Everyone said the Vikings couldn’t win this game. All the analysts, all the commentators, people on the street… everyone.
I thought we’d win this game.
And we could have. We had this game within our reach. What I didn’t expect was that Adrian Peterson’s inability to hang on to the ball would cost us the game (although given his history, I don’t know WHY I didn’t expect that) and I didn’t think that Blair Walsh would fail to deliver at the end.
So – for one final time this season, let’s break it down.
Nothing good about this game.
Seattle muffed a punt and the punter took off and ran but the Vikings were able to prevent him from getting a 1st down, giving the Vikings excellent field position. As I type this, my question will always be: can the Vikings turn Seattle’s mishap into points? The answer: kind of. 3 points.
Stefon Diggs caught a pass from Teddy on the 7 yard line to secure a first down and goal after the Seattle muffed punt.
The Vikings defense was extremely stout during the 2nd quarter.
Trae Waynes came up with a critical interception in the 3rd quarter, preventing the Seahawks from converting a 4th down. The Vikings weren’t able to do much with it – another 3 points – but it gave them 6 points more than the Seahawks had at that point in the game.
Teddy better work on his mechanics in the off-season. His awareness in the pocket is not good.
In the first quarter, Teddy’s decision making was suspect.
Adrian Peterson was completely shut down and our running game suffered for it. Part of me wonders why Asiata and McKinnon don’t figure into the running game more in these instances. They have a different style and it’s pretty clear that the Seahawks have Peterson completely figured out.
Xavier Rhodes needs to figure out how to cover without getting a PI flag.
The Vikings defense needed to pressure Wilson. Instead, they let him convert 3rd downs even when his o-line failed. You can’t beat a team like Seattle when you let the QB run around and make plays.
Adrian Peterson: fumbling away the Vikings’ chances since 2009.
The Vikings have to figure out how to get a passing game going. As of the 4th quarter, they are still struggling.
When Wilson missed the snap the Vikings defense completely broke down and they missed an opportunity to really stick it to the Seahawks. The result? TD for the wrong team. Not good.
The o-line was a complete mess at too many points during the game. Teddy was sacked 3 times – but he was pressured a hell of a lot more than that and, as we’ve seen, he doesn’t cope well when he’s pressured. Net result: the Vikings offense was completely shut down and (per the usual) we had to resort to field goals – all of which Blair Walsh made… with the exception of the one we really needed.
Round up of bad stats: 58 yards rushing. Third Down Efficiency: 23%. Third Down Efficiency for Seattle: 35%. Seattle net rushing yards: 97.
Mike Zimmer challenged the field position in the 2nd quarter – which served to cost us a time out. He’s been burned on this particular challenge before.
Adrian Peterson. He costs us EVERY time. When is the last time he’s actually WON a game for us? And how many has he actually cost us? He cost us home field advantage in 2009 on Soldier field. He fumbled in the NFC Championship Game. And now today. Unbelievable.
Blair Walsh. Nearly the hero of the game. Instead? He couldn’t deliver the one time we needed him to.
Skol Vikings Nation… until next season.
So the season’s over. I know most of us didn’t expect the Vikings to get this far in Zimmer’s second season as head coach. He’s developed a team that would be outstanding IF we had a really good QB and an RB who could hang onto the ball. I have high hopes for the Zimmer-led Vikings in the future and I expect the team (Spielman & friends) to address some of our short-comings in the draft and free agency.
So, focusing on the future… how far do you think the Vikings will get next season? Vote below.
For the last time this season, I will shout “Skol” to my Vikings brethren as I go back into hibernation until training camp.
And so, the season has wrapped with one last regular season show down between the Vikings and the Packers.
I have to admit, I didn’t have high hopes coming into the game based on previous performance on the Vikings’ side. But…
All hail your NFC North Division Champions!
Let’s break it down.
He’s not perfect… but Mike Zimmer is the real deal! We have a real coach my friends! (We’ll just pretend he didn’t blow out a huge booger on live TV and send him hankies. PS, men… that particular act is vile. Don’t do it. It’s disgusting – and why you don’t know that is beyond my realm of comprehension).
