kirk and Adam just didn’t seem to be able to get on the same page. I don’t remember any drops on offense, but the inability for the offense to get the ball in the hands of the receivers. PFF 61.2 is 3rd worst on offense.

Justin Jefferson - 43 plays (80%) 3 catches for 69 yards and 1 TD (5 targets), 1 run for 11 yards. Much like Cook, the majority of Jefferson’s yards came on one big play. Jefferson had a 50 yard bomb on a 4th down play where he smoked the defenders looking for a route at the first down marker. His other two catches were huge though. The second kept the drive going on the 2nd TD drive on a 3rd down in the Red Zone. The last was a 4th and 9 conversion on the final drive in regulation to keep that drive and the game alive. PFF 75.5

K.J. Osborn - 26 plays (48%) 1 catch for 20 yards (2 targets) When KJ gets the ball it is usually in an important spot. A nice third and long conversion (a rare sight), but it was wasted with a punt a few plays later. FF 60.6

Deede Westbrook - 2 plays (4%) incomplete short pass on 3rd and 6.

TEs -

Tyler Conklin - 47 plays (87%) 5 catches for 45 yards (7 targets) Tyler’s first catch was a big play on 2nd and 20 to get it to 3rd and manageable, which of course they didn’t get and had to fake a punt to get it. Tyler also drew a DPI in the end zone on 4th and goal to keep a drive alive. The team also somehow went 3 and out on the 3rd drive of the game after getting 7 yards from Conklin on 1st. Conklin continues to play well in Irv Smith’s absence and it would’ve been great to have the two of them on the field at the same time. PFF 81.3 is the 2nd highest on offense.

Luke Stocker - 18 plays (33%) 1 catch for 5 yards (1 target) Nothing that exciting about Stocker, but he is there to block and then occasionally sneak up on the defense for a quick pass (he isn’t even that good at blocking though). PFF 55.9, worst on offense

Chris Herndon - 9 plays (17%) 0 targets, not much to speak of for the likely wasted trade.

OL - The offensive line came out strong in the run game. The Ravens keyed in on the run after the first two drives and that was it for the offensive production. Frustrating to waste the best OL performance the team has seen in a long time.

Christian Darrisaw - 54 snaps (100%) Darrisaw held his own. He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t bad. Started the game strong in the run game, but then once the Ravens adjusted the OL couldn’t quite open up those same holes.

Ezra Cleveland - 54 snaps (100%) PFF 65.6 Cleveland is a mediocre LG and that is better than last year’s LG. He isn’t consistent enough, but we’ll take what we can get at OL.

Mason Cole - 54 snaps (100%) PFF 74.6 Can he replace Bradbury permanently. There weren’t plays where the DT was immediately in the backfield like we’ve seen consistently this year. Very nice effort coming off the bench for Cole and if he doesn’t stay in, this coaching staff is dumb (now I am expecting Cole to go back to the bench).

Oli Udoh - 53 snaps (98%) PFF 75.4 Best OL on the team this week? He gave up the most pressures (3), but looked the best in the run game. Udoh is solid though.

Brian O’Neil - 54 snaps (100%) O’Neil was ok too, not the best in the run game as a few stuffs came on his side, but he was pretty good. Only OL to not give up a pressure.

Blake Brandel - 5 snaps (9%) Not much to say about Blake. Just says a lot that Wyatt Davis doesn’t come in at OG when Udoh goes out.

DL -

Everson Griffen - 87 snaps (89%) PFF 62.9 is somehow good for 3rd best on defense. Everson was fine on Sunday. He isn’t going to get the sack numbers he was now that Danielle Hunter is out. There is no one else that is threatening at DE.

D.J. Wonnum - 72 snaps (73%) PFF 54.5 Wonnum was mediocre at best. Most of his tackles were 6-8 yards down the field. It was frustrating to see the horse collar call on him. He clearly did not grab Lamar at or above the name plate. The expert ref for Fox said it was a bad call as well. It sucks, but nothing the team shouldn’t have been able to overcome. DJ did have a nice PD on 3rd and 5 against Mark Andrews to force a punt midway through the 2nd quarter.

Armon Watts - 69 snaps (70%) Armon had a nice sack and then defended well on a pass the next play to force a 3rd and long at the beginning of the 4th. His efforts were then wasted when the team gave up a 3rd and 15 play to let the Ravens convert and tie the game a few plays later. I’ve been high on Watts and I will be curious to see what the interior DL rotation looks like when Pierce comes back.

Dalvin Tomlinson - 59 snaps (60%) Mediocre game from the big guy. The Ravens offense is tough on the DL and the snap counts got high quickly in the 2nd half. The entire DL became ineffective for a large chunk of the game with the offense unable to hold onto the ball.

Kenny Willekes - 41 snaps (42%) PFF 59.4, 4 total pressures and a 1/2 sack. Kenny had another sack that was called back because of a defensive hold. The sack that counted was the one that ended regulation. Kenny did well enough, but nothing to write home about either.

