The Vikings had an impressive display of offensive prowess as they defeated the New England Patriots 33-26. They were able to overcome many of the issues that they had against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night and looked like a different team. This was a truly redemptive performance and makes their 9-2 record look more believable than the 8-2 record looked after the Dallas Cowboys blew them out.
1. Joseph’s PAT Struggles Continue
Fortunately, it did not cost the Vikings the game this time, but Greg Joseph missed yet another point-after-touchdown kick. It is his fifth miss of the season from that range which is simply not acceptable for a professional kicker in the NFL. He was able to make the two field goals that he attempted but his difficulty with extra points continues to baffle me and I am sure it baffles many others as well.
2. Nwangwu Takes Advantage Of A Kick That Is Not A Touchback
In the modern NFL, it seems as if nine out of every ten kicks or so result in a touchback. After the Patriots drove down the field after halftime for a TD, their kicker left the kickoff just short of the endzone. Fortunately for the Vikings, they had Kene Nwangwu back to receive and he took advantage with his speed and vision for a kick return TD.
3. Duke Shelley Continues To Exceed Expectations
He came to the team as virtually a no-name player but Duke Shelley continues to make impressive plays and stops as he steps in for the Vikings at CB. He finished the game with one pass defended and six total tackles. If he keeps his play up, it may be hard to take him out of the starting lineup.
4. Chandon Sullivan Makes A Big Play
Chandon Sullivan has looked like a liability on many plays and drives this season. In this game, he was able to force Hunter Henry’s TD catch into an incomplete pass as he tried to reach out over the goal line. He finished the game with one pass defended, and two total tackles.
5. Justin Jefferson Gets Involved Early And Often
The Vikings went to Justin Jefferson early and often this week. He finished the game with nine catches for 139 yards and one TD. The Vikings’ offense looked the exact opposite of how they looked on Sunday. Kirk had a lot of time in the pocket and there was time for some more complex passing plays to develop as well. Jefferson also rewarded Kirk when he put the ball anywhere in his vicinity.
6. No Sacks And Only One QB Hit On Kirk Cousins Through Three Quarters
The Vikings finished the game only allowing one sack and four QB hits on their quarterback in this game. They appeared to be the polar opposite of themselves in the blowout against Dallas. Blake Brandel played well in his third game in relief of Christian Darrisaw.
7. Huge Unnecessary Roughness Penalty On The Patriots To Get A Vikings’ First Down
Late in the third quarter, Cousins was not quite able to complete a pass to Adam Thielen near the 21-yard line of New England. After he missed the catch, a New England defender hit Thielen in the shoulder and neck area and I believe he should have been evaluated for a concussion at that time.
8. Good Pass Breakup By Kendricks Followed Up By Bynum
On a second and-nine play early on in the fourth quarter, Eric Kendricks made a great play to break up a pass. This was followed up by another pass breakup but this one was made by Cam Bynum. They forced the Patriots to punt and they were able to get a touchdown on their ensuing drive.
9. Cousins Looked Good In A Primetime Game
In a game where his only mistake would appear to be a bad read on the interception he threw, Kirk Cousins rebounded impressively from a dismal performance against the Cowboys. He finished the game 30 of 37 for 299 yards, three TDs, and 1 INT. His connections with his receivers were felt throughout the game as he consistently trusted his teammates to make the plays in very difficult situations.
10. Vikings’ Pass Rush Showed Up Late In Second Quarter And Following
The Vikings were not able to get a sack until there was 0:30 left in the second quarter. Fortunately, they were able to turn up the heat on Mac Jones and finished the game with three QB Hits and three sacks. The defense kept the team in the game and made big plays when needed. They did give up 26 points but they also made stops when the Patriots had a short field, especially after Kirk’s INT.
This was an impressive win, especially considering how bad the Vikings looked against the Cowboys just a few days ago. They had their team firing on all cylinders as they made plays in all three phases of the game. It was a sight for the sore eyes of Vikings fans and a great ending to the Thanksgiving Holiday.
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