Pros & Cons: Game 3
I'm going to start going with a different format for the recaps of the Vikings games. The more stars listed next to a particular play or item will correspond to the great or disgusting nature. Since we're 3 - 0 I'm going to keep the celebration going and start with the pros.
Is it too cliche to say everything? Yeah it probably would be and there are some negatives but sincerely, the entire second half was positive ****
******************Winning! Going 3 - 0 for the first time since 09 is the main take away. We didn't just win the game though, we dominated one of the best teams in the NFC! We aren't going to get any better then that this year. 12 - 4 or better is certainly back in play with the way that defense is operating
*******Adam Thielen. He had as good of a catch as we will see in any game this year. Not in terms of overall impact in the game but just in beauty and difficulty. He doesn't play in New York so it won't get as many looks as a particular one handed catch has gotten, but was every bit as good!
******Everson Griffen. Wow! Three sacks in a game was awesome! Sure, the whole defensive line treated the highly regarded Panthers offensive line as turn styles but he took it to another level. I didn't hear til after the game that he was ill and actually went to the locker room briefly but that only takes it to an even higher plain of supremacy.
*********Sacks. Eight sacks in a game. None of the websites I visited had records of most sacks in a game by the Vikings D-Line but I can't imagine many games with more then what we just saw. And they were against Cam Newton who is absolutely one of the toughest QBs in the league to take down. It's gonna be amazing to see these guys operate against some non-mobile quarterbacks!
******Marcus Sherels. I've liked this guy for years now and I'm glad each season when he's on the final roster. The A-topic is his punt return touchdown, which he did while going seemingly untouched. The thing that I think was actually the best part of his game today was seeing him lined up against Kelvin Benjamin. That dude is huge. Not breaking news with that but seeing him next to Sherels and still resulting in an incomplete pass was pretty awesome!
****Tom Johnson. Any time an interior defensive lineman gets his hands on a football it's time for all eyes to get on the TV. He literally rumbled, bumbled and stumbled. As a result I'm not watching ESPN tonight cuz I don't feel like hearing Boomer say it. Next time, if there is a next time, hopefully he just falls after the catch. Good thing the Tennessee Bandit was there to pounce on the ball when it fumbled!
*****Kyle Rudolph. I'm generally not a fan of Rudy's. I don't think he deserved the contract he got but more games like today and that opinion will be proved inaccurate. 7 for 70 and 1 touchdown will go a long way to making this offense as dynamic as possible!
*****Interceptions. I could label this as Trae Waynes but he wasn't the only one who finished the pick and his wasn't the most impactful either. But he is making plays. NFL.com doesn't have him with a recorded INT last year, but I thought he had one late in the season. In any case he's gone consecutive games with one and hopefully that continues! Even better then his though, I think that Newman's was the best of should have been four interceptions. If Sherels had finished his, I think his would have topped the list. This defense is starting to make plays from every level and the interceptions are the clearest indication of that progress!
I'm sure there were other positives to take away from the game but now seems like the right time to transition to the Cons. Again, the more stars the worse it was.
******Blair. Ugh. I'm trying to stay positive with him but missing PATs can't happen. If he went 100% on kicks from 50 and out it wouldn't make up for missing the gimme's! He hasn't cost us a game and hopefully he won't but Priefer and Co. need to figure out what is going on!
******End of first half procedure. With the last sack of the first half that Griffen had, there were 50 seconds on the clock. At that point the Vikings had time outs and with a good punt return easily could have closed out the half with points. Instead they just let the clock run and basically scrapped the half. It's entirely possible that Zim just wanted to get the team into the locker room to ream em out, but he squandered an opportunity to get at least three points. Conspiracy theorists may say something about it being a demonstration of their lack of confidence in Blair but at least take the shot because the first half was kind of a dumpster fire offensively. Which brings me to my next point.
***********First half offense. Just abysmal. They had 34 net yards. That gives me a migraine. The fact that we were only down two points at the break is a testament to the defense but that's the kind of performance that we were getting from so many of the QBs over the last few years. Coming off a good to great performance last week, it was all the more disappointing.
*******Running game. Jerick had some nice runs but neither of them looked much better then Adrian has over the last two weeks. Can't say that Ronnie Hillman will bring an upgrade but I can't imagine him being less competent.
****The Offensive Line has a part in the bad performances. The holes just don't seem to be there. Then we lose the high priced Guard yet seemed to be not worse for the wear. Maybe that means Sirles is better then anticipated or that Boone isn't as good. We'll know more eventually, in the mean time, the line is not better then it was last year. Allowing two sacks against the Panthers defense is a silver-lining but that can only be stretched so far.
*****Wide Receiver depth structure. Diggs and Thielen are great players. We know who Jarius and Cordarrelle are at this point. I for one, can't figure out who Johnson is but he hasn't performed up to requisite status of a guy who is automatically active on game days. So get Treadwell in pads. It doesn't matter how much he actually sees the field because every little bit will help his progress.
There were other things that I would classify as neutral elements to the game - CP's playing gunner, Sam Bradford's second half, etc. What do you guys think? Did I miss anything? Am I seeing things clearly or do you have a different perspective on any of it?