At halftime, as I was contemplating how stupid the fumble-out-the-back-of-the-endzone-touchback rule is, I texted my good friend (a lifelong Packers fan), these words:
“Honestly, I think the Vikings are playing better than the Eagles. If they don’t turn it over again in the second half, they’ll win this game.”
Whether or not I was right about the Vikings outplaying the Eagles in the first half, I neglected to knock on anything made of wood after I spoke into existence the fate of the Vikings coming out of the break. Of course, on the second play of the drive, we all got to watch Oli “Darrishaw” Udoh get beat around the edge by Josh Sweat (who had 5 other QB hits, by the way), who then proceeded to strip the ball from Kirk as he brought him to the ground. Another Jalen Hurts rugby-style touchdown, a Vikings three-and-out, and a long bomb to DeVonta Smith later, we’re suddenly staring down the barrel of a three-touchdown shotgun being held by “Philly native” DeAndre Swift. No one expected the Vikings to win this one, but it hurts especially bad that they could have won if they hadn’t had so many self-inflicted wounds. Ugh. Here’s the Stock Market Report.
Blue Chip Stocks
Kirk Cousins - Honestly, it’s hard to find things to nitpick from Kirk in this one. I thought he played very well, even when the Eagles knew he was going to be passing. Not only were the Vikings down by multiple scores in the second half, but the running game has been nonexistent for this team to begin with. The Eagles knew Kirk was going to be throwing, and he still carved them up to the tune of 364 yards and four touchdowns. The touchdown to Addison is one of the best plays I’ve ever seen Cousins make.
Justin Jefferson - This man is insanely talented. Every time he catches a pass, it looks like he’s trying to do anything he possibly can to score, almost to a fault, as we saw with the touchback fumble. I’m not mad a him for that, but if he scores there, this game is so much different. But still, 11 catches for 159 yards is elite, in my opinion.
TJ Hockenson - Hock got a lot of looks on Thursday, finishing with two touchdowns and seven catches. He’s proven to be a reliable target for Kirk.
Danielle Hunter - Again, I’m glad we kept him around. Three sacks on one of the more mobile quarterbacks in the league, against one of the best offensive lines in the league is pretty darn good. He also had what could have been a game changing play, sacking Hurts and knocking the Eagles out of field goal range. This play came at a clutch moment and kept the Vikings’ hopes alive.
Jordan Hicks - This dude seemed to always bee in the right place at the right time. One play in particular that stood out to me was a read-option that Jalen Hurts took, and Hicks defended it perfectly, bringing him down at the line of scrimmage. It was a great performance from Hicks.
Jordan Addison - Another game, another long touchdown. Addison is exactly as advertised so far, and I couldn’t be more pleased.
David Quessenberry - Quessenberry came off the bench as the third-string left tackle, and actually held his own. I might even argue that he outplayed Udoh. Did he get away with an egregious hold on the Osborn touchdown play? Yeah, probably. Did he get called for it? Nope! I’ll take this performance from the third stringer.
Alexander Mattison - Run blocking can shoulder a lot of the blame for Mattison’s lackluster performances over the first two games, but Alex needs to take some credit too. He finished the game with only 28 yards, and was directly responsible for one of the four Vikings’ turnovers. I want him to be successful, but he’s just not a back that can do it without great blocking, and I don’t see any of that coming any time soon.
The Offensive Line - I got a lot of flak in the comments last week for blasting the interior offensive line, and you know what? I’m willing to admit that I might have been too critical, at least with pass protection. Going up against one of the best defensive lines in the league without Bradbury or Darrisaw on Thursday, I think the line held their own, and put up a decent performance given the circumstances. I still stand by my take that they need to add a guard or center.
Buy - This game gives us hope. Despite being down three scores in the second half, the Vikings still fought tooth and nail to give themselves a chance to get back in it. They were still fun to watch, and there’s no way that this ugly turnover trend can continue.
Sell - This game gives us hope. As good as the passing offense and defense were, the running offense and defense were horrible. That’s got to change if the Vikings want to get anywhere this season.
Buy - The touchback rule should be changed. I don’t know, man. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, It always confuses me. Should Jefferson just not try to score? I feel like if the NFL wants more exciting plays, they need to eliminate a rule that discourages players from trying to make an exciting play. But what do I know?
Sell - Jefferson should be faulted for fumbling. Along those same lines, I like that Jefferson tried to score and put the Vikings up at the half. Anywhere else on the field, the ball falls out of bounds harmlessly. If that play winds up a touchdown instead of a touchback, I think the Vikings win the game.
Buy - Starting Kirk in my fantasy league. Did I start Kirk mainly to spite my Packers-loving friend? Yes. Is my team named “Lightning McKirk”? Possibly. Did I make a graphic of Kirk Cousins riding on top of Lightning McQueen over the field of US Bank Stadium? ... Unfortunately, yes. Did starting Kirk pay off? Absolutely.
Thanks for dropping by for this week’s Stock Market Report. Be sure to put yours in the comments.