From a suggestion by a reader, we continue our “snap reactions” weekly piece detailing thoughts and analysis after a Minnesota Vikings game.
This will be off-the-cuff, a wee bit “random,” and hopefully insightful.
The Vikings climbed to 5-1 atop the NFC North after a somewhat convincing win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 6. Minnesota downed Miami, 24-16.
1 – Each week, followers of the Vikings say stuff like, “The Vikings are 3-1, but…” or “The Vikings are 4-1, but…” But, at some point, we must jettison the but because the team continues to author winning ways. If they weren’t good — they’d lose. And they’re not losing.
2 – The Vikings offensive line sneakily reverted to its old, naughty habits, with rookie Ed Ingram encountering a rough day. Kirk Cousins was sacked three times — and it felt like oodles of more pressures than that. Hopefully, Kevin O’Connell and friends can iron that out during the bye week.
3 – Justin Jefferson produced 107 receiving yards — and it felt like he had a down game. That’s where the world’s at with his dominance.
4 – Dalvin Cook busted off his longest touchdown scamper in two years, and it essentially won the football game or at least provided an exclamation point.
5 – The Vikings were 2 for 12 on offensive third downs, lost the time-of-possession battle by about 11 minutes, and still won with relative ease. They improved — markedly — on 3rd Down last week but regressed in Miami.
6 – Minnesota had 11 first downs to the Dolphins 23. These weird statistical games will end up turning into losses, but enjoy the wins while you can.
7 – Ryan Wright’s mammoth 73-yard punt was one for the ages. He proves over and over why choosing him over Jordan Berry was wise. Plus, Wright had a bad game last week, so rebounding in Week 6 was a pleasant surprise.
8 – Generally, after bye weeks with Mike Zimmer in charge, the Vikings bumbled out rusty the game thereafter. Most of the 2022 season is wildly different than Zimmerian tendencies. Let’s see if post-bye-week performance is also on the list.
9 – Harrison Smith’s strip of Jaylen Waddle was tremendous and helped spike a somewhat quiet season for the veteran safety to date.
10 – Patrick Jones was a monster against Miami — probably because D.J. Wonnum missed the game due to illness. The Vikings should use Jones more frequently. He’s a playmaker.
11 – The Greg Joseph misses — whether extra points or field goals — will require comeuppance. Yet, so far, the Vikings, as a team, keep erasing his sins.
12 – Don’t buy the tickets yet, but the Vikings are rapidly tunneling toward a home playoff game. It would be the second in the young history of U.S. Bank Stadium. You might remember the miraculous other one.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).