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Minnesota Vikings Weekly Player Recap: Week 13 (Lions)

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

How do you lose to the worst team in the NFL? Pathetic showing from the boys in purple. They don’t belong in the playoff talk until proven otherwise. The season is not over yet, but it is getting closer by the day. A win against Pittsburgh is needed to vault this team back in contention. So frustrating to watch this team play. They appear to have more talent than this, but can never put it together. The Fire Zimmer articles are going to be numerous this week. That will only amplify with another bad showing on Thursday.

QB

Kirk Cousins - 76 snaps (100%) 30 for 40 for 340 yards, 2 TDs, 49.9 QBR, 116.7 passer rating, PFF 79.1. Cousins in the first half was not good at all. The offense couldn’t sustain drives and they only put up 6 points in the half. It was a poor start that they then had to dig themselves out of. It took him a while to adjust to Thielen being out of the game. This game wasn’t about Cousins’ performance though. He was fine, but not nearly the reason the team lost. Poor coaching all around put all of the players in a bad spot.

RBs

Alexander Mattison - 65 snaps (86%) 22 carries for 90 yards and 1 TD, 3 catches for 34 yards (3 targets) I thought Mattison filled in admirably for Cook. He is never going to be as explosive as Cook, but he ran the ball well and fought for extra yards. His TD run was impressive and showed his desire to score. PFF 65.0

C.J. Ham - 25 snaps (33%) 1 catch for 19 yards (1 target) PFF 58.3, Ham graded out poorly. He was stuffed on a few blocks including a 2 pt conversion. He wasn’t getting as much push as he usually does. His catch was a nice big play and he seems to have a knack for it.

Kene Nwangwu - 9 snaps (12%) 2 runs for 0 yards, 2 catches for 4 yards (3 targets) Playing the Mattison role is not that exciting. Limited opportunities for the rook. Not sure why he didn’t get more action with Mattison cramping up.

WRs

Adam Thielen - 6 snaps (8%) 1 catch for 0 yards (2 targets) Thielen went down with a high ankle sprain early in the game.

Justin Jefferson - 69 snaps (91%) 11 catches for 182 yards, 1 TD (14 targets), 1 run for 4 yards. The best player on the field for either team. JJ is playing better than any other WR in the league. He is the Vikings best player right now. Tough contested catches made on a regular basis and still performs with the defense keying in on him. It is impressive to watch Justin work. PFF 90.2

K.J. Osborn - 70 snaps (92%) 4 catches for 47 yards and 1 TD (7 targets) Osborne was ok. Nothing exciting about his game right now. He is fairly sure handed, but rarely creates separation or gets extra yards

Dede Westbrook - 32 snaps (42%) 1 catch for -2 yards (2 targets) I honestly was surprised when I saw his snap count. The team has nothing at WR behind Thielen/Jefferson. Westbrook won’t be in MN after this season. PFF 52.5

Dan Chisena - 5 snaps (7%) 0 targets, I would rather see Chisena and ISM out there than Westbrook/Osborn.

TEs -

Tyler Conklin - 72 snaps (95%) 7 catches for 56 yards (9 targets) PFF 74.5 Conklin has quietly had a great year. He has built himself a nice niche in this offense and does exactly what is asked of him. Solid blocking and receiving.

Chris Herndon - 13 snaps (17%) The opposite of what I wrote about Conklin.

Luke Stocker - 13 snaps (17%) The opposite of what I wrote about Conklin.

OL -

Oli Udoh - 76 snaps (100%) PFF 51.6 overall, 70.0 run, 40.3 pass, 4 pressures allowed. Worst player on offense is a weekly title for Udoh. RG/LT, it doesn’t matter. Surprising the coaching staff switched up so many spots with Darrisaw out. This did not work for Udoh. Udoh had a pair of false start penalties as he was trying to get a jump on pass blocking.

Ezra Cleveland - 76 snaps (100%) PFF 63.5 overall, 66.2 run, 49.1 pass, 5 pressures allowed. Solid in the run game, but not so much in the passing game. He and Udoh allowed a ton of pressures and couldn’t keep Kirk’s blindside clean.

Garrett Bradbury - 76 snaps (100%) PFF 77.5 overall, 82.3 run, 54.8 pass, 1 pressure allowed. Bradbury had a very solid game. Might be the most pleasant surprise of the afternoon. His athleticism is great for the run game and he wasn’t completely run over in pass blocking. Hopefully this is sustainable for Garrett.

Mason Cole - 76 snaps (100%) PFF 64.0 overall, 60.8 run, 66.3 pass, 1 pressure allowed. Pretty solid as usual from Cole. He wasn’t spectacular, but really solid. The right side didn’t have to block long with the disaster unfolding on the left side of the OL.

Brian O’Neil - 76 snaps (100%) PFF 69.7 overall, 58.9 run, 81.2 pass, 0 pressures allowed. Couldn’t seem to seal the edge for Mattison to bounce outside in the run game, but unblemished against the pass. Good game overall from Brian, but not perfect by any stretch.

