The Vikings lost yet another heartbreaker on a missed 37-yard field goal to end the game.
It was a game, while certainly not perfect against an explosive Arizona offense, felt like the Vikings played well enough to win, and should have, but missed yet another field goal late after a key 2-minute drive to set up a game winning score.
The loss blew an overall excellent game by the offense, and a defense, while allowing a lot of yards and points to the Arizona offense, also came up with some big plays including two interceptions, one a pick six, and some key sacks that gave the offense a chance to get the win.
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Kirk Cousins. He went 22/32 for 244 yards, 3 TDs, no turnovers, what would’ve been a game winning drive, and a 122.4 passer rating. He also had a 29 yard run and finished as the Vikings 2nd leading rusher.
Dalvin Cook. 22 carries, 131 yards, 6 yards per carry. Cook was having his way with the Cardinals defense early, snapping off 10+ yard carries left and right most of the game.
Danielle Hunter. Hunter had 3 sacks, including a key sack late in the game to thwart a Cardinals drive and give the Vikings offense a chance to win the game in a 2 minute drill.
K.J. Osborn. Once again he led all Vikings receivers with 5 receptions for 91 yards, including a 64-yard TD to start the game on a blown coverage.
Nick Vigil. He had a pick six, and was generally solid the whole game.
Patrick Peterson. He was responsible for covering DeAndre Hopkins, who disappeared after the first quarter. It wasn’t clear if he had the coverage on Murray’s long TD throw to Rondale Moore, as Peterson was covering another guy, but apart from that and a TD to Hopkins early after a Murray scramble, Peterson didn’t give up much the whole game.
Cam Dantzler. He played some in relief of Bashuad Breeland, who was battling an injury during the game, and had a nice breakup of a Murray pass in the endzone, forcing a field goal, and didn’t appear to give up much else in the snaps he played.
The Offensive Line. The Vikings OL was determined to bounce back after a bad start week one, and they did so, keeping Cousins clean for the most part and opening big holes for Cook much of the game. Chandler Jones was held in check, as was JJ Watt.
Greg Joseph. Yes he made two 52 yard field goals, but missing both an extra point and the game deciding 37 yarder at the buzzer that cost the Vikings the win makes him clearly the goat.
Klint Kubiak. He started the game strong with some nice calls, and developing a good rhythm, but later when the Cardinals focused on stopping the run, he wasn’t able to pivot into more play-action or passing plays on early downs which resulted in some stalled drives.
Vikings Tackling. The Vikings had a tall task in stopping an explosive Cardinals passing attack, but they didn’t help themselves with another game of generally poor tackling, allowing extra yards at the half- and a long Cardinals field goal- and at various other points in the game that allowed the Cardinals to move the chains.
MacKensie Alexander. He gave up a key 4th down conversion, getting beat deep by Christian Kirk on a big play that put the Cardinals in first-and-goal, and didn’t do much to slow down the Cardinals passing attack all day.
Bashaud Breeland. He also gave up some big plays allowing the Cardinals to drive and pick up chunk plays throughout the game. He didn’t look 100% at times, but given Dantzler’s play, he may be at risk of losing his starting job at some point if he doesn’t pick it up.
Despite being in position to win both games late to start this season, the Vikings have emerged 0-2, which gives them a slim chance (10%) of making the playoffs at this point, according to past history. They also have a couple tough games at home against the Seahawks, whom Mike Zimmer has never beat, and the Browns, who many think will make a deep playoff run this year.
Overall, the Vikings still need to execute better defensively, and in general late in games, if they want to win. Too many times late game miscues have cost this team needed wins, including both of their first two games this season. Last week it was a controversial Dalvin Cook fumble in overtime. This week it was another missed field goal at the buzzer. Most games in the NFL come down to a few key plays, or sometimes even one key play, and the Vikings need to be on the winning side of those plays, rather than the losing side. They have the roster to play every team close, but they need to do a better job executing at critical times, whether offense, defense, or special teams.