The Vikings spiced it up this week. The Week 1 loss was a self-defeat / theft via ref nail-biter. Week 2 was also a nail-biter but the Vikes went back to that old chestnut, ye olde tried and true placekicker-missing-kicks way of losing.
Yes, yes, keep us guessing! We never know!
We all have our own ways of dealing with this. I cannot be your spirit guide. Also, do you know any good spirit guides? Can I get a phone #? I need me a spirit guide. Maybe 2. Dueling spirit guides, one just behind each shoulder. I can hear them both but they cannot hear me. Whenever they agree on the action I should take, I will do it.
Unless they both tell me to stop watching the Vikings. I will always watch them. No matter what.
We can take a lot of comfort, and some growing confidence, in the performance of individual players and units. Make no mistake, the Vikings performed great in Arizona.
I liked how Zimmer right away, instead of being bitter or angry as would be easy, pointed out that if the team plays the way they did in Arizona, we will win a lot of games. That is absolutely true.
We have a lot of interesting games and fun player improvements to look forward to.
And now, here is the Rundown:
Kirk Cousins: Fantastic game. Never Kirkers were quite upset by this game. How, oh how, could they blame everything on him? Yes, so frustrating for you anti-Kirkers. You were likely more upset by Kirk's great play than you were by the loss.
I do want to take this opportunity to address the latest false narrative on Cousins. As most of us know, the narratives keep changing. There are too many to make a thorough list but the narratives include things like can't win big games (no one could with the Redskins and then Cousins on the road in New Orleans in the play-offs in overtime led the game winning drive with perfect throws and a perfect TD pass).
Another, and there have been many, is that Cousins does not elevate the play of the players around him. That was a PFF talking head special. I kid you not, they said he did not elevate his WRs but might be able to do so if he had Top 3 pass protection! Well, every QB plays better with more time! PFF made that statement after last year when the Vikings WRs were both in the Top 5 WRs! Even with no pass protection for Cousins! So, what would elevated look like? I guess Jefferson and Thielen would have to be #1 and #2 WRs and, even then, PFF likely would credit the offensive line.
So, you see how they do. They cite a meaningless or deceptive stat or they site something subjective and insubstantial. Trying to connect Cousins to being a bad QB is like playing Six Steps to Kevin Bacon. You can always make it but it has nothing to do with Kirk Cousins or Kevin Bacon.
So, the latest!
Calling Cousins "Captain Checkdown." Yeah, no one does. It is a new made up thing.
And, surprise surprise surprise, it is total BS.
You can tell tendencies to checkdown via average yards gained per pass. That is the fairest and quickest way. You cannot checkdown to a long average. Not possible. For instance, a 17-yard out completion is not a checkdown. Honestly, screen passes are not checkdowns either though they often reduce the average yards per pass play.
So, let's start with Patrick Mahomes. Is he a "Captain Checkdown?"
Well, guess what? Mahomes' average yards per throw last year was 8.1 and Kirk Cousins' was 8.3. So Cousins is less of a checkdown captain than Mahomes. Or Mahomes is more of one if you prefer that. In truth, neither one is, but Cousins is less of one than Mahomes. Despite much worse pass protection!
Yeah, last year Cousins was the #3 QB in average yards per pass play. Each year over the last several years he has increased his average.
Keep in mind, he did this with terrible pass protection!
So, be advised, anyone defining Kirk Cousins as "Captain Checkdown" is either consciously lying or ignorant.
Great game. Great player. He had SEVEN BOOM runs of 10 yards or more. That is a rare and incredible accomplishment. Oh, he also had two more runs of 9 yards, just barely missing the BOOM, and a reception for 14 yards.
Another TD! All he does is score TDs! He is on pace to go over a thousand yards and over 120 catches. And over 24 TDS!