Blake Brandel - 1 snap (1%) JUMBO

DL -

D.J. Wonnum - 64 snaps (89%) 1 run stop on 4th down, a sack to force a 3 and out and a pass knock down. Overall not a terrible day for Wonnum. He is never going to be the premier DE, but he did his job well enough on Sunday.

Sheldon Richardson - 62 snaps (86%) 3 runs stops for Richardson on Sunday, but not much else happening. He did commit another neutral zone infraction this week. He is better off playing 3 Tech on long down scenarios than trying to fill in for Everson Griffen, but he is doing what is asked of him.

Kenny Willekes - 37 snaps (51%) A couple of pressures created by the youngster. He is still coming into his own and excited to see what he can bring going forward.

Dalvin Tomlinson - 35 snaps (49%) PFF 74.8 Tomlinson did his job as usual eating up blocks and opening things up for the LBs, the problem is that is wasn’t Eric Kendricks back there this week.

Michael Pierce - 32 snaps (44%) PFF 70.0 Similar to Tomlinson, Pierce was solid this week. The Lions’ run game was held to under 4 yards per carry and the DL was solid with a few 4th and short stuffs.

Armon Watts - 30 snaps (42%) A couple of tackles for Watts after short gains and a QB pressure in his semi-limited action. Watts had been playing well, but this week wasn’t anything to get excited about.

James Lynch - 16 snaps (22%) PFF 29.5 Yeah, he looked out of place on Sunday. I don’t think Lynch has the physical tools to be effective. He needs to gain some weight, but still be able to maintain his speed. Hoping he can somehow figure that out in the offseason.

Patrick Jones II - 3 snaps (4%)

Tashawn Bower - 1 snap (1%)

LBs -

Nick Vigil - 72 snaps (100%) PFF 37.1 Vigil was really poor in coverage and doesn’t react quick enough against the run. 11 of his tackles were 5 or more yards down the field. That is a number I might expect from a safety and not a LB.

Blake Lynch - 72 snaps (100%) PFF 76.6 Blake Lynch was impressive and step in nicely for the injured LBs. A sack to force a 3 and out and a sack/fumble/recovery combo to get the team in position to take the lead. Blake made some impact plays and was exactly what the team needed to get back in the game.

Troy Dye - 30 snaps (42%) Vigil and Dye are the same player. You will see them flying around out there, but just don’t have the football IQ to get to where they need to be.

DBs

Xavier Woods - 72 snaps (100%) PFF 43.4 Xavier’s two biggest impact players were a free 15 yards given to the Lions on an unnecessary roughness and giving up the game winning TD. The last play of the game Woods was supposed to start two yards in the end zone and react to anything coming at the goal line. Dantzler had outside leverage and Woods should’ve had the inside angle on St. Brown. For some reason, Woods decided to back-peddle a bit. This put him too far away to be able to react to the throw and Goff was able to squeeze it in to Amon-Ra St. Brown. Poor technique from the experience safety.

Harrison Smith - 72 snaps (100%) PFF 70.9 Harrison Smith is just solid. He is there covering up the numerous mistakes from Breeland, Alexander, Vigil, etc.

Bashaud Breeland - 72 snaps (100%) I go back and forth between loving Breeland and then hating him. He just isn’t reliable enough to be a starting CB. He did nearly make an athletic INT to end the game on the Lions’ last drive. He depends on his athleticism to bail him out and not his technique. He had a bad DPI penalty where he was in prefect position, but panicked for a moment and pushed the receiver.

Cameron Dantzler - 72 snaps (100%) PFF 80.9 Dantzler played extremely well this week. He is going to get blame from the fans for the last TD, but it was not on him. He did what was asked of him. The INT at the beginning of the 4th quarter was huge. He was solid in coverage and made the play to help keep momentum with the Vikings.

Mackenzie Alexander - 42 snaps (58%) Mac wasn’t a disaster on Sunday and that is better than most of his games this year. He, like Breeland, just makes too many mistakes to depend on.

Josh Metellus - 6 snaps (8%)

Kris Boyd - 2 snaps (3%)

This game was so poorly coached it hurts. The 4th and 10 decision at the end of the first half was bad. The clock management overall was poor. The play calling on that last drive by the Lions was atrocious. Amon-Ra St. Brown after the game said he couldn’t believe the space they gave them on 4th and goal. When/If Zim gets fired it will be easy to look at this game and see why. The season isn’t over yet and 9-8 likely gets them a Wild Card birth. That means a 4-1 finish, which isn’t impossible. Thursday night against the Steelers seems like a must win. Will the Vikes come out and fight for Zim or give up and pack in the season? We don’t have to wait long to find out.

Poll

Who was the Vikes best player on Sunday?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Justin Jefferson
    (585 votes)
  • 0%
    Alexander Mattison
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Blake Lynch
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    Cam Dantzler
    (10 votes)
  • 4%
    Kirk Cousins
    (29 votes)
634 votes total Vote Now

Last Game’s Poll Results

Adam Thielen - 40%

Ezra Cleveland - 31%

Harrison Smith - 21%

Justin Jefferson - 6%

Anthony Barr - 1%