For the second time in four weeks, it was the Mr. Hyde version of the offense that took the field for the Minnesota Vikings. For the second time it cost the team a victory as the Vikings fell to the rival Detroit Lions, 14-7.
The worst news to come out of this game was that Dalvin Cook’s rookie season is over after tearing the ACL in his left knee. The running back was having another great game when he went down. The passing game stalled out again with Case Keenum for the second time in three weeks. He completed just 16 of 30 passes for 219 yards. Vikings receiver, Stefon Diggs, had another solid performance with five catches for 98 yards, but Adam Theilen was limited to 58 yards on his five receptions and had a costly fumble. The offense was ultimately undone by uncharacteristic turnovers as they lost two other fumbles.
The defense on the other hand, held it’s own throughout the game as they kept the team in it. The pass rush came alive in this one as they sacked Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford, six times. Defensive end, Danielle Hunter, recorded his first two of the season after being blanked the first three weeks to lead the way while Everson Griffen added his fifth of the season.
The defense was not without their flaws, however. They struggled to contain Lions running back, Ameer Abdullah, who had 94 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. In addition to struggles against the run, they also missed on valuable opportunities to shift the momentum of the game by dropping at least four would-be interceptions.
The Vikings defensive front had a group MVP-performance wasted in this one. This was by far their best pass-rushing performance of the season as they harassed Matthew Stafford much of the afternoon. Danielle Hunter finally came to life after being relatively quiet the first few weeks. Linval Joseph got in on the action as well. Everson Griffen continued his All-Pro campaign after picking up his fifth sack of the season. This group was the reason the Vikings had every opportunity to pull this game out.
The Vikings offense as a unit takes the cake here. Though he did manage to avoid turnovers himself, Case Keenum was inefficient through much of this game. The offense shot themselves in the foot with three drive-killing fumbles, with Adam Theilen’s coming on the Vikings’ final possession to help seal the team’s loss.
Play of the Game
Dalvin Cook’s touchdown run was the highlight of this game. It featured one of the best run-blocks of the season for the Vikings as the left side of the line opened a large hole to allow Cook to run through practically untouched. It emphasizes just how much progress the offensive line has made coming off one the worst season’s in recent memory.
The Minnesota Vikings will travel to Soldier Field in Chicago to face the Bears in another division rivalry on Monday Night Football. The Vikings have won there just once in their past nine visits, that victory coming in 2015. The Bears announced on Monday that rookie quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, will make his first start this week. He was the second overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft in the spring. The Vikings, meanwhile, will go forward without their star rookie running back and continued quarterback problems of their own, looking to right the ship.
For Sam Smith’s innstant reaction, click here.