1st offensive series was a complete failure until… FAKE PUNT with a direct snap to Adam Thielen. Since I essentially live blog this game review, will they convert for points? Answer: a lame field goal due to the inability to complete a pass on Teddy’s part.
It took until the 2nd quarter, but finally… ARodg sack by Harrison Smith.
The first completed pass of the evening went to Mike Wallace, who was wide open. Nice gain.
The Vikings worked hard… only to get another field goal. I’m putting it in the “Good” section because they got points… but this is NOT going to get them anywhere in the post season.
Adam Thielen had quite a game! Well done, sir.
Adrian Peterson got the first TD (by either team) of the game. Bonus: Blair Walsh made the extra point.
Captain Munnerlyn, in a real heads up play, picked up an ARodg fumbled ball (thanks Everson Griffin!) and ran it all the way back to the house. A Blair Walsh extra point added 7 points, bringing the Vikings’ points to 20 (which the Packers were at 3).
Jerrick McKinnon is just fantastic and I like him. A lot.
Sharrif Floyd got a sack at a critical time, when the Packers were poised to score a TD.
Xavier Rhodes intercepted Aaron Rodgers in the end zone. It was delicious.
Xavier Rhodes batted down the Aaron Rodgers to Richard Rodgers hail mary, sealing the division championship for the Vikings. Well done, sir. I say, WELL DONE!
Teddy Bridgewater: can you please start being consistent?
Teddy was completely inaccurate on the first drive. His passes missed repeatedly.
The Vikings defense started the game in mediocre fashion. Somehow they managed to hold the Packers to a field goal – but the entire first series was NOT fun to watch. They let Lacy run like he has talent (instead of just being bulky), even Starks had a run. Terrible performance for a first series.
The 2nd offensive series for the Vikings went nowhere with another incomplete pass. You know what would be great? A completed pass.
TERRIBLE tackling against Adams late in the 2nd quarter. TERRIBLE. 2 defenders completely wiffed. It was appalling. Newman was the primary offender.
Thielen was hurt in the 3rd quarter. Pending reports of severity of the injury.
Adrian Peterson left in the 3rd quarter with a lower back injury. Pending reports of severity of the injury.
Rhett Ellison was injured in the 4th quarter, knee. Pending reports of severity of the injury.
Tackling fundamentals – fairly terrible tonight.
Brett Favre… blah blah blah, Aaron Rodgers… blah blah blah, Bart Starr… Blah blah blah. Packers. Packers. Packers. Oh, there’s a Viking hurt… moving on. Clay Matthews… blah blah blah… Just shut up Cris. Seriously.
Sherels muffed a punt in the 2nd quarter and then fumbled it. Luckily, it just barely got out of bounds before a Packer got it. Can’t do that when there’s a division title at stake.
Cris Collingsworth’s game commentary.
Teddy was sacked 3 times in the first half.
Teddy lobbed a ball and he should have just taken the sack because he got intercepted. Like a dodo. NOT a good move, Teddy.
The Vikings defense went soft and mushy late in the 3rd quarter and that continued into the 4th quarter. I don’t know what the hell happened to the aggressive defense we saw in the 2nd quarter, but they really devolved, allowing the Packers to score a TD (with Rodgers rushing all over the place – which was ridiculous)
Some people tweeted me saying that the defense was “gassed” – well you know what? It’s THEIR fault they’re gassed. If you don’t want to be on the field, then make the plays necessary to get the hell off the field. ARGH!
Andrew Sendejo is a TERRIBLE tackler. And what I mean by that is that he doesn’t tackle – he body checks. I sent him a tweet to let him know how terrible I think his technique is. You’re welcome, Andrew.
Cordarrelle Patterson needs to get the hell off of my team. He doesn’t do crap out there and then tonight he fumbles when the kicker knocks the ball out? Unforgiveable. Ridiculous. You add to that video of him laughing on the sideline? Just a complete representation of what an idiot he is. If this guy is still on the team in the fall, I’m gonna occupy Winter Park.
