Week 1 boom: Za’Darius Smith – HIT
Week 1 bust: Ed Ingram – MEH
In the Minnesota Vikings well-rounded 23-7 win over the Green Bay Packers, most players ended up booming. While this is unlikely to continue, selecting bust candidates for the Vikings could pose some difficulty for the rest of the season. However, going against a strong opponent in the Philadelphia Eagles this week, the Vikings will likely see some players excel and others disappoint.
Boom: Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook has been a focal point of the Vikings’ offense over the last four seasons. With the hire of Kevin O’Connell this offseason, it appears that Cook may receive fewer carries in a pass-first offense. However, Week 2 should be a great opportunity for Cook to dominate and lead the Vikings’ offense as he has in the past. On paper, the Eagles have a loaded defensive line, but their quality of play was far from desirable in Week 1. D’Andre Swift posted his best rushing game of his career against the Eagles, going for 144 yards on only 15 carries. Barring a major improvement in the Eagles’ run defense, Cook could very well put up a similar stat line. Behind an offensive line which excels in run blocking, Cook may see gaping holes like Swift did in Week 1. Both backs depend on their elite footwork and agility, and their similar play styles could result in similar outcomes. Cook’s volume should not be of concern even in a pass-first offense. Justin Jefferson’s phenomenal performance last week should force the Eagles to put much of their attention on the pass, leaving lighter boxes for Cook to run through. The talent on the Eagles could step up and limit Cook, but such a drastic change seems unlikely.
Bust: Patrick Peterson
Cannot guard AJB
Not many players had a more impressive season opener than A.J. Brown, who could cause serious issues for the Vikings’ secondary. As the first defensive snap of the season showed, the Vikings can be susceptible to the deep ball. Patrick Peterson was cooked by Christian Watson for what should have been an easy touchdown if not for a drop. This week, the Vikings oppose a far more talented and experienced receiving core, led by A.J. Brown. Brown tallied 10 receptions for 155 yards against the Detroit Lions, winning routes in a variety of ways. He has established himself as a dangerous vertical threat and contested receiver, which will leave the Vikings’ outside cornerbacks with a handful. The Vikings’ “shell” defense could also play into Brown’s strengths, as he will be given free releases and the opportunity to turn short receptions into big gains with his elite after catch ability. The Vikings would likely prefer for Patrick Peterson to line up across from Brown as opposed to the smaller Cameron Dantzler, leaving the 32-year-old Peterson in challenging situations. At his age, he frankly cannot compete with a player as versatile as Brown and will need help from the rest of the defense. Whether he gets it or not, he could see a sloppy game.