S or N: Kings Showed Up
The classical definition for Slobberknocker is a literal hard hit. I'm going to play off that somewhat in a more figurative manner. While in contrast, and maybe more obviously, the Naw's are things that shouldn't have happened and/or need to change.
There's no justifiable way to discuss much of what the historical Vikings did as anything but reprehensible. Their domination of the many places that they went was far beyond mere conquest. That's the downside of the Minnesota Football moniker. This year's team has seemingly & finally figured out how to be that dominant without the atrocities. The one thing they haven't shown is that they can get a win on the road against an elite team but after Philly & Detroit that's the only box that needs to get checked. It doesn't make up for the performances in Green Bay or Chicago but three going on what should be a fourth impressive performance in a row is a trend that does ease the frustration that those generated. There's a lot of specifics to get into but really, the whole squad deserves the leadoff lauding!
Kirk of the Spartan clan did it again. Against an escalating foe, for the third week in a row, #8 delivered a superb performance. I dare say that this was his best day of play while wearing the royal colors. Four scores to four different receivers with an additional 142 yards to Diggs is superb. How he distributed the ball today was splendid. Angry Kirk is a great Kirk. Now that he's done it three games in a row it's possible to start calling it a trend, which may be the most exciting part!
The Chef was in
Dalvin was a close second to best player status for the Purple today. The handful of times when he was in a position where most running backs would lose yards, he danced his way through the small spaces to prevent negative plays and even gain yards were the best part of his game again this afternoon. He also showed, for the first time against a playoff-caliber team, that he can handle an Adrian sized workload. He got 21 rushes against NYG but that's a different class of team so it was a very positive development today!
On Olabisi Johnson's & CJ Ham's touchdowns the play call was almost identical. Going with the wrinkle of the player on the receiving end being different is a direct credit to Kevin Stefanski & the offensive coaches. Another wrinkle was called in on a dive hand-off that also went the way of Ham. And today wasn't the first time that they started mixing up some of the play calls that way but it was the most notable which bodes well for the rest of the season!
Filling the Void
It's a bit redundant but worth mentioning how everyone seemed to pick up the slack after Thielen went out. Unlike two years ago when the whole team went into a tailspin after Cook's ACL, they barely skipped a beat. It goes to the larger theme that this team has found it's mental fortitude to a degree that it hadn't had before. No one should want the Laker to miss time but it was encouraging to see all the guys that can pick up the slack when one of the main guys goes down!
Our Daniel Boone
Danielle Hunter made it seven sacks in seven games so far and add to his record-setting performance, with another game to tack on even more before his birthday. For those who are unaware, he's got the most sacks of anyone in league history before their 25th birthday. The guy is still only 24! In other words, he hasn't hit his physical prime yet, if you believe the sciences. Only one of the top 10 sack seasons in recorded league history was younger than 25 and he'll be enshrined so Hunter is already in great company and has a chance to finish as one of the best ever. It was a small step and one of the only bright spots on an otherwise below-average day by the defense but merits mention all the same.
Two of the quality performers today for the defense were Trae Waynes & Mike Hughes. Waynes had the big play to end the game with kneel-downs by the offense while Hughes continued to just play well. With the long-tenured CB from Florida State continuing to be a liability, having those two play up to their ability is vital!
Less than a handful of good performances can't make up for what was a bad showing by the overall defense today. They were torn apart by Detroit. With nearly 450 yards given up and the four scores to Marvin Jones, it took everything the offense did in order to win today. Which does reflect well on the O but means that more work needs to be put in for the team to be amongst the best and finish as the final victors.
It's not an all-encompassing write-up of the pros and cons from today's game but I think these are the main takeaways from today!