Adrian Peterson returned to the game. Only to fumble. Just sit him. McKinnon is more than sufficient to close out the game.
You want to sit around and laugh on the sidelines after majorly screwing up? Well, you can get the hell off my team, Cordarrelle.
The offensive play calling was completely uninspired. While Teddy wasn’t playing well, why not get him comfortable with some play action options? Norv Turner – totally overrated.
Um… clock management at the end of the 2nd quarter? And… where were the cojones? I thought, based on the fake punt in the 1st quarter, the Vikings were going to be aggressive. Instead, 4th and 2… and they take a delay of game penalty… and completely ignore a potential field goal. C’mon man.
Defensive scheme during the mid-3rd through the 4th quarter. Whether or not they were tired, the coverage was just wrong. It was like Zimmer forgot who we were playing. That needs to be shored up before we meet them again.
I was actually at the game last night, courtesy of Bose, so my review is later that usual. Let me start by saying it was bloody cold out there last night. I like a nice 70 degrees at all times, so 12°F with a wind, making it feel around 0°F wasn’t really cutting it for me. To the lady who told me I’d be sorry for not wearing ski pants – I hate you; and also, thank you for the astute observation.
Soooo… the Vikings won last night. Soundly. In fact, one might say they delivered a knock-out beat-down on those Giants with a 49-17 win.
Prior to the game, I spent my time at Manning’s off Como, laughing as the Packers lost to the Cardinals, so we arrived at the game in great moods and I was looking forward to a trouncing of the Giants; I think we all know that the Vikings are Eli Manning’s kryptonite. And last night was no exception.
Let’s break it down.
Eli Manning: sacked 4 times during the game, intercepted 3 times. I always love when the Giants come to town!
Mid-first quarter, Sendejo intercepted Eli Manning off an Xavier Rhodes tipped ball. The first Sad Eli face of the night was delicious and I enjoyed it.
Danielle Hunter got the first sack on Manning for the evening. It was a good opportunity for me and my friend Moon to jump around and celebrate to get some blood flowing in the breezy corner of the end zone. Not for nothin’ but that was Hunter’s 6th sack of the season. He leads all rookies in that particular stat (and I have to believe a lot of veterans, too).
Jarius Wright had several key catches during the game, including a nice 1st down pick up near the end of the 1st quarter.
Peterson’s ankle seemed stout. He made a lot of impressive cuts and tied Emmitt Smith for an NFL record.
Brian Robison started the 2nd quarter with a sack on Manning. Yet another great reason to cheer.
Harry-baby, you’re the one! You make Pick-6s so much fun!
Harrison Smith – stopping the run, covering receivers, jumping routes and scoring with a Pick-6. Praise the Sweet Baby Odin he’s back and healthy.
Vikings first passing TD of the night was a beautiful throw to Kyle Rudolph at 4 minutes into the 2nd quarter. Teddy hit 82 in stride and it was a beautiful play.
Linval Joseph is back. Boy, is he. Instrumental against the run, it was great to see him on the field.
Teddy B has started working the hard count to pull the opposing defense off-sides. Great to watch him evolve.
This game had the least-bad offensive coordination of the season in my opinion.
With 4 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, Harrison Smith jumped a route and ran it back for a Pick Six. So impressive, I’ll mention it twice. One caveat: although the play was great, his attempt at spiking the ball to celebrate was the lamest attempt I’ve even seen, with the ball spinning off the top of his hand and I’ll just say it reminded me of a Donovan McNabb pass. If you didn’t catch it, go watch a highlight reel – it made me laugh. #SorryHarry
The Vikings seemed to have addressed some of their issues with tackling fundamentals. OR, three 2nd or 3rd stringers are now sitting back on the bench now that we have our 3 starters back and that has resolved the issue. One of those (or maybe both) are true.
Tom Johnson got the 3rd Manning sack of the night. He just busted right through and smacked Eli down to the turf. I approved then and I approve now.
