Coming off a phenomenal performance last Sunday, I optimistically chose the Vikings to win today. I was berating myself for my stupidity for the first half.
And then… half-time adjustments.
I love Mike Zimmer so much! The entire 2nd half was like a whole new team had taken the field…. the one I remembered from last week (quarters 2 – 4). And so… holy cow… the Vikings enter week 4 undefeated.
But enough celebrating, let’s break it down.
- The Vikings held the Panthers to a 48 yard field goal on their first offensive series. The defense quickly tightened up and was effective against the run and ultimately the pass on a 3rd and long.
- Danielle Hunter sacked Newton in the Panthers’ end zone for a safety. Δ
- Jerrick McKinnon busted out a great run at the end of the first quarter, helping the Vikings keep their drive going. Unfortunately, the drive itself would end in another punt. Again.
- Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter sacked Newton, who went down with a potential ankle injury. (The sack is the good part, not the injury)
- Gano missed a field goal in the 2nd quarter, keeping the score 10-2 and the Vikings still had some breathing room. Let’s be clear though – it felt like the Vikings were down 50 points at this time in the game because both the offensive and defensive play had been terrible. As fans we had to hope for field goal kicks to go wide or hit the uprights just for our team to have a shot at winning.
- Marcus Sherels returned a punt for 6 points. Blair Walsh, of course, screwed up the extra point.
- Trae Waynes intercepted Newton with 6 seconds left in the 1st half, preventing another Panthers’ scoring drive.
- The Vikings took the field like champs in the 3rd quarter and drove down the field for a Bradford-Rudolph TD followed by a Jerrick McKinnon 2 point conversion, giving the Vikings a 16-10 lead. In Odin’s name we pray.
- Harrison Smith was all over the place today, making tackles, forcing Cam out of his comfort zone. He was amazing.
- Brian Robison was relentless and was able to inflict a brutal sack on Newton in the 3rd quarter.
- Terence Newman came up with a big INT in the 3rd quarter. It was the 2nd of the game and it was sweet!
- Blair Walsh managed to make a 28 yard field goal. Kudos to him and all of the Pop Warner kickers who could make the same chip shot. He followed it up with another field goal in the 4th quarter, taking the Vikings to 22 points vs Carolina’s 10.
- The Vikings sacked Newton 8 times and intercepted him 3 times as the Vikings ruined the Panthers’ 14 game home winning streak.
- The Panthers’ first running play of the game split the defense like a hot knife through butter. Not a stellar way to start the game. The second running play immediately following was less bad (on the part of the Vikings) as the Vikings were able to stop the runner.
- The Vikings started their first offensive series with 2 runs, which made sense when Adrian Peterson was in the line up. He’s not and the choice left Bradford with 3rd down at 7. Bradford was nearly picked off after the ball was tipped. Generally a super ugly way for the Vikings to start the game. On the other hand, it felt pretty typical so mentally I’m just going to pretend I didn’t see it.
- Terence Newman drew another penalty in the 1st quarter. He’s pretty sloppy for a 38 year-old veteran.
- Before the 1st quarter was even over, the Panthers had scored 10 unanswered points. 2 series. 2 scores. Vikings defense? Stymied.
- Kearse was called for illegal hands to the face during a punt, improving the Panthers’ field position by 10 yards after a poor Vikings field position and an average punt already had them near the 50 yard line. The number of penalties the Vikings have amassed this season is repulsive.
- Xavier Rhodes started and then went out.
- Alex Boone was injured during the 2nd quarter (knee, groin)
- Sendejo is terrible. I still can’t believe we signed him for MORE time. Why, Vikings, why?
- Kendricks was hurt late in the 4th quarter. We need him at mike!
- Cam’s first pass was a 31 yard bomb to Ted Ginn against Xavier Rhodes, who appeared to be less than 100%.
- The Vikings 2nd offensive series ended in disaster, with no points and terrible o-line play was punctuated with a Bradford sack before the Vikings punted the ball away. Again. After scoring no points. Again.
- The Vikings defense looked like a Pop Warner 2nd-string unit that had just been compiled of people selected randomly off the street during most of the first half. It was both perplexing and infuriating since a stalwart defense is supposed to be the hallmark of the Minnesota Vikings. I spent most of the first half hoping for a Zimmer butt-kicking during half-time (for the team, of course, not me…. I was fine). Thankfully, per the usual, Zim turned it around. But I haven’t forgotten that first half performance!
- The Vikings defense (#92, #93) drew 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after the Panthers scored their first TD. I thought Zimmer demanded control and discipline out of his players? They were pretty freakin’ sloppy during the first quarter.
- They were also sloppy during the 2nd quarter. Where the hell is the discipline, Zim?
What do we do with Blair Walsh?
So that’s it, Vikings friends & neighbors. Week 3 in the hopper and the Vikings are 3-0. I can’t believe it after that day I was sitting at work and I got my first text telling me about Teddy’s injury. But here we are… and I’m proud of my team.
What’s your prediction for the season?