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Oct 04

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2015 Week Four: Vikings vs Broncos

I hate having to wait until the afternoon or evening to watch the Vikings. Firstly, I’m not a patient person. Secondly, nothing good ever happens when the Vikings don’t play at noon. Now, sometimes terrible things happen at noon, too… but the later the team plays the worse they are. Today, it looked like the Vikings were going to reverse that trend. For a while. But, in the end, they lost. And while the game was competitive, we saw some of the same old problems we’ve seen week after week: terrible o-line play, sloppy tackling and Blair Walsh’s mental performance issues continue to plague.

But, there was some good stuff, too. Let’s break it down.

Excellent 1st start for this rookie.

Excellent 1st start for this rookie.

The Good

  • The Vikings defense was able to hold the Broncos to a field goal on their first offensive drive through pressure on Manning and a near interception from Blanton.
  • A pass from Teddy to Mike Wallace kept the 2nd offensive drive alive; it had been at risk of a 3-and-out. A quarterback sneak on a 4th and short kept it going for a 2nd time. And a long pass to Mike Wallace for a 2nd time kept the drive alive… all for naught, though, since a big sack (the 3rd of the short game) on Teddy killed it.
  • On the Broncos’ 2nd offensive drive, the Vikings’ defense held strong and were aided by the Broncos’ penalty meltdown. Kendricks had a great sack on the aged QB to force them into a punt at their goal line.
  • In the 3rd offensive drive for the Vikings, the o-line was fairly terrible, but Teddy mostly kept his composure and had a hell of a pass to Diggs to keep the drive going, just in time for Blair Walsh to completely miss a 38 yard field goal.
  • Diggs was instrumental throughout the game. Quite a beginning for his first professional NFL game.
  • Blair Walsh managed to make a field goal at the end of the 2nd quarter. Collectively, Vikings Nation held our breath as we watching him approach the ball to kick. Praise be to Odin, he snuck it through the uprights.
  • Anthony Barr had a great interception at the end of the 2nd quarter. I find it more amusing when Eli Manning gets intercepted. I love his sad Eli face. Peyton’s head hanging low will have to do for this game.
  • Mike Wallace was wide open and caught a laser from Teddy in the end zone, bringing the Vikings within 3 as they headed into the locker room for half-time.
  • Blair Walsh fails again - this time with devastating consequences.

    Blair Walsh fails again – this time with devastating consequences.

    Shout out to Teddy who never gave up (despite a lackluster o-line performance), kept his composure and maintained his focus. Tough job for a 2nd year quarterback.

  • Hodges had some good tackles when defending the run.
  • Harrison Smith let Damaryius Thomas know that he was on the field, putting an end to the Bronco’s 2nd offensive drive of the 2nd half.
  • Anthony Barr was all over the place on rushing plays, many times bringing a runner down with just a hold on his feet.
  • 4th and inches with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter…. and the horrible o-line manages to make a hole… and Peterson runs through it and into the end zone. Way to wake up from a nap! (Peterson… not me… I’ve been paying attention the whole game).
  • Harrison Smith had a great interception with 9:07 left in the 4th quarter. Good way to create some momentum for the Vikings on the road. The Vikings offense ended up with a field goal, which is less than desirable, but it tied the game.

The Bad

  • The o-line completely failed during the first offensive drive, allowing Teddy to be sacked. You could see it coming and the o-line totally collapsed, losing 13 yards in the process.
  • On the 2nd offensive drive, Bridgewater had all the time in the world to throw a pass and successfully did so, if you consider throwing the ball high enough and long enough for a fan in the stands to catch it. I’m being somewhat hyperbolic… but it was close.
  • The Vikings defense was a sloppy mess to start the 3rd quarter, allowing the Broncos to march down the field (aided by several penalties by the Vikings). It looked like the Vikings were going to make an impressive goal line stand… until the Broncos went for it on 4th and goal and Manning did a sweet little pass to the left… where he had a completely open receiver getting a pedicure as the Vikings defense bunched up in the center of the end zone… and committed holding to boot.
No, I say. These things are not good.

No, I say. These things are not good.

The Ugly

  • The offensive line couldn’t stop the Broncos’ defensive pass rush. They applied pressure, they blitzed and our o-line collapsed like an underdone soufflé.
  • After Blair Walsh’s complete and utter miss on the field goal, the Vikings’ defense let the first rushing play go for 72 yards… right into the end zone.
  • The receiving corps leaves a lot to be desired. Not a lot of separation, unable to beat man on man coverage. If the Vikings are going to reach their full potential, those receivers are going to have to find a way to beat the coverage.
  • While well-conceived, the direct snap to Peterson went nowhere. Because the offensive line was terrible.
  • Xavier Rhodes had 4 penalties today. And they were costly. I have to ask: did they return him to play too soon after the collision with Sendejo? Because he didn’t look effective out there and worse, he cost the team yardage that they needed.

The Inexplicable

  • Blair Walsh. I get that he sucks. That’s not the inexplicable part. What I want to know is why the hell is he still on my team? The Vikings really should bring in someone to compete against him. According to a discussion I had with Kluwe on Twitter, Walsh’s issue is mental. So… maybe competing will get him in better head space… or maybe it’d be the nail in the coffin. Either way we’d end up with a better kicker.
  • The Offensive Line: Matt Kalil, Brandon Fusco, Joe Berger, TJ Clemmings and Mike Harris, I’m talking to you. And, by extension, I’m talking to anyone the Vikings used to help on pass protection and rushing plays. The o-line effort today was atrocious. A total embarrassment. Which leads me to…
  • Teddy Bridgewater was sacked 7 times during the game. What kind of incompetency does an o-line need to have to allow that? Zimmer better fix that.

So… we’re left to contemplate what would have happened in Overtime if Blair Walsh had just made the 38 yard chip shot field goal in the first half.  We’ll shake off this disappointing and needless loss as we think about week 6. Because the Vikings have a bye next week, which from my perspective, isn’t good after this loss. We’ll see if they can win their next game at home.

Until 2 weeks from now, thanks for reading. And vote below before you go!

 

 

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