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Nov 15

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2015 Week Ten: Vikings vs Raiders

The Raiders have been heating up while the Vikings have been steadily climbing quietly week over week. Zimmer wanted to start strong – and the Vikings delivered, marching down the field to score a passing TD from Teddy to Rhett Ellison. The Vikings’ offense was pretty quiet for most of the game, but Adrian Peterson put the nail in the coffin for the Raiders with an 80 yard rushing TD. This was a great win for the Vikings today.

Let’s break it down.

Derek Carr hadn't been sacked in the last 3 games. Until Everson Griffen came along.

Derek Carr hadn’t been sacked in the last 3 games. Until Everson Griffen came along.

The Good

  • The Packers failed to complete a 2 point conversion and Mason Crosby shanked a field goal…. so they lost to the (now) 2-7 Lions. DELICIOUS. And unrelated to the Vikings’ game…. but I couldn’t help celebrating for a moment with you. Lions hadn’t won at Lambeau since 1991. Hahahahaha. #Schadenfreude
  • The Vikings first offensive drive resulted in a pretty TD from Teddy to Rhett Ellison. Weak tackling on the part of the Raiders ensured that Ellison made it into the end zone.
  • Terrence Newman got an INT in the mid-1st quarter. He jumped a route and made a terrific play. Mike Wallace had a tremendous catch and yards after the catch on the first down immediately following. Great acceleration.
  • Harrison Smith’s effort was excellent, as per the usual.
  • The Cordarrelle Patterson sighting this week brought some extra excitement, ending in a lovely TD and extra point.
  • The Vikings defense, with outstanding effort by Newman and Griffen, forced the Raiders to punt on their 1st offensive drive of the 2nd half.
  • The Vikings offense was completely stalled deep in their own territory to start the 2nd half. Teddy improvised with a shovel pass to Asiata to get them a ways out from their end zone. It wasn’t enough for a 1st down, but gave the Vikings some breathing space and Marcus Sherels made a terrific tackle on the Raiders’ punt returner, preventing additional yardage after the catch.
  • Stefon Diggs is amazing. 37 yard gain late in the 2nd half and the effort he displayed was excellent. Why he isn’t a bigger part of the offense is beyond my comprehension. Norv Turner… clearly not an offensive mastermind.
  • Blair Walsh, after missing 2 field goals, made his next effort, giving the Vikings a 23-14 lead with 3:50 left in the game.
  • Antone Exum made a spectacular open field tackle on an unruly fan late in the 4th quarter. He looked very amused in the aftermath as the fan was cuffed by security.
  • Terence Newman had a 2nd INT late in the 4th quarter. This one? IN THE END ZONE. You go, Terence Newman! 37 and he’s still got it!
  • Adrian Peterson held onto the ball and ran 80 yards for the game sealing TD. In exceeding 200 yards rushing in today’s game, AD tied OJ Simpson (at 6 each) for most 200+ yard rushing games. Let’s hope he sets the record next week against the Packers.
Is it just me, or does it sometimes feel like Ponder never left with the way the offensive drives peter out and end in field goals, at best?

Is it just me, or does it sometimes feel like Ponder never left with the way the offensive drives peter out and end in field goals, at best?

The Bad

  • The offensive line was weak on the 2nd drive. Teddy was pressured and took a hard hit as he let the ball go. It fell incomplete and Teddy bounced up, but the lack of movement in the running game was not helping the passing efforts of the offense. The net result of the drive was a punt, which went into the end zone for a touch back.
  • In back to back special teams play vs kick offs, we saw multiple failures on the field, allowing the Raiders to start their offensive drives with great field position. If the Vikings are going to continue to win, the special teams play needs to be consistently stout to avoid giving the competitors any initial advantage.
  • The Vikings 3rd offensive drive resulted in another field goal. Great that they continued to put up points – but with the Packers up next, the Vikings need to consistently score TDs when they have the opportunity.
  • The Vikings defense wasn’t as stout as we’re used to seeing in the 2nd quarter, allowing the Raiders to march down the field fairly effortlessly and then score a TD against Xavier Rhodes. And then score another just one drive later. Of course, teams are going to score. We expect it. What I also expect from this defense is that they don’t make it easy – and I didn’t see that happen on the Raider’s 4th or 5th offensive drives.j
Kyle Rudolph - someone had alligator arms in the end zone today. He wasn't helping anyone with that performance.

Kyle Rudolph – someone had alligator arms in the end zone today. He wasn’t helping anyone with that performance.

The Ugly

  • Imagine: Kyle Rudolph standing alone in the back of the end zone. Teddy throws to him perfectly. And Kyle drops it, forcing the Vikings to take a field goal instead of a touch down during an away game. Horrific.
  • The o-line completely collapsed during the Vikings’ 4th offensive series. Additionally, the Vikings melted down with a false-start in an already bad situation.
  • Blair Walsh missed 2 consecutive field goal attempts which the anemic offense could ill afford. The Vikings CANNOT rely on Blair Walsh to be the way they win games.
  • Norv Turner better figure out his offense. He has yet to impress me as an Offensive Coordinator. Everyone always talks about what an amazing offensive coordinator he is… but I haven’t seen it. Are you with me on this? It’s like he doesn’t understand how to use the tools he’s been given. When Teddy makes something out of nothing with a shovel pass or a scamper, or AD breaks loose and runs 80 yards for a TD, while exciting, those plays tend to mask the problem the Vikings offense is having in moving the football down the field. This won’t be addressed if the Vikings keep winning, but I think it’s worth noting and considering as Zimmer continues to build what looks to be a defense that can dominate in this league.
This week's monkey is perplexed.

This week’s monkey is perplexed.

The Inexplicable

  • Apart from Norv Turner, I have to ask: Why can’t the offense consistently perform? Sometimes they look put together, aggressive and score TDs. Then there are all the other times when the drives peter out and the Vikings can’t seal the deal, settling for field goals (best case scenario) or punting it away. They’ve got plenty of offensive tools – but they just can’t quite make themselves an elite offensive squad. While they may continue to win, and they may even make it into the play-offs, the lack of production on the offense is going to prevent the Vikings from being a contender.

Despite all of my grousing, the Vikings won and my cheeks were flushed from yelling and screaming and laughing as Adrian Peterson ran 80 yards for the insurance TD at the end of the 4th quarter. I’ve had people say perhaps I’m too hard on the Vikings (Kevin, I’m talking to you!). Maybe I am. But I think, after 40+ years of watching this team, I’ve earned the right to expect a team that plays hard every week, has proficient coaching on both sides of the ball… and can actually be a contender for the game other teams play in February. I will say this: for the first time since 2009, I am not dreading the Vikings/Packers game next week. If that’s not an affirming statement about the team, I don’t know what is!

So, the Vikings are ALONE at the top of the NCF North. As it should be. How are you feeling about the rest of the season? Vote below, and I will see you next week.

Skol, Vikings Nation!

 

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