All of last season, it felt like the Vikings were winning games with their offense despite the porous defense. On Sunday, it was the opposite. The offense disappearing for large chunks of the game is nothing new to us seasoned Minnesota Vikings fans, but the disappearing act that we saw after halftime was hard to stomach. Had the defense followed suit, we would be mourning a loss to the Bears. But, despite the lackluster offensive performance, the Vikings leaned on their rejuvenated defense and pulled out a victory. This can’t be a strategy the Vikings employ the rest of the way, but they got it done, and a win is a win. This week’s SMR follows.
Blue Chip Stocks
Christian Darrisaw - It’s about time I give some love to one of the best players on this team. Darrisaw has been the highest graded tackle in the league according to PFF both this week and last week, and has the highest composite score of any tackle over the first six games.
Jordan Hicks - A guy whose been having a really solid season so far did a great job of taking advantage of a couple of opportunities that came his way on Sunday. Hicks caught a decently difficult over-the-shoulder interception off a disrupted Justin Fields throw, and also housed a fumbled ball that was popped free by Josh Metellus. Along with his ten tackles, this performance is enough for me to give him the Blue Chip this week.
KJ Osborn and Jordan Addison - These two receivers did a serviceable job filling the void left by Justin Jefferson. Hopefully they can both continue to get open (and not drop any passes) next week against a stingy 49ers defense.
DJ Wonnum - Wonnum had perhaps the best game of his career, one that included a sack on the first play of the game. He compiled an overall 74.5 PFF grade, good for the second best grade on the defense. With Davenport potentially going on IR, its good to see Wonnum playing well.
Josh Metellus - Another player having a potential career-best game was Metellus. He seemed to always be around the ball, and, according to PFF, performed the best by far on the Vikings in terms of pass rushing, garnering an 87.3 grade in that department. He finished with eight tackles, a sack, two TFLs, and three QB hits. He also forced the fumble that Hicks returned for a touchdown.
The Second Half Offense - Yikes, man. The offense was anemic most of the game, but the second half was truly atrocious. In the second half, they only mustered 58 yards, two first downs, and zero points. Luckily, the defense bailed them out, but the offense can’t play like that and expect to beat any team other than the Bears.
TJ Hockenson - Hockenson has been somewhat underwhelming this season, especially when you consider that he’s the highest paid player at his position. He had another drop on Sunday, but still led the team in receptions and yardage. We know TJ’s potential, but it’s been a bit frustrating to see him struggle so far. But, that can be said of the team as a whole. We’re just going to have to wait and see this one through, and we should anticipate better performances from him as the season goes on.
Buy / Sell
Buy - This was the Vikings’ worst offensive game of the season. It was a pretty pathetic showing by the offense in this one, especially considering the fact that they were playing the Bears. Jefferson’s absence surely played a role in the lackluster performance by Kirk and co. The running game reverted back to what we saw in the season’s first two games, squeaking out only 46 rushing yards.
Sell - The Vikings need Justin Jefferson in order to run an effective offense. No matter how much they miss JJ, the offense still has a plethora of weapons to choose from. If they want to beat the 49ers, Kirk, Jordan, TJ, and one of the running backs are going to have to step up and produce. Jefferson is the best in the game, but the Vikings (theoretically) still have enough weapons to be effective without him.
Thanks for reading this week! Leave your assessments in the comments.