While allowing 458 yards to the Miami Dolphins, the Minnesota Vikings still drowned their Week 6 foe with defense, if that can be believed.
The Vikings continued a season-long trend of not looking stellar but finding a way to win, downing Miami 24-16.
Minnesota now glares down at the Packers, Bears, and Lions, the owner of a 5-1 record and commanding lead in the NFC North, with a firm grasp on the No. 2 seed in the NFC’s playoff standings. If the postseason began today, the Vikings would host a playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium versus the defending champion Los Angeles Rams, Kevin O’Connell’s former employer.
The Vikings offense played terribly out of the gate, producing three-and-out drives on four straight occasions to start the game. And that naughtiness was a change of pace, as the Vikings have habitually started games hot on offense while falling asleep in the 3rd Quarter.
But on Sunday, Minnesota woke up offensively in the 2nd Quarter, remained on-brand with the 3rd Quarter nap, and dominated on offense in Quarter No. 4, capped by a 53-yard touchdown gallop from Dalvin Cook, who grew up in Miami.
Minnesota was also horrible on 3rd Down, converting just twice on 12 attempts. That’s typically a disaster recipe — for any team — but the Vikings defense blotted out the bad. Ed Donatell’s group recorded three turnovers, which served as total game-changers. Without them, Minnesota probably would’ve lost.
Additionally, the Vikings recorded 6 sacks in a game for the first time in a meaningful game since 2018. They had 7 sacks in the Week 18 contest with Chicago last year, but that NFC North showdown was meaningless aside from draft-order positioning. Particularly in Miami, second-year EDGE rusher Patrick Jones stood out, notching 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, and 3 total tackles. Jones played an enhanced role with D.J. Wonnum out due to illness.
Justin Jefferson had 107 receiving yards in a game that felt “quiet” by his standards. But that’s where the NFL community is at with Jefferson — 107 yards is considered containment.
Ryan Wright boomed a 73-yard punt in 1st Quarter, a special teams haymaker that flipped the field.
The Vikings have a bye in Week 7, resting up for a home game in Week 8 versus the beleaguered 2-4 Arizona Cardinals.
Kirk Cousins threw a touchdown in the 36th straight game, bumping the quarterback to seventh on the NFL’s all-time list of consecutive games with a touchdown pass.
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).