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Minnesota Vikings Weekly Player Recap: Week 3, 2021

Vikes take down the Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

What a great victory! 2nd half shutout from the defense. Scoring drive after scoring drive from the offense. Dominate in time of possession. The game wasn’t close and that is the best performance I’ve seen from the team in a long time. The win wasn’t because of the other team playing poorly, it was from the Vikings playing extremely well. I hope we keep it rolling next week against Cleveland. Two more home games coming up and that could mean a few more nice games.


Kirk Cousins - 75 snaps (100%) 30/38 for 323 and 3 TDs, QBR 93.3, Passer Rating 128.4 What a game from Kirk. I missed last week, but he has put this team in a position to win each week this year. This time he didn’t leave any doubt. I thought there was a point in the beginning of the 2nd quarter where it turned around for Kirk. The offense went 3 and out on their 2nd drive and were about to go 3 and out again on the 3rd drive and the team was down by 10. They Vikings caught break with a hold on the defense to extend the drive. Kirk orchestrated a drive to get a TD even after a red zone holding penalty from Bradbury. It was a huge turning point and the Vikings went on a 23-0 run to end the game from that penalty on. You saw some emotion from Kirk after rocketing that TD into Thielen on 3rd and goal. I loved it. This is who I want to see every single f***ing week. Only criticism has to be settling for 3 field goals in the 2nd half and not being able to punch one in for another TD. Not all Kirk’s fault and I think we’re going to win a lot of games if he continues to play like this. He’s the runaway player of the week. PFF Grade 82.5 this week, good for 2nd best on offense.


Alexander Mattison - 51 snaps (68%) 26 carries for 112 yards; 6 receptions for 59 yards (8 targets). I thought Mattison played very well. He isn’t as explosive as Cook, but not many are. He is a consistent runner that generally will run where the play is designed. He had some very nice cut backs last night to get some longer runs.

C.J. Ham - 22 snaps (29%) 2 carries for 2 yards. CJ Ham is becoming less important in this offense. I like that. We need to move more towards a QB centric offense and allow Cousins to play like he did on Sunday. The running game was a complement to the passing offense and not the other way around. CJ did have some nice blocks in the run game to open up cutback lanes for Mattison. PFF 54.4 seems to make sense.

Ameer Abdullah - 22 snaps (29%) 5 carries for 24 yards. Abdullah plays well every time he gets to opportunity. I was surprised to see he only got 5 touches, I thought he had more. Good to have him around. He fits well in this role if Cook is playing or not.


Adam Thielen - 72 snaps (96%) 6 catches for 50 yards and 1 TD (9 targets). He had a really nice TD catch on that 2nd drive. 4 of his 6 receptions were for a 1st down or a TD. He is a reliable target and one of the best red zone targets in the league. He makes catches that most WRs do not. He is reliable and fully comfortable not being the #1 option. It wasn’t a marquee game from Thielen, but it was one where he contributed to the win. PFF 73.6

Justin Jefferson - 62 snaps (83%) 9 catches for 118 yards and 1 TD (11 targets). JJ is fun to watch. That move he made on the goal line for his TD was nasty. He is so quick. Meaning he can go from 0 to full speed in a blink of an eye and make devastating moves on CBs. He had one drop, but he didn’t let that bother him. He bounces right back and scored a TD a few plays later. JJ and Thielen are a perfect complement to each other. PFF 88.5 this week is the best on the team.

K.J. Osborn - 44 snaps (59%) 2 catches for 26 yards (2 targets). KJ is a solid WR 3. I had some doubts and was excited to see Dede come in prior to the start of the season. 2 catches: 3rd and 5 for 11 yards, 3rd and 5 for 15 yards. That is exactly what you need from your WR 3. He did his job this week.

Dede Westbrook - 6 snaps (8%) No targets for Dede and some really poor punt returns. I don’t think he sees much action if the top 3 WRs keep playing this well.

TEs -

Tyler Conklin - 54 snaps (72%) 7 catches for 70 yards and 1 TD (8 targets). Conklin played very well. He had some plays. His 70 yards were all useful yards (not 7 yard catches on 3rd and 15). He is becoming a reliable target for Cousins. He isn’t going to blow you away with athleticism, but he could be a Rudy replacement. Irv isn’t coming back anytime soon so Tyler will get his chance to keep showing us what he can do. It’s a contract year for Gronklin and I’d like to see more of this. PFF 79.5 is really solid from the TE.