As expected by many, JJ is having a lesser or tougher sophomore year. There are many reasons to expect this and no one should be troubled. He dropped 3 passes, by my count, against the Cardinals. Not at all good. He dropped another against the Bengals last week. This cannot continue. Good news! It won't. Sophomore yips. He drops them when a defender is close to him. He'll get over it. Even despite this issue, he is on pace to go over 1000 yards as well.
He's for real! Celebration in the streets! He looks like the heir, in 2 or 3 years, to Thielen. We finally have a 3rd WR! Now, his numbers can't maintain at this pace. After two games his numbers are arguably better than either of the 3rd WRs from last year over the course of the entire year. At this pace, he also is set to go over a 1000 yards this year.
Can you imagine a world in which the Vikings have 3 WRs go over a 1000 yards?
A couple notes. It can't continue at this pace and that is fine. Osborn has proven himself. Hey, another brilliant 5th round pick by Rick Spielman! (Rick haters shrink down in their seats.)
Also, be prepared, there are only so many catches and yards to go around. Adjust your expectations downward for Thielen and JJ.
I find it interesting, but not telling, that the three of them are on pace to go over a 1000 yards but none of them has had a 100 yard game yet.
Not much action. It was interesting to see Ben Ellefson in there and unfortunate that Ellefson made a false start. Conklin had one last week. Fix it, Kubiak! No more false starts from TEs!
Great. I am so glad we have resigned him. (He did have a False Start though.)
Great. I'm convinced. He is the real deal. I enjoy that we have some size with him. He has always been big, strong, long-armed, and fast. His weakness, if any, or, I guess, his "average-ness" is quickness and agility. So he is really meant to be a Guard and not a Tackle. He is placed at the right spot to succeed and he is succeeding.
Plus, he has a fun name to say. Once you start saying it, you will soon be chanting it. My wife says that when I snore at night, now, just this year, it sounds like I am chanting "Oliiii Uuuuuudoooooooh". Yes, a slow hypnotic chant. We know I am also dreaming of his blocking success because she says I block the pillow next to me and, according to her, I show excellent technique. Just like Oli!
Wowzers! He was terrible in game 1 and pro bowl level in game 2. You may wonder how this can be and I have the answer. I angrily decided to watch him every single play. I wanted to document every weak, wrong, confused, or stupid thing he did. I was disappointed to find none. I was OVERJOYED to find none!
Clearly, Bradbury sensed I was watching and upped his game in response. So, you know what I have to do now. I must watch him every play every game! I will just listen to the announcers to find out what happened with the rest of the play.
I was a big proponent of drafting Bradbury before we drafted him. I graded the possible first round draft picks in 2019 before the draft and gave Bradbury an A+. I was so sure! Since then, I've been patient patient patient all the way up to this year. Then, after Game 1 I became angry angry angry.
As I walked the dog in my neighborhood, neighbors took one look at my furrowed brow and blazing red demonic eyes from anger at Bradbury and the neighbors scattered everywhere I went. One guy left his running lawn mower and ran into traffic to avoid me! (I am exaggerating. I am a good neighbor. I turned off the mower and gave the man's widow the news of what happened to him. I even told her I was really sorry. See? A good neighbor!)
But, we need to be cautious. We have a horrible Bradbury and a great Bradbury. Which is real? Likely neither. The story on Bradbury is that he can't plant and is driven back by large defenders. We'll see this Sunday. He will be up against 330 pound Al Woods at NT.
PFF is a big fan. So am I. However, I will say this. He allowed 2 sacks against the Bengals, not one as PFF claims. Any game where any player, but especially a Guard, allows 2 sacks, is a terrible game. In fact, 1 sack is a terrible game! He was worse than Bradbury in Game 1 no matter what PFF tries to tell you. He also had a holding penalty against the Bengals. Sacks and Holding penalties are drive killers so he basically helped kill 3 drives against the Bengals. See? He was terrible. No matter what he did on all the other plays, if you kill three drives, you suck.
All that said, he was fabulous against the Cardinals. And I love him like a brother!
