11th Hour Observations After Plucking the Falcons!!
Sorry, my Purple People, I’ve been dealing with technical difficulties and my ongoing tendencies to spread myself thin enough to read through…but I also must confess that I am very guilty of a deadly football sin:
I looked past the Falcons, because I believe that we’ve got Matty Ice’s number. See also: Eli Manning. Coach Zimmer and his gang of defensive hooligans seem to have those guys figured out, almost to the point where our offense is more of a detail than an important game phase.
So, I’m gonna break this one down just in time to get ready for our rivalry game today…!!
We are BACK!!! Our Purveyors of Pounding Purple Punishment stepped up, into, and arguably through the challenge of the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday, creating a dominant home opener and kicking off our season with a thorough victory!! Let’s take a look-see here….
QB- It’s not often that I look at a victory involving 80% Viking QB accuracy with a notched eyebrow, but…I did find the determined limitation of the passing game to be pretty odd. Granted, when we’re up by a couple of scores quickly and our running game is finally looking like an important piece to the puzzle, Zimmer is gonna ride that as long as hard as he can. The oft-discussed Cousins did well in his limited role, though the interior line was still letting far too much pressure through. The short version: he delivered well in a game where he wasn’t called upon too much: 8/10, 1 TD, 0 INT.
RB/FB- In case anyone missed it, Dalvin can COOK! Our talented-but-often-injured tailback was like a force of nature in that game, going 21 times for 111 yards and 2 TDs; he also added another 9 yards by pulling down both passes sent his way. Rookie Mattison added another 49 yards, Abdullah added 8 more, and this group (combined with the defense) did so well that Cousins didn’t need to do much!
WR/TE- When the passing is limited, these guys won’t generate as much material for me. Yep, Thielin pulled in 3 for 43 yards and a TD (almost half of our passing yards), Diggs got a couple for 37, and Beebe got one…but in that game, most of what this crew did was create diversions and block for our ‘backs. Not great for stats, but obviously great for that win.
O-Line- YOU’RE ALL…UMMM…ON DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!
Bradbury and the Elf on the Shelf seemed vulnerable to D-Line bullying, which is doubly worrisome after last season’s debacle and the o-line inconsistency we’ve had for the last decade. C’mon, guys…for this to be our year, it’s gotta be YOUR year as well!
D-Line/LBs- Zimmer must not have fed these guys before the game…Barr had to snack on Matty right off the bat! Hunter, Griffen, and Joseph all added the sack total, and they were in the Atlanta backfield all game long. Ito Smith was held to 31 yards, and overall…these guys didn’t let up much ’til garbage time.
CBs/Safeties- Anthony Harris, please report to the spotlight! 2 picks, a fumble recovery, and the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award came from his efforts last Sunday. Hitman Harry led the team in tackling, Waynes forced the fumble that Harris recovered, and Jones was very limited by Xavier Rhodes. Ryan may have thrown for (just) over 300 yards, but most of them meant nothing toward the outcome.
Special Teams- What’s almost as good as a sack on the first snap? Blocking their punt on their first series! Bailey hit all his XPs, the punting and coverage plays went well, so…I’d say that this group had a brilliant debut!
Coaching- As many analysts have stated, we just saw the Mike Zimmer dream game: running, clock management, brutal and dominant defense. He and Edwards called a great defensive game (minus the garbage time leniency, which I never like), Stefanski showed that he can be the OC Zimmer wants (with Kubiak picking up the assist), and new ST coordinator Maalouf brought a great start to his ST career.
Officials- I didn’t see that the zebras really blew any major calls, so…the less I remember them, the better job I think they did.
Conclusion- The Vikings controlled the game from the outset, and the result was never in question. Sorry, Matty, we’ve got bigger fish…and, specifically cheese…to fry!!