If there were any questions about how good the Minnesota Vikings offense could be, those questions may have finally been answered. In a game where their defense struggled to keep an opponent off the scoreboard, it was the Viking offense that picked up the slack as the visiting Vikings beat the Washington Redskins 38-30 at FedEx Field.
Vikings quarterback Case Keenum led the way as he went 21-29 for 304 yards and four touchdowns but also had two interceptions that allowed Washington back into what was looking to be a blowout at one point in the third quarter. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs outplayed Washington’s secondary that was led by cornerback Josh Norman. Thielen had eight catches for 166 yards and a touchdown, while Diggs went for 78 yards and a score on four catches. Latavius Murray led the ground game with 68 of the team’s 102 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The defense, on the other hand, struggled to slow down Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for much of the day. He went 26 for 45 for 327 yards and a touchdown but also threw an interception as well and took the only sack of the game. Vikings second-year cornerback Mackensie Alexander, picked up his first career interception while Danielle Hunter picked up the sack. The Vikings likely missed the presence of star defensive end, Everson Griffen, who was declared inactive just before game time due to a foot injury.
Adam Thielen was the star of today’s game. He has played at a high level all year and is all but a lock for his first Pro Bowl nod. Against a talented secondary, he had his way with whoever he was matched up on as he had eight catches for 166 yards and snagged a touchdown pass with a defender all over him during the play. Stefon Diggs and the Vikings offensive line also deserve nods here for their top-level performances.
In the grand scheme of things, the Vikings pass defense as a whole was not on their game today. Kirk Cousins had his way for much of the day. The defensive line could not get pressure and the defensive backs could not consistently hold their coverage assignments. This, paired with two Keenum interceptions, led to a much closer game than what arguably should have been. Hopefully the return of Griffen next week will be enough to set things back right with this group, but they did not have it today.
Play of the game
Mackensie Alexander’s first career interception before the half is what helped nearly turn the game into a route. Washington’s offense had just taken the field looking to cut the Vikings lead when Cousins threw a pass intended for receiver, Jamison Crowder. Instead, Cousins overshot him on the throw as it was caught by the Vikings second-year cornerback instead. The Vikings would capitalize on the takeaway with a touchdown, extending the lead to 28-17 going into halftime.
The Vikings head home to play host to the young upstart Los Angeles Rams at U.S. bank Stadium next Sunday afternoon. The Rams lead the NFC West at 7-2 after a 33-7 victory over the Houston Texans earlier today, and will be bringing the NFL’s top scoring offense. These two teams last faced off in week nine of the 2015 season, a game won by the Vikings in overtime 21-18. With both teams being dominant in opposing areas, this promises to be an exciting, if not the best game of week eleven.
– For Sam Smith’s Instant Reaction, click here!
– Clayton R. Brooks II writes for cover32 and covers the Minnesota Vikings. Like and follow @ClaytonRBrooks2. Like and follow vikings32 on Facebook, and Twitter.