Ben Ellefson - 30 snaps (40%) No targets for Ben. Mostly used a a blocker and not much else. I am not too optimistic about Ben developing into anything more than this. PFF 49.9 makes sense to me. Hoping Herndon takes his spot.

Chris Herndon - 12 snaps (16%) I have to think Herndon isn’t up to speed at this point with Ellefson playing more than him. I think we should expect to see more of Chris coming out of the bye in a month.

OL - 9 pressures given up on 39 drop backs

Rashod Hill - 75 snaps (100%) I thought it was a bounce back game for Hill after being pretty bad this first two weeks. The OL played well and that includes Hill. 3 pressures given up.

Ezra Cleveland - 75 snaps (100%) I thought Ezra played well. My favorite play is a screen pass to Mattison where Ezra took out Bobby Wagner 15 yards down the field. I thought he was effective in both the pass and rushing game this week. Surprised to see a PFF grade of 49.7 for Cleveland. I thought he played much better getting to the 2nd level of the defense. 2 pressures given up isn’t terrible.

Garrett Bradbury - 75 snaps (100%) I think everyone on the OL had a great performance with exception to Bradbury. Bradbury wasn’t terrible, but he did have a holding penalty in the red zone that could’ve ended a drive and gave up the only sack of the week. 1 pressure given up.

Oli Udoh - 75 snaps (100%) Udoh puts in another solid performance. He had 0 mistakes this week and I thought was very effective, especially in the run game. There were cutback lanes for Mattison opened up by the strong play at both OG spots. PFF grade of 80.1 this week. 3rd best on offense and best OL of the week! 1 pressure given up on 39 drop backs.

Brian O’Neil - 75 snaps (100%) 0 pressures on 126 pass blocking snaps this year. Brian is earning his contract. He played well last week as well. Best OL on the team and not just by default. I think he is becoming one of the top RT (after my complaining about his contract). Still think the contract is rich, but if he keeps playing like this I will have to shut up about that. PFF 73.7 consistency is key.

DL -

Danielle Hunter - 51 snaps (96%) Danielle was ok this week. I have to say I don’t understand playing any DE 96% of the snaps. I think playing this much makes it hard to expect him to be truly effective. I have to think it was because Zim needed someone to set the edge against Russ and he trusted Hunter to do it. PFF grade 81.9 rewards Hunter for his efforts. 7 pressures from Hunter is more than I thought he had (86.0 pass rush grade). He just didn’t quite get there for the sack.

Everson Griffen - 34 snaps (64%) Sack Daddy is back. I can’t be the only one that jumped up off the couch and did the dance with Everson. The sack was big too. It was a 2nd and 10 on the Seahawks first drive of the 2nd half. He put them in 3rd and 19 and basically ended the drive. That sack was the play after putting pressure on Russ to force a throw away. The roughing the passer penalty was kind of dumb, but also kind of ticky tac. I think Everson set the edge well against Wilson and that helped keep the QB contained. 3 pressures from Griffen including that sack.

D.J. Wonnum - 34 snaps (64%) Not much to speak of from Wonnum. He is a good rotational player, but not someone that is going to come in and disrupt the offense.

Sheldon Richardson - 26 snaps (49%) Sheldon played just under half the snaps and recorded 0 tackles and 1 pressure. He hasn’t looked the same as his first time around with the team. Can’t complain too much about the DL this week with the job they did on Russ, but I am hoping for a little more juice from Sheldon. 2 pressures from Richardson this week.

Dalvin Tomlinson - 25 snaps (47%) The work Tomlinson does is sneaky. He takes up blockers and allows Kendricks/Vigil to do their jobs against the run. He played less this week with Seattle needing to pass more in the 2nd half. PFF grade 84.7 shows the good work he put in. 2 pressures from the NT spot is big.

Michael Pierce - 21 snaps (40%) Surprised to see Richardson play more than Pierce. I think Pierce didn’t have much of an impact this week because he wasn’t out there as much. Hoping to see him get back to disrupting the interior soon. PFF 68.3 rewards him for getting 3 pressures from the interior.

Stephen Weatherly - 8 snaps (15%) The more I see Weatherly play the more I am glad it was the Panthers that gave him the big contract and not the Vikings. He isn’t effective at all and likely will see diminishing playing time going forward.

Armon Watts - 8 snaps (15%) Didn’t notice Watts out there TBH. He’s just coming in to provide rest.


