Minnesota Vikings: Week 5 Boom or Bust

Week 4 boom: Dalvin Tomlinson – HIT
Week 4 bust: Camryn Bynum – HIT

Once again, the Minnesota Vikings provided plenty of positives and plenty of negatives in their Week 4 victory in London. While the Vikings are yet to play consistently over the course of an entire game, they have shown that even underwhelming performances can result in wins. This week, the Vikings host a divisional opponent for the third time this season, and hope to come away with the same outcome as the previous two.

Boom: Danielle Hunter
Danielle Hunter is off to a slow start this season, tallying only one sack through four games. However, Hunter should feast this week against a terrible Bears’ offensive line. Chicago has allowed 16 sacks, tied for second worst in the league, which is absurdly high for a team that passes the ball far less often than anyone else. Justin Fields has gotten sacked on about a fifth of his dropbacks in 2022, which emphasizes how horrendous the Bears’ pass blocking has been. Despite the Bears’ heavy ground attack, Hunter should excel, as he is one of the league’s best run defenders at the edge position. His slow start should fuel him to be at his best this week against an opponent he can certainly take advantage of. Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell has discussed how valuable of a player Hunter is this week, so expect for Donatell to scheme looks for him which set him up for success.

Bust: Kirk Cousins
The Vikings’ inconsistencies have been evident in Kirk Cousins more often than any other Viking. Fortunately for the Vikings, Cousins has performed well late in games, allowing Minnesota to come away with back-to-back wins in Weeks 3 and 4. However, in each of those games, Cousins was far from spectacular. Cousins hopes to lock in as he has in previous years around midseason, but his Week 5 matchup could restrict that. The Bears rank in the top five in passing yards allowed and their pass defense has only given up three touchdowns while intercepting passers four times. Part of these numbers is the fact that the Bears have one of, if not the worst run defense in the league, which should encourage the Vikings to run the ball more often than they have. Lastly, this will be Cousins’ second appearance against Matt Ebeflus. In their only previous duel, Cousins had one of the worst games of his career, completing 11 of 26 passes for no touchdowns and three interceptions. If Eberflus can replicate any bit of that success, Cousins is bound to have major challenges.
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