Robert Blanton recovered an on-side kick near the end of the 3rd quarter. He had quite a good run back, too. Teddy said in his presser that he teased Blanton when he got back to the sideline for being chased down by an offensive lineman. Clearly Teddy found that to be hilarious, and I can’t disagree.
Teddy did a lot of good things during the game, including scrambling, making good decisions about whether or not to throw the ball and connecting with receivers in critical moments.
Matt Asiata had some nice runs. Jerrick McKinnon is obviously more explosive and versatile; however, Asiata has his place, too. It’s nice having a deep RB bench to use in various situations.
Captain Munnerlyn (Theeeeeeee Captain!) had a great INT in the 3rd quarter. It’s always nice to see him active on the field.
Chad Greenway led the team (per the usual) in tackles (6) and assists (3). I get so pissed when people discount his presence on the field. He’s repeatedly been the tackling leader on our team over his tenure. Also – if anyone thinks the team would have been able to hold their own with 3 of our defensive starters on the sidelines without Greenway at mike over the last couple of weeks, they’re out of their ever-lovin’ mind.
Jerrick McKinnon’s 2nd TD was mighty pretty!
Oh, AD… if you’re not fumbling, you’re muffing catches. Please work on your trade, which (by the way) includes pass protection. (PS – great 39 yard run – ‘preciate ya!)
In the 3rd offensive series, Peterson muffed an easy screen pass that could have secured a Vikings 1st down. This was a big deal because a) Teddy got sacked on the play immediately following, causing the Vikings to punt and b) the Vikings did not capitalize on the Sendejo interception. When your defense forces a turnover, great teams turn that into points. The Vikings rarely do, which is not going to help the team win in the post-season.
Jerrick McKinnon’s first TD was negated by a false-start by Matt Kalil. Seriously, Kalil – you’re not a rookie. Act like a veteran when you’re out there.
The Giants scored a TD when Sendejo took the lazy-man’s way out when trying to tackle the Giants’ Randle late in the 3rd quarter. Running into a player isn’t enough to bring them down sometimes… which is why you actually have the tackle!
Teddy was sacked 3 times during the game. Our o-line needs to step it up.
I’m sure there were some other things that I thought were bad but in the afterglow of finally being warm, I’m not quite as nit-picky as usual.
NINE TIMES. ARodg was sacked 9 times. What a tasty treat the week before we see that horrid team again. Let’s hope their o-line is equally as ineffective on 1/3.
The Vikings’ first 2 offensive series resulted in zero production in terms of points. Let’s get serious now: the Vikings cannot wait to produce offensive points until the 2nd quarter when we play the Packers next week. There’s no way the Vikings win against the Packers if they take an entire quarter to warm up.
In terms of the inexplicable – I don’t really have anything for the Vikings for once! Instead, we could talk about the Cardinals/Packers game. That was fairly inexplicable. Like… Aaron Rodgers fumbled 3 times and lost 2 of them. I think he’s been infected with Peterson-itis, which is fantastic, as long as he keeps it away from us (i.e. doesn’t give the issue back to AD). With 101 net rushing yards and a hilarious 77 net passing yards because *someone* (not saying who, Aaron Rodgers) was sacked NINE times for a loss of 78 yards. Hahahahaha! I am sure you were laughing as hard as I was. Now… let us just hope that the Packers are equally as ineffective next week when our beloved Vikings take the field at Lameblow (NoPackNo).
So, that’s it, Vikings fans. One game left in the regular season. Whatever happens next week, the Vikings are going to the play-offs for the first time since 2012. Frankly, we have a lot more to like about this team than the one that somehow backed into the post-season 3 years ago.
So I have a new poll question for you this week. What will next week bring?
I’m back. I didn’t blog the Cardinals game since I was hosting my team at my house for the holidays. We did have the game on and it was not the national spotlight embarrassment I expected, which was a nice surprise – except for the fact it felt like the Vikings could have won that game with just a little more effort, so that was almost worse than a blow out.
