When LaMarcus Adna Thompson secured U.S Patent No. 332,762 for the Gravity Switch Back Railway (a precursor to the modern roller coaster) on December 22, 1885, Coney Island had been operating for about a year. When the Vikings game kicked off in London, we had no idea that the winding roller coaster we were about to sit on would feel like it lasted about a year. And yet, the Vikings rode the ups and downs to a 28-25 victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
In the span of one game, the Vikings reached heights that give us optimism for a great season, suffered dips that give us cause for concern, and reminded us why Justin Jefferson is one of the best receivers in the league. Here we take a quick look at the good, the bad, and the Griddy from a pulse raising Week 4 win.
The Vikings roller coaster got off to a smooth start. After two weeks of having issues with man coverage, Minnesota started the game with multiple man coverage beaters, won away from Justin Jefferson, and ended up with six points on the board:
Vikings came out strong on their first drive today:— Shawn (@syedschemes) October 2, 2022
-multiple man coverage beaters
-put Jefferson in advantageous looks
-get 7 points to open the gamehttps://t.co/KxIzcnBhkv
On defense, it was encouraging to see Cameron Dantzler have three pass break ups including a huge play late in the game on a deep throw to Chris Olave:
The special teams unit, led by great press conferencer Matt Daniels, helped give the Vikings momentum with a forced fumble and a beautiful fake punt:
Nice design on the 4th down fake punt for the Vikings:— Shawn (@syedschemes) October 2, 2022
-motion the gunner in to force the defender off before breaking out
-Ryan Wright throws to Jalen Nailor for his first career catch
-KOC said prior looks confirmed what they would have and Matt Daniels (STC) suggested this one pic.twitter.com/uxcsCHYZEY
Despite being a Vikings writer, I tend to consider myself an optimistic person. Week 4 tested the remaining optimism Vikings fan may have with red zone issues and an interception that Kirk Cousins would surely like to take back.
After the defense forced two straight punts, Tyrann Mathieu picked off a pass intended for Irv Smith. The Saints had seen Jefferson motion to the slot and run choice routes earlier in the season and were prepared for it.
On this play, the Cornerback looked like he was in Palms or 2 read coverage. In these coverages, the release of the slot determines the Cornerback’s responsibility. As Jefferson broke out on his choice route, the Cornerback trapped the flat and forced Cousins off his first read. Cousins stayed to the same side of the field and tried to squeeze the ball into the vertical route only to end up with an interception.
After the interception, the Vikings continued to make life hard for themselves. As the second quarter was nearing a close, Minnesota faced a third and one. Kevin O’Connell dialed up a good look for the offense that ended up in an incompletion:
Nice design for the Vikings needing 1 yard. They had a TD to the TE on a similar play earlier in the season pic.twitter.com/486NVfScq4— Shawn (@syedschemes) October 2, 2022
Not to be outdone by a first half red zone issue, the Vikings carried the negativity into the second half. After recovering a fumble and executing on a big play to Justin Jefferson, Minnesota had back to back looks at a touchdown but came away only with a field goal:
Jefferson open in the end zone but the Saints get pressure in Cousins' face pic.twitter.com/P88LFrkVkD— Shawn (@syedschemes) October 2, 2022
Looks like Jefferson breaks open with the CB redirecting and working to the shallow pic.twitter.com/LnPO89meBR— Shawn (@syedschemes) October 2, 2022
After two frustrating weeks, Justin Jefferson took flight against the Saints. Starting with a 10 yard catch on the opening play of the game, Jefferson won in man coverage, was put in advantageous situations, and even had a rushing touchdown. Take a look at this thread to see all of the ways Justin Jefferson was used on the way to 10 catches, 147 yards, and a rushing touchdown:
Justin Jefferson thread in a Week 4 win over the Saints:— Shawn (@syedschemes) October 2, 2022
-10 for 147 on 13 targets (and had room for more!), rush TD
-won against man coverage
-put in advantageous spots
-showed great route running
As the Vikings exit a roller coaster Week 4, we are reminded of the highs and lows of an American football game. Lucky for us, this one double doinked in our favor.