What the heck happened out there?
What went wrong?
Interior OL – stop me if you’ve heard this before. Bradbury went down early with a back injury early and the guards were terrible. Austin Schlottmann overall filled in decently. Cleveland was poor in pass protection, but decent in the run game. Ingram was a disaster in every possible way. He slapped the ball out of Cousins hands to cause the first turnover. He allowed pressure constantly in the passing game. Overall the Interior OL is likely going to stop this team from being a contender and today is exhibit A.
Ball Security – Cousins first fumble was knocked out of his hands by Ed Ingram. The 2nd was a Antoine Winfield Jr coming unblocked and knocking the ball away. Kirk probably should’ve recognized this pre snap, but the protection wasn’t there either. The 3rd turnover was probably 60/40 on KJ/Kirk. The ball was behind KJ in the redzone and there isn’t enough space down there to have poor ball placement. KJ needs to at a minimum make than an incomplete pass. He wasn’t able to strong arm the ball in and got it taken away by the smallest player on the field.
KJ Osborn – KJ saw the team draft a rookie WR in round 1 because he wasn’t able to step up and claim the WR2 spot last season with Thielen missing time. He had 3 catches for 31 yards on 6 targets and let undrafted Izein take the ball away from him in a key spot. KJ has had some nice games in the past, but this was not one of them.
Alexander Mattison – The Vikings got nothing from the run game all day. The lack of explosion compared to Cook is glaringly obvious. The Bucs were able to key in on pass rush because the Vikings had no threat on the ground. The team only rushed the ball 14 times in a close game. KOC has fallen in love with the passing game and it’s hard to win playing unbalanced football.
Play Calling – The offense was so predictable. The same old TE screens to lose yards and kill the drive were in play. The final two drives were three and out and combined for 6 total yards. Both of those drives started off with negative TE screens to TJ Hockenson. I enjoy TJ too, but he’s not who I want a quick screen to go to. JJ and Addison need to see those opportunities, not the easiest player to tackle on the field.
What went right?
Justin Jefferson – JJ looked really good, especially in the 1st half. He tallied 150 yards and was the brightest spot on offense. There was a chance in the 4th to hit JJ on a deep ball that Kirk missed and that would’ve made that stat line look a lot better. For some reason, KOC doesn’t look his way in the red zone. With the poor performance inside the 20, maybe that needs to change. JJ doesn’t get enough looks for TDs.
Danielle Hunter – Danielle looked like a man that wants to get paid this offseason. It’s likely his last year in Minnesota and I’ll be sad to see him go. He got the Vikings’ only sack of the day and was constantly a disruption. He added another tackle for loss, a knocked down pass and I tallied he was in on 6 run stops. Danielle was the best player on the field for the Vikings today.
Defense – Overall I thought the defense played fairly well. They held the Bucs to only 242 yards and kept the team in a game where the offense gave the ball away 3 times. The pass rush was decent without Marcus Davenport and the secondary was surprisingly competent. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are not easy to cover and the defense held them in check. Brian Flores did well piecing together the young players in his first game in Minnesota.
Jordan Addison – Addison didn’t have a monster game, but for his first NFL game he did nicely. He blew by the defense to get the first TD of the season and if Kirk had more time, he would likely get more than his 61 yards. Well done rookie. Looking forward to seeing how Addison develops going forward.