All that said, the Bears came to town today. The Bears started the 2nd half with an unexpected on-side kick. They recovered and the momentum the Vikings wanted went directly to the Bears. Until 2 plays later when Robison went for the sack, the strip and the recovery. The Vikings were able to capitalize on the turnover with a great passing play from Teddy to Diggs for 6 points. When Teddy ran for a TD mid-4th quarter, the game was over and the Vikings had one more win on the season.
So, let’s break it down.
Teddy Bridgewater was the MVP of the game. Maybe we do have a real QB after all.
While down our top 3 defenders, the Vikings’ defense managed to hold the Bears to 3-and-Outs on their first two offensive series. Andrew Sendejo and Chad Greenway had big plays in the second series.
The Vikings offense looked sharp starting the game. They marched 93 yards and a TD pass from Teddy to Stefon Diggs capped the drive.
Blair Walsh managed to make a 53 yard field goal. He banked it in off the left upright so extra credit for giving the Bears fans hope that it might miss.
Tom Johnson made some critical plays, as did Sharrif Floyd. While having Joseph, Smith and Barr out is doing the Vikings no favors, there are some players stepping up, which is good to see.
Danielle Hunter had a beautiful sack on Cutler in the 2nd quarter. Robison started the pressure and Hunter finished it. Sweet! Bears were forced to punt.
Jerrick McKinnon – did Norv finally figure out how to use him? Before the half, he already had 2 TDs. So many games, we could have used points like that.
Adam Thielen made a welcome appearance late in the 2nd quarter. The special teams coverage on the kick-off was stout for the first time in a while.
Brian Robison with a strip-sack and subsequent recovery at the start of the 2nd half returned the momentum to the Vikings after the Bears’ on-side kick recovery to start it.
Teddy connected with Stefon Diggs for a TD, making the most of the turnover. Bonus: Blair Walsh made the extra point.
Chad Greenway had a very good game today, including a sack.
Trattou – intercepting Cutler like a boss!
Justin Trattou intercepted Cutler with 9 minutes or so left in the 4th quarter, embodying the old motto of “next man up”.
After Trattou’s INT, Teddy ran for a TD as the Bears looked on in disbelief. I had to chuckle. There. Is. Your. Dagger.
Adam Thielen anticipated another on-side kick and recovered it. Between Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asiata, the Vikings ran the ball to eat up time on the clock.
The Vikings deferred after winning the toss and then allowed a 49 yard kick-off return. Special teams weren’t so special to start the game.
The Vikings allowed Matt Forte to break free on the first play of the Bears’ first offensive series. The good news was that the Bears decided to hold on that play (and the refs caught it) so the run was negated.
Teddy was sacked for a 10 yard loss, stalling the Vikings’ second offensive series. They settled for a barely-there field goal by former Legatron, Blair Walsh.
The offensive line started to break down mid-2nd quarter, preventing Bridgewater from having enough time to throw. Worse – the Bears defense was able to sack Teddy and put enough pressure on him to almost get a safety.
The Vikings defense looked a little low-effort once the Vikings were up 31-10. We need 60 minutes of football, men.
Mike Priefer: Get your special teams in order.
Tackling fundamentals. Surprisingly, I don’t start every game review with this as a permanent bullet – although by the 2nd quarter, it’s always here. Watching the Vikings tackle is like riding a psychotic horse through rush hour traffic. You never know what’s going to happen play by play.
Adrian Peterson was injured in the 2nd quarter, rolling an ankle. Since the Vikings running game starts and ends with him, that didn’t bode well for the 2nd half of the game.
Remember when we had good special teams coverage on punts and kick-offs? Me either. It’s been so long since the Vikings special teams looked good, I barely remember the days we’d stuff the opponent deep in their own territory. Hey Priefer…. you might wanna fix that!
So the Vikings win and the Giants are up next. The Vikings have 2 must-win games ahead. Let’s see what they’ll do.
Coming into this game, all of the analysts agreed that the Vikings had to win this game if they wanted to be taken seriously. I’ve been less worried about this game than the upcoming game against the Cardinals. Clearly, I should have been more worried about this game, since I’ve pretty well written off the Cardinals game some weeks ago. In fact, I’m hosting my team from work on Thursday, so I won’t even be Tweeting or blogging the game.
