In all the ways that this game could’ve ended, a true double doink isn’t what I envisioned. The Minnesota Vikings highway rob a win from the New Orleans Saints, 28-25. This game was really a back-and-forth. There were turnovers, frustration, and lots of major penalties. Hard focus on penalties. The late flags thrown most likely allowed the Vikings to squeak this one out. So what went right? What went wrong? What was absolutely ridiculous?
The offense was, for the most part, really strong today. Their main issues were finishing off drives in the end zone. Only two touchdowns for Minnesota today, the rest of the scoring coming exclusively from field goals. The offensive line still gets manhandled by N.O.’s defensive line, which is nothing new for this team. After an ugly interception earlier in the game, Kirk Cousins managed the constant uncontested blitzes well with another 250+ yard game along with a touchdown. Justin Jefferson came storming back after being double and triple-covered for the past two weeks with ten catches for 147 yards and a rushing touchdown. Dalvin Cook has a solid game with 20 rushes for 76 yards. Adam Thielen also had a nice game, eight catches for 72 yards. K.J. Osborn had only one catch, but it was a clutch third down conversion. If the red zone scoring can get an uptick next week, it’ll do this team a lot of good. In general, though, I think our offense is on the upswing.
Our defense wasn’t quite as stellar as the offense, especially considering the Saints’ situation coming into this game. No Jameis Winston, no Alvin Kamara, no Michael Thomas, no Andrus Peat. That alone should be something to take advantage of. Instead, this defense allowed themselves to get picked apart by the Ginger General himself, Andy Dalton. This was a Saints offense that was the opposite of healthy, and we barely got out with a tally in the win column. The defensive line didn’t get nearly as much pressure on Dalton as I think they should’ve. The shell defense that we’re forced to play due to age keeps getting exposed by quick receivers like Chris Olave. At the very least, the defense managed to force and recover two fumbles, which resulted in an earth-shattering amount of points on two turnovers: six points. That loops back to the offense, though. Patrick Peterson had a really strong drive with two back to back passes knocked down. Sadly, Lewis Cine was carted off of the field and taken to a local hospital with an apparent leg injury. This is a terrible situation, especially for such a promising rookie talent. I pray that the injury isn’t major and that he’s ok.
Special Teams is getting their own paragraph today because THEY EARNED IT BABY! Greg Joseph, outside of a missed extra point, had a beautiful game with five made field goals, a career high for him. The legend of rookie punter Ryan Wright continues to grow as he tossed a spectacular ball 13 yards on a fake punt to convert a critical fourth down. More strong punting for Wright as well, averaging 42 yards on three punts today, with two of them landing inside the 20-yard line.
As scrappy as this game was, the Vikings snagged the win. There were a few questionable penalties that could’ve easily gone either way, but sometimes that’s just how the game shakes out. A total adrenaline-rush rollercoaster of a game today, as Minnesota gets out to their best start since 2016.