Eric Kendricks - 53 snaps (100%) Kendricks continues his excellent play. He had a sack on the Seahawks final real drive of the game to help force a turnover on downs a few plays later. He also had a really nice tackle for a loss on a 2nd and short to make it 3rd and long, which led to a punt a few plays later. Kendricks quietly makes the plays that end drives. He is one of the best LBs in the game week in and week out. Solid coverage skills, solid tackling and high level football IQ. There was one mistake I saw where Kendricks read the RB going between the LG and C and the RB went between the LT and LG. It went for a big gain, but other than that, I didn’t see anything I didn’t like.

Nick Vigil - 53 snaps (100%) Vigil is stepping up huge in Barr’s absence. I will actually be sad if Barr comes back and Vigil rides the pine. He isn’t the tackling machine like Kendricks, but he is solid. Hoping to see a rotation when Barr comes back and not a 100% replacement. 1 QB pressure on a blitz.

Blake Lynch - 9 snaps (17%) Nothing much to speak of from Lynch. He’ll likely be back on the bench if Barr comes back next week. Lynch has had limited opportunities the first three weeks.

DBs - Have to say the first few drives were weak, but after that is was nice. 93 of Russ’s 298 yards were meaningless (end of 1st and 2nd halves). Strong performance overall after a slow start.

Xavier Woods - 53 snaps (100%) I think Woods was solid keeping the deep passing attack from the Seahawks down. Woods had a chance at a pick after a weirdly timed jump from DK Metcalf. Woods is reliable at safety and that is exactly what you need to allow Harrison Smith do his work. PFF 32.1 is the worst on the team by a good bit. I didn’t see it TBH. I think those garbage time plays impact the grades sometimes too harshly.

Patrick Peterson - 53 snaps (100%) Peterson got burned by Metcalf for a first down, but after that I thought Peterson played well. It is a tough ask against Seattle’s WRs and overall P2 held his own. PFF 69.6 good for 4th best on defense.

Harrison Smith - 53 snaps (100%) Harrison was all over the field helping contain the run/short passing game. He had 8 total tackles and was in on the coverage to force the turnover on downs on the Seahawks last real drive. He’s playing well and I can’t complain one bit. PFF grade 78.3 good for 3rd best on defense.

Bashaud Breeland - 53 snaps (100%) Breeland played very well this week after some poor performances the first two weeks. I was surprised to see Breeland play over Dantzler again, but I think it was ok. It helps the DL was getting pressure and not asking the CBs to cover for 5+ seconds every play. He did get beat for the Metcalf TD, but other than that he held up well. PFF 49.8 this week, 2nd worst on defense. The first half really impacted his grade negatively.

Mackenzie Alexander - 44 snaps (83%) Mack also had a nice bounce back week. He was solid in coverage all day and Zim stayed in Nickel for most of the game. I hope Mack can keep up the good work. PFF 51.8 this week 3rd worst on defense, I thought was a bit harsh.

Cameron Bynum - 5 snaps (9%) I think Cam came in at the end of the halves to just help play prevent defense.

Cameron Dantzler - 0 snaps. I have to be honest, I was surprised to see Dantzler not get some playing time after performing well stepping in for Breeland last week. He was clearly upset about it after the game with a now deleted tweet, “I’m tired of biting my tongue about this whole situation fr.....” The young CB isn’t happy and I can’t blame him.

Overall I thought the team played very well as a whole. I like the game plan coming in. The team was more aggressive in the passing game and I hope the team doesn’t lose sight of this when Cook is coming back. Dalvin is a great running back. His body cannot hold up being the focal point of the offense and quite frankly, that isn’t a winning formula anymore. Look at the Panthers with Christian McCaffrey. They’ve had the same limited success when relying heavily on McCaffrey and similar injury issues. The team should rotate Mattison in more and let Cousins make things happen. The OL finally looks to be able to block enough for Cousins to have time to throw. The pass catching weapons are strong and the Vikings need to keep utilizing them. The first victory of the season is a few weeks later than we hoped, but it does give us some hope for the team. It’s a long season, 7 more home games to come including the next two games. Skol


Who was the best player (coach) of the week for the Vikings?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Kirk Cousins
    (947 votes)
  • 0%
    Everson Griffen
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Eric Kendricks
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    Justin Jefferson
    (17 votes)
  • 4%
    Alexander Mattison
    (54 votes)
  • 6%
    Clint Kubiak
    (67 votes)
1100 votes total Vote Now