DISCLAIMER: if you don’t like a real assessment of a terrible performance and are hoping for some positivity in the face of a horrible loss, this isn’t the post (or really the blog) for you!
Back to today’s travesty. The Vikings were terrible, horrible, atrocious… I could go on forever with negative adjectives to describe the absolutely pathetic showing the Vikings had today. In full disclosure, I cleaned my kitchen during the 3rd quarter to give myself a mental break. I mean – as a fan – I couldn’t really be expected to watch the crap the team put on the field today for the entire game, could I?
The game started with some seriously crappy special teams play on the kick-off, with the Vikings allowing a 49 yard return… and it just got worse from there. I don’t understand why people weren’t booing more. Had I been at the game, I would have been booing the entire game. Especially after some of the players stopped playing with any heart. To say the team lacks resiliency would be an understatement.
Let’s break it down.
Thanks for the points, Cordarrelle.
On the good news front (after the crappy special teams play), the Vikings (Exum) forced an almost immediate fumble on a Seahawks run by Rawls, with Antone Exum on the clear recovery. My immediate thought after the turnover was: will the Vikings’ offense be able to capitalize? The answer, of course, was no.
Danielle Hunter was instrumental in shutting down the Seahawks’ offense early in the 2nd quarter. Way to step up, kid!
The Cordarrelle Patterson sighting included a kick-off return TD with NO post-play penalty; however, he did excessively celebrate a TD that changed nothing. Now… if he were able to score 4 more of those today, then he could celebrate.
Teddy just isn’t getting it done.
The Vikings had a prime opportunity to smash the Seahawks’ morale to the ground after they fumble. Per the usual, the offense failed to make anything happen, returning the momentum to the Seahawks.
The Vikings defense on Seattle’s 2nd offensive series was filled with mistakes. Penalties, missed tackles (really TERRIBLE tackling). They couldn’t seal the deal on any big plays, allowing the Seahawks to eat up a bunch of time on the clock and repeatedly convert 3rd down after 3rd down. There was minimal pressure on Wilson. Did I mention the tackling was atrocious? Net result: TD Seahawks
Before the 2nd quarter even ended I was sick to death of this game. I mean honestly – would it be too much to ask for the team to come ready to play? And to actually TRY?
Teddy managed to complete some passes in the 2nd quarter, which was miraculous, given how horrible he was playing earlier in the game. It was all for naught, though, because the Vikings offense did exactly NOTHING with the series.
What gives, Zim? Your team looks like crap. What are you going to do about it?
The Vikings 3rd offensive series was a complete failure. They couldn’t move the ball and Teddy was a nightmare at QB. Holding onto the ball too long, completely ineffective at passing. It’s probably time we all admit that Teddy is NOT the QB of the future and I’ll state this very clearly: Rick Spielman is a complete joke when it comes to drafting quarterbacks. The Vikings will never be a contender if he continues to be the GM. Of course, I will get comments from people defending Teddy. He’s a likable guy but he’s not the QB of the future. I am quite certain of that. If, say, 2 years from now, Teddy miraculously leads us to a Super Bowl, then I will stand corrected. Until then, I will remain a Teddy skeptic.
Teddy was intercepted late in the 2nd quarter. That was bad and the Diggs came by with a facemask to pour salt in the wound. Completely ineffective, totally horrendous and unbelievably bad play.
Teddy’s accuracy was so bad that some of the actual catches came from receivers nearly laying on the ground. Somehow I don’t think Mike Wallace sighed with the team to lay on the ground trying to catch poorly thrown passes. It reminded me of the Donovan McNabb & his ducks days.
Teddy’s decision making: in the 4th quarter, Teddy under pressure – he throws to McKinnon 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage for a loss. THROW IT AWAY TEDDY. Is it his first NFL game???
Tackling. Where was it? The Vikings were the best open field tacklers 3 weeks ago. Now, suddenly, we have no one tackling anyone. I realize Barr and Smith are out – but they weren’t the only ones making plays. This is something more than just having 2 starters sitting out.
