Open & Closed
2016's finally over. The hundreds of losses that teams in this area accounted for are finally and irrevocably in the rearview.
I almost thought that with the Timberwolves winning on Friday there was going to be a false finish. Well the Wild weren't able to pull it out last night so that possibility was put on ice. Now the calendar has flipped and things might be able to get on a less terrible footing, as low of a standard as that is. It began with the most popular team in the area today and they did not disappoint!
The most troubling result of the game was the trouble that the defense once again had with young Jordan Howard. In the two games against Windy the rook put up 337 total yards and one touchdown. That's more yards by the one man then some offenses managed to put up this year. If Chicago is able to improve their offense he could be a big problem for the Purple for years to come!
Only one other thing is acting as a thorn in my side - the score. The offense was able to perform at a level rarely seen this year so that's not what I mean. Likewise, I can't complain too much about the defense letting 10 points get put up for the opponents, especially with the manner in which they were achieved. Yet I was hoping for them to manage a touchdown free game. That's a lofty goal in the NFL, no matter who the opponent is, but I think it can be accomplished by the defense on occasion.
VIKTORY - For the first time since the bye week, using a ten star scale feels too small. I'll probably have to reevaluate the win/loss automatically equaling 10 stars for next year because this one just seemed more impressive.
Whether it was the suffocating nature of the defense or the explosiveness on offense or even a return to form by special teams, every ingredient in the stew blended together well today. Where this performance was for the last few weeks is anyone's guess but I'm done reflecting, it's time to move forward! The Vikings are 1 - 0 in 2017, take that for what it's worth then hope that the glaring issues are strengthened by July! The Crew - After getting demolished for the last two weeks, the defense returned to early season form. The last score of the game encapsulates what they can be next year. Joseph with the strip sack, Barr with the heady play to knock the ball away from the Bear lineman and Griffen with the scoop & score. There's been a lot of talk about Barr's big play absence for weeks and I'm not sure how much one play makes up for it but the whole thing shows what they're capable of, as a unit.
The Offense - On a day where they put up 31 points, the thing I'm most excited for is that the injury riddle might finally have been solved. As I type it, I have a feeling in my gut that in like two weeks someone else will be announced as injured during a workout or maybe just taking a walk. In a year where even the coach can't stay healthy, I don't think I'm being irrational. But on the bright side, the offense did just put up more points today then it had at the end of any game yet this year. So it was a good send off, I think!
Mighty Mouse - Sherels didn't have a touchdown return but he was a step or two from breaking to pay dirt. Of all the things that need to be remembered, I hope that his value is firmly on the list and that his maintenance on the roster is no longer in question.
Mcllusion - In contrast to Sherels, I don't want the fact that McKinnon had a good game to undeservedly elevate his value. I don't think he's going to get cut but he's not the feature back that he seemed to be today either. He had a nice game both rushing and receiving today which should not be under appreciated but it shouldn't be over valued either. It was a good rushing day. Those have been especially infrequent this year so I had to bump it up. It needs to be taken into proper perspective for the illusion that it was though too.