Sheldon Richardson - 35 snaps (36%) Richardson is so frustrating because he has the talent to do better. He had the sack that helped end Baltimore’s second drive and split the sack with Kenny Willekes to end regulation. He also had a play where he stopped short of running off the field and gave Baltimore a free 5 yards when they weren’t even trying to catch him on the field. I don’t think his motor is there anymore and he is just playing out the string. He is too good to be this inconsistent.

James Lynch - 30 snaps (31%) PFF 61.5 makes the top 5 on defense this week. Lynch received a high grade because he made 4 run stops within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. He isn’t flashy, but he held his own and was where he was supposed to be.

Patrick Jones II - 6 snaps (6%) I missed him out there. Just didn’t see him rotate in on the TV airing.

LBs - the team couldn’t get off the field and a large part of that was the LB corps inability to stop the option runs from Lamar Jackson.

Eric Kendricks - 98 snaps (100%) PFF 40.8 It’s weird to see someone have 17 total tackles and still be rated this low. He just got worn down out there. Entirely too many snaps. All 3 of the LBs can have very similar commentary. They held up well in the first half and got worn down in the second half. The defense just got mowed over and received no help from the offense.

Anthony Barr - 98 snaps (100%) PFF 50.9 Really nice interception in OT that could’ve been a game winning play if the offense wasn’t so inept. I made a comment in the game thread it was his first play he’s made in 5 years. Similar to Kendricks, I thought overall Barr played well for the first half and just got worn down the 2nd half. Still was able to step up and make a play when it looked like the game was ending. All for naught.

Nick Vigil - 57 snaps (58%) PFF 38.1 Vigil is what he is right now. He needs to study harder in the film room IMO. Runs around trying to make plays, but just doesn’t have the football IQ to be there. Complete opposite of Sheldon Richardson IMO.


Xavier Woods - 98 snaps (100%) PFF 62.2 Xavier Woods is solid. The DPI was a bad play. I thought he had time to turn and try to make a play on the ball. He didn’t realize he had the time and the ball was underthrown. That is a play that happens a lot in the NFL and hard to completely blame the safety. He’s on a one year prove it deal and he is going to get paid this offseason. Hard to find consistently solid safeties.

Harrison Smith - 0 MFing snaps...and 0 next week. So glad they gave him the overpaid extension.

Camryn Bynum - 98 snaps (100%) Best player out there on defense. PFF 90.0 is best on the team and I thought it was clear he was playing extremely well. 2nd on the team with 12 total tackles and also had a nice interception and return. The return was huge because the offense would’ve come up with nothing otherwise. Bynum was in on 6 runs stops within 4 yards of the LOS. Solid against the run is what the team needed in Harry’s absence.

Cameron Dantzler - 96 snaps (98%) PFF 63.8 Bateman schooled Dantzler all night. It seemed like a dozen first downs given up to Bateman (it was actually 4 + the DPI). Dantzler got beat for the long DPI that put Woods in a tough spot. He also just couldn’t keep tight enough coverage on the U of M product. It was too easy for Lamar, especially in the 2nd half.

Kris Boyd - 68 snaps (69%) PFF 34.2 Marquis Brown smokes a lot of CBs in this league. He’s good and Lamar can spin the ball. Boyd just wasn’t good enough to keep up after coming in for Breeland.

Mackenzie Alexander - 36 snaps (37%) The only play I can remember distinctly from Mac was a 12 yard pass given up to Ricard on 3rd and 14 that let the Ravens go for it (which of course the Ravens converted). That was the first drive of the 2nd half that got the Ravens back in it after the kickoff return for a TD. Mac didn’t give up much in the passing game, but also was not there enough in run support.

Bashaud Breeland - 27 snaps (28%) Breeland went out injured midway through the 2nd. He was playing decently when he limped off. I have to think he would’ve been better than Boyd and another contributing factor to the loss.

Josh Metellus - 2 snaps (2%)

Harrison Hand - 1 snap (1%)

That’s it, another week and another L in a winnable game. The team should be tied with GB for the division lead or at least be within a game. Instead they will likely be watching the playoffs from home if this doesn’t turn around quickly. I mentioned last week I don’t call the season over until it is over. There is still a chance, but those changes get slimmer by the week. The team needs to step up next week against the Chargers. There are no guaranteed losses in the NFL and certainly no guaranteed wins. 14 point lead in the 2nd half should be a win and this coaching staff is writing their own pink slips at this point. I haven’t given up, but it I don’t like the chances of this team making a run without Hunter.

Last Game’s Poll Results

Xavier Woods - 60%

Eric Kendricks - 30%

Adam Thielen - 9%

Harrison Smith - 1%


Who was the Vikes’ best player on Sunday?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Camryn Bynum
    (482 votes)
  • 9%
    CJ Ham
    (76 votes)
  • 3%
    Tyler Conklin
    (25 votes)
  • 29%
    Kene Nwangwu
    (242 votes)
825 votes total Vote Now