Eight Thoughts on the Vikings’ Win Over the Saints


Questions Answered: Sunday's Turning Point, Challenge Flag, Next for Cine?
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) talks with New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Thankfully, Wil Lutz wasn’t able to replicate his sensational long field goal to send the game to overtime. The double doink – as Minnesota’s twitter so eloquently stated – sealed the win for the good guys. By getting a win over the Saints, the Vikings sit at an impressive 3-1.

However, it’s safe to say that this team still has room to improve. Indeed, the team hasn’t looked dominant from Week 2 to Week 4. They’ve still been able to pick up a pair of wins in that time, so things haven’t been disastrous. Nevertheless, Minnesota could be better. How do we make sense of yesterday’s game?

Unpacking The Vikings Win Against the Saints

1) Is the Kirk Cousins/Kevin O’Connell Connection Strong?

By no means am I suggesting that there’s conflict between the two. Instead, I’m merely suggesting that Minnesota’s QB1 hasn’t played particularly well. In London, Kirk Cousins finished his day with another round of average statistics: 25/38, 273 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.

Now, he deserves credit for putting together two-straight game-winning drives. In critical moments, Cousins did what he had to to secure the win for his side. His late pass to Justin Jefferson was fantastic.

Nevertheless, he hasn’t looked quite right so far. We see it in the moments when the ball is just a touch off with his receiver. We see it when the play clock rushes toward zero and the offense is still getting sorted out. Hopefully, the Week 7 bye gives the team the chance to get things crisper on offense. Until then, it’ll be a Bears game that should (emphasis on should) be an easy win before a Week 6 game with the Dolphins.

2) The Za’Darius Smith/Danielle Hunter Pair Need to Be Better

In fairness, Smith did have the 1 sack yesterday. Piling up a combined 4 sacks through 4 games isn’t good enough, though.

Coming into the season, I predicted they’d combine for 30 sacks in 2022. They’ll need to put together some dominant games to get there.

3) The Penalties Helped Minnesota

According to the NFL game book, the Vikings picked up 5 first downs off of penalties in their win over the Saints. New Orleans, in contrast, didn’t get any first downs through penalty. The one that really stands out – as my podcast partner suggested earlier – is the Tyrann Mathieu one at the end of the game. Folks, I don’t think that was a penalty.

4) Cameron Dantzler Can Play

The young corner is a good corner. In fact, I think there’s a pretty strong case that he’s their top corner.

He has good length and physicality. He regularly contests catches and has always been a strong tackler. If he keeps progressing, Dantlzer will begin getting recognition for being one of the better corners in the NFL.

The key will rest in staying healthy and eliminating the major mistakes. If he does so, Dantzler can become an excellent player.

5) Kicking Fear

How many Vikings fans said “here we go again!” when Greg Joseph missed the XP? I imagine the Will Lutz 60-yarder made matters even worse.

6) All is Forgiven, Mr. Joseph

That being said, Joseph had a nice game. He went 5/5 on his field goals, including one from 47 yards to win it toward the end.

We can – and should – forgive the missed extra point, especially since he won it for the Vikings at the end. Nevertheless, we’d all welcome a little less stress in our lives moving forward.

7) The Fake Punt = Awesome

More trick plays on special teams, please (especially ones that work).

8) What We Need to See in Week 5

The Bears, frankly, are not a good football team.

Now, I recognize that they’re a division rival and more than capable of creating challenges for Minnesota. Even still, I think many are expecting a victory.

Currently, Justin Fields is completing a bit more than 50% of his passes. He has a pair of TDs and 4 INTs. He had 11 completions in Week 4, but he previously hadn’t completed more than 8 passes in a game (as Josh Frey pointed out to me).

Put simply, there is no way the Bears ought to be in a close game with the Vikings. Getting to 4-1 – and 3-0 in the division – needs to happen. I’m looking for a decisive win.

Questions Answered: Hitman Status, Darrisaw as the Real Deal, Where Was Cine?


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