Norv Turner can’t run an offense. Clearly. Maybe in the off-season, we can agree that Norv Turner couldn’t coach his way out of a wet paper bag and move on to someone new. The Norv Experiment failed.
Penalties. This team – I don’t know what the hell Zimmer is doing in practice, but on the field the team has completely imploded.
Is the #5 cursed for the Vikings when worn by a QB? Or did Donovan McNabb possess Teddy when we weren’t looking?
The complete collapse of anything that resembled a professional football team.
Remember when we had awesome special teams play? You know – when they used to prevent the return team from any real return after the punt or kick-off? Yes, it’s all just a memory now. Between 2 blocked punts and a complete failure of the coverage team when it came to taking down the returners, we’ve seen a real degradation in special teams play over the last several games.
The Vikings failed in the 2 phases we can typically count on: the defense and the special teams play. Since we never really had an offense, there is no way this team can win if the defense and special teams units are not playing well. Clearly, as we saw today.
Well, that’s it for this week. It was a humiliating travesty of a game. This team isn’t ready for the post season. They, in my opinion, lost their season today. They won’t come back from this because they’re not resilient. The loss to the Packers started the slide – and I know they won last week, but faced with a good QB, this team can no longer cope.
I won’t be here Thursday – hosting 50+ people in my house will have my full attention, and I do believe I will be thankful for the distraction. For those of you who will have to watch Thursday night’s game – stay strong, walk away if you need to, and be thankful that the Vikings will not be able to ruin next Sunday for you.
The Vikings offense began the game with an uninspiring series. At first, it looked like they were going to be able to run the ball, with AD picking up 11 yards to start the game. Immediately, however, the Falcons shut down the running game and Teddy moved to passing – both times behind the 1st down marker, killing the drive. Can we please stop passing behind the 1st down marker on 3rd down? It never works, Norv. Find something new.
That being said, the Vikings won. Woo! They surely needed that after the horrendous play last week against the worst opponent (and fan base) ever. You might recall I wasn’t happy last week. I’m happier this week, although this team continues to concern me.
Speaking of concerns, let’s break it down.
Everson Griffen took Matty Ice for a spin… right into the turf.
In the 2nd offensive series, Teddy connected well with Kyle Rudolph multiple times. There were some missteps, but a PI call against the Falcons gave AD the opportunity to rush for a TD. As an added bonus, Walsh actually managed to kick the extra point.
With 3 minutes left in the 1st quarter, Anthony Barr stripped the ball from Coleman (#26, Falcons) after it looked like all was lost. In a heads up play, Exum recovered and the ball went back to the Vikings.
Rhett Ellison grabbed a perfectly thrown screen and took it for big yards in the 1st quarter.
Jerrick McKinnon picked up 9 yards when he entered the game in the 1st quarter. And then he ran again for another 10. McKinnon was a factor throughout the game and he ran hard and well.
The Vikings racked up 157 yards of offense in the first quarter.
The Vikings held the Falcons to a field goal mid-2nd quarter, despite being down to the 3rd and 4th string safeties. A little personal foul on the Falcons was a major assist in that effort.
Captain Munnerlyn made a big play late in the 2nd quarter, jumping a route and intercepting Matt Ryan with 1:26 left in the half. Unfortunately, Zimmer chose to play conservatively and the Vikings did nothing to capitalize on the turnover when Walsh completely shanked another field goal. See “The Inexplicable” for further commentary on field goals and Blair Walsh.
Exum made big plays today, filling in for Harrison Smith. He really stepped up and should feel proud of his performance.
Terrence Newman had a HUGE interception in the 3rd quarter. He stepped in front of the receiver in the end zone and intercepted Matt Ryan for a touch back, serving 2 purposes: no points for the Falcons and a 20 yard line start for the Vikings offense.
