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.
Dalvin Cook continued to be the thorough-bred that may take the Vikings to the ultimate winners-circle but Alexander Mattison showed once again that he's a capable Robin when called upon. The offense does change somewhat when the Bronco subs in since he isn't as dynamic catching screen passes but as he showed again tonight, he can be just as tough to tackle as his college's mascot would be. But before Mattison took the reigns, it was the MVP candidate who was making Washington players look silly. I'm not saying that he soaks in baby oil or a similar slick yet invisible substance but I'm also not saying that that doesn't happen. For the sake of continued running-game dominance, I'll chalk it up to some of the worst tackling in the NFL but I'm open to other possibilities to explain how evasive Cook continues to be.
After a first half that was reminiscent of the last two outings, the Vikings defense put Washington into a straight-jacket from which not even Houdini could have escaped. Over the final 30 minutes of play, all that the dark red could manage was less than 70 yards and 3 points. With the baby-bye now on tap, hopefully the brain trust can figure out how to get the defense to put up sub-100 or 150-yard performances in first halves. If they do that then 12-4 would become conservative! Tonight's lock-down defense was a step in the right direction but this particular good can be better.
For the fourth time in the last five games, Stefon Diggs broke the century mark. After Dalvin's continued tear it was maybe the most expected outcome against the rebuilding. That it came without Thielen commanding attention does make it more impressive then it otherwise would have been.
Exercising the Demons
Add the "can't play in primetime" narrative to the scrap heap as Kirk Cousins was on fire. He did start slow and he did not throw a touchdown but an 88% completion rate with some of the throws that he was making is a hot show. I'm of the mind that the gameplan was at it's most simple and without one of the number 1 options, I'm not holding the touchdown goose egg against him.
Next up - primetime against a top team. The Cowboys may still technically be a top team in two weeks so he won't have to wait long to dispell that one as well.
It was only fitting that in one of Adrian Peterson's last visits to the house that he was once imprinted upon that there would be a fumble. One mistake wasn't going to cost the Vikings the game this time but I still can't wrap my head around the propensity of this team's stars always having the dropsies. First it was AP then Kirk had fumbling trouble as recently as earlier this season and now Diggs is picking up that role. It's always something but it's even more inexcusable then missed kicks in my opinion.
Every Viking fan knows about the Gary Anderson season. Most focus on the way it ended, and understandably so, but how nice would it be a to have that consistent of a kicker nowadays? Well, Dan Bailey is starting to look like a similarly excellent season is in the making. He was 5/5 this week including a picturesque field goal from 50 yards. If it does turn out to be an Anderson automatic season the rest of the way, I'm going to enjoy it. Who knows, maybe the playoff ghosts will finally be dispelled when that time comes!
It's not an all-encompassing write-up of the pros and cons from the latest game but I think these are the main takeaways from the victory!