Well, well, well! The Vikings had a decisive win today over the Falcons. I admit I did not pick the Vikings to win today. I don’t think anyone using their brain instead of their heart would have. And maybe that’s my problem sometimes. I underestimated our coaching staff, who truly seem to be bringing this team to the next level. After watching today’s presser, I can understand why Coach Zimmer was so loved in Cincinnati. He’s a no-nonsense, honest and direct person who truly believes anything is possible. And, unlike our other recent coaches, this coach can get the team to believe it, too. I can’t imagine the “next man up” scenario the Vikings have faced during the first 3 games being handled as well by Frazier or Childress.
I don’t know what Thursday will bring, when the Vikings take on the Packers, but with this head coach, I don’t think we’ll see some of the embarrassing blow outs we’ve seen since 2010 – and could, in fact, log a win. The Packers don’t look that great. Of course they never do… who could in that terrible uniform? But I digress.
Let’s look at today’s game.
Let’s start a list since we actually have a bunch of stuff in this category this week!
- Coach Zimmer’s decision to go for the 3rd Asiata TD on 4th down and then go for the 2 point conversion. Gutsy – and it worked!
- Teddy Bridgewater’s NFL debut was stellar. Not even his ankle tweak at the end could ruin the good vibes for him in his presser. Teddy threw for 317 yards with no interceptions. He rushed for a TD and logged 37 rushing yards total. He was calm, cool, collected and had a relaxed manner about him that I haven’t seen in a Vikings QB since Brett Favre took the field in 2009. And no – I am not literally comparing Teddy to Favre – I am merely stating that they share a confidence that makes you believe they’re in control.
- Jerick McKinnon. 18 rushing attempts for 135 yards. Coach Zimmer was told during his presser that McKinnon hadn’t expected to rush for 135 yards. Zimmer’s response was that he’d talk to him about raising his expectations.
- Matt Asiata. 3 rushing TDs and a steady presence in the backfield.
- Jarius Wright! 8 receptions for 132 yards. His longest was 52 yards and if he were just a little faster, he would have made it to the end zone.
- Greg Jennings had 3 receptions for 72 yards.
- Blair Walsh posted 15 of the Vikings’ 41 points today.
- Cordarrelle Patterson averaged 43 yards on his kick off returns.
- 2 Interceptions! Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson are getting the job done back there!
- Anthony Barr got the only sack of the whole game.
- Red Zone Efficiency: 4/6, 66%
- Goal to Go Efficiency: 2/3, 66%
- Total net yards: 558!
- The Vikings’ 3rd down efficiency is still under 50%. The offense needs to continue to improve that.
- The Falcons rushed for 123 yards. Remember the Williams wall? It was nearly impossible for anyone to log >100 rushing yards against the Vikings in those days. We’ve finally made progress on the cornerback/pass protection positions. Time to reestablish the run stopping powerhouse we used to be.
- The Vikings wracked up 6 penalties again today – the first 4 on the defense. Total penalties of 40 yards.
- It’s great we out-scored the Falcons, but it’s not good that they were able to get 4 TDs against the Vikings defense.
- The Vikings allowed the Falcons to log 411 net yards. In a normal game, you’re typically not going to win if the defense is allowing that many yards. Today, the Vikings had almost 560, but that’s something the defense should consider as the team pivots to face the Packers.
- The Vikings defense allowed the Falcons to convert 66% of their 3rd downs. That’s been an on-going problem for this defense for the last several years. Coach Zimmer referenced “bone-headed things” the defense does that need to be fixed. I consider this to be one of those.
The Vikings still have some things to clean up. The good news is that we have a head coach who actually likes to clean. It’s so refreshing to not hate the Vikings coaching staff. It’s made me inadvertently positive at times when I’m tweeting during the game. It almost feels unnatural!
To sum things up: impressive start by rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater. If he continues to shine, I might hate Spielman and his inability to identify QB talent a little less. But probably not. The Vikings defense is improving and that’s a good thing. I’ll just shout out SKOL to Vikings Nation as we head into a short week for the team and our semi-annual Border Battle with the ugly green and mustard yellow.
SKOL VIKINGS NATION!