Everson Griffen got the 1st sack of the game late in the 3rd quarter. The announcers said he threw Matt Ryan down like a rag doll, but I personally thought it was more like he was pinwheeling Ryan, ending in a lovely pirouette. Ryan absolutely stuck the landing, butt down on the artificial turf. Bring up 4th down!
The Vikings defense did a great job suppressing the explosive plays of Julio Jones. They covered him well and limited his impact on the game.
At a critical juncture – 4th down and 1 deep in the 4th quarter, Anthony Barr came roaring out of the backfield and sacked Matt Ryan and forced a fumble. Falcons recovered, but it mattered not at all as the Vikings took over on downs.
Late in the 4th quarter, AD got loose and rushed for his 99th career touchdown. And. There. Is. Your. Dagger!
I still can’t shake the feeling that we suffer from Ponderitis. Dead end drives, short passes without much production… ugh!
Stefon Diggs needs to get over himself. Making a catch is not something to celebrate – especially when your celebration draws a flag for taunting. Given how much the officiating crews clearly WANT to flag the Vikings for anything and everything, the Vikings cannot give them reasons to do it. They will NEVER come out on top.
On the 2nd offensive series, Peterson had a clear TD in his sights as he completely failed to catch a perfectly thrown ball. Luckily for the Vikings, the Falcons committed an obvious PI infraction near the goal line on the next play, so they got another set of downs which allowed AD to run it in.
Teddy needs to stop holding onto the ball so long. The o-line isn’t great and he’s taking far too many hits. Time for him to stop making rookie mistakes; he’s no longer a rookie.
Sendejo was injured during the game with a knee. Net result there: Exum and Blanton were the safeties on the field. Not our first or second choice. Not good conceptually. In practice? Less bad than one might expect!
The Falcons figured out how to run against the Vikings as they took to the field in the 2nd half. They kept pounding up the middle and the Vikings had little success in stopping them.
Norv Turner cost the Vikings a TD in the 3rd quarter through ridiculous play calling. Where is the smash mouth football? Where is the unrelenting will to win? We need an OC with some guts – not the current careful game planning that we see every week. Go for the throat, Norv. Personally, I don’t think he has it in him. Every week we hear about what a tremendous OC he is. Oh yeah? Where’s the brilliance? I’ll tell you where it’s not: in the OC spot on the Vikings.
Special teams didn’t produce any points today. It was unfortunate that the Falcons’ special teams were playing well. I was really hoping for an insurance TD from the likes of Marcus Sherels or Cordarrelle Patterson. Instead, Weems had a great kick off return mid-4th quarter, which the Vikings could ill afford, given their inability to put points on the board.
Teddy needs to stop throwing INTs in the end zone.
To start the 2nd quarter, Teddy was intercepted in the end zone. AGAIN. How many damn times is this going to happen? This INT brings his stats to 8 TDs 7 INTs. Stats like that may have worked for Brett Favre, but Teddy is no Brett and I’m sick to death of the end zone missteps.
The Vikings just can’t stop the sloppy play resulting in penalties. Holding on the defense. Holding on the offense. Facemask – twice on Tom Johnson. Illegal contact – multiple times. Taunting. You name it, they committed it. I thought Zimmer prided himself on having a clean team when it came to penalties. This current team sure isn’t living up to his – or my – expectations in this realm lately. They’re in full meltdown and their status as the least penalized team in the league is gone.
Blair Walsh: get it together man! And Norv Turner? Man up!
Blair Walsh in the 50+ yard range. Completely ineffective. What is wrong with him? He has the leg for them but his accuracy is a big pile of crap and has been since his rookie season. The question is: how long do you stick with a kicker who can’t consistently perform? I know the Packers stuck with Mason Crosby when he was having his troubles but one could argue that Crosby can’t be counted on to win games (see: Packers vs Lions). Blair Walsh has won games… but the Vikings have also lost many games by less than 6 points and typically those have been when Walsh has missed 2 – 3 field goals. Should he stay or should he go now? (you can sing that if you want)
So, that’s it for this week, Vikings fans. Next up: Seachickens. Let’s see what that game brings. In the mean time? Let’s enjoy being the NFC North Division Leader!