Did anyone see no sacks for Chandler Jones coming? Las Vegas had the odds of Jones getting six sacks against the Vikings as more likely than Jones getting zero sacks!
Keep it up, Rashod!
(Pssst, Kubiak, also keep helping him out with extra blockers.)
DJ Wonnum / Stephen Weatherly
Wonnum had four hurries but Weatherly had five hurries and was in on a tackle behind the line of scrimmage. Weatherly won this battle of the RDE but they are both doing well even if they don't show much on the stat line. I am liking Weatherly in at rush DT on passing downs.
He's fine, don't buy the talk of him being a disappointment. Our whole run defense was a disappointment vs. the Bengals and good against the Cardinals. In the two games he has 5 hurries, has great push on the pocket on many other pass plays, was in on a tackle behind the line, and had a pass deflection as well. He's performing the way we expect and want, it is just that he has not shined as bright as Pierce.
Love him! I can't take my eyes of that massive ball of muscles rolling around the field stampeding blockers.
Hunter is one of my favorite players. But, I'll tell you, I was given great reason to pause the hype train after Game 1. Yes, he had a sack but that was after Reiff had demolished him over and over for three quarters and the Bengals lost respect for Hunter. So much so that they blocked him with a TE! Those fools as it turned out because that was when Hunter finally got a sack. He only had one hurry that game. He was not the Hunter I knew and loved the first 3 quarters but then turned it on for the 4th and OT.
So, I wasn't sure. I feared Hunter was diminished.
Those fears have now dissipated like a nightmare in the morning sunshine. Three sacks! Three! All of them earned sacks! Deserved sacks!
Sheldon Richardson / Armon Watts
I'm disappointed with these guys. Non-factors in Game 1 except for getting blown away by blockers. Almost as bad against the Cardinals. I think I see why the Browns released Richardson. He is not the Sheldon of 2018. Richardson had zero hurries in two games despite playing pass downs. He gets no push. Like, he does not even cross the line of scrimmage let alone get close tot he QB.
Watts looked great in training camp and preseason but that seems like a mirage now. I hope these guys prove me wrong going forward. In the meantime, I like Weatherly as rush DT and maybe we should give Lynch some snaps as well.
He's always very good or great or incredible. That's his full range. We'll see a lot of Bobby Wagner vs the Seahawks and hear even more talk about him (and from him) but I'd take Kendricks over Wagner (or any other MLB) any day of the week.
A revelation! I love this guy! What an amazing under-the-radar signing by Trader Rick. I also credit new coach (with us) Paul Guenther who likely clued Rick in on Vigil's potential.
Yes, I know, he did not play. Here is my point: He and Hunter missed all or most of last year. Lots of people said the D was the way it was because of Hunter's absence. Hunter was certainly missed big-time. But Barr maybe was missed as much because of his defensive adjustments and calls. We'll see. I predict the Vikings D shows huge improvement once Barr is back on the field.
It was a quiet game for him but our pass D was poor.
He was all right.
A real bad blown coverage and I'm not talking about the long pass to Rondale Moore. I could not tell for sure who was to blame for that one but Peterson was covering someone else who did need covering. I cannot think the coaches expected him to cover two WR who were twenty yards apart so someone else must be to blame. However, PP was slacking and eyeballing the QB when he let Hopkins score that TD. I mean, he looked bribed or something. Other than a crucial TD, he was good.
He is, by far, the greatest disappointment on the team so far. I have no explanation. He is a fighter and did force a fumble -- credit where credit is due -- but we need more from our #2 CB.
I like him. I freak out every tackle that he will be dragged for twenty yards. He is so dang skinny! This may be the game to start him. Tyler Lockett is the WR version of Dantzler. Super skinny. Breeland had some kind of injury on Sunday. So, give him a game to rest and see if we can get more out of Dantzler.
Let's beat these Seahawks! We owe them a defeat (or seven).
It's time to use our luck! Defeat the Seahawks!
We should try to do all that we did against the Cardinals except for better pass D this week. And no missed kicks!