Minnesota Vikings Week 5 Postgame Reaction: Close-Out-A-Game-Aphobia

CAMERON DANTZLER. JUSTIN JEFFERSON. That was this entire game in a nutshell. I mean, it was a strong first half from everyone for the most part. The second half is where I take exception. Even then, the Minnesota Vikings eked out another close win against the Chicago Bears 29-22. A nice drive by the offense (somewhat of a rarity after the second half) was almost completely undone by a defensive meltdown until Cameron Dantzler quite literally stole the ball from the hands of Ihmir Smith-Marsette. What made the two halves such mirror opposites? Why did this game have to be another heart-stopper?

As always, it’s time to start this analysis with the offense. For the first 30 minutes, the Vikings offense was completely unstoppable. Justin Jefferson had over 100 yards before the half was over, and at one point Kirk Cousins was 17/17, breaking the franchise record for consecutive completions. K.J. Osborn and Adam Thielen both had at least four catches, which is better than it has been in previous weeks. Dalvin Cook has another strong game with 94 yards on 18 rushes. I feel like the biggest issue with this unit in the second half was the play calling. Early on, especially in the redzone, there were a multitude of different plays to keep Chicago on their heels. After the half, though, it feels like everything got really linear. The Bears often ran a single high safety look, and Minnesota never really took advantage of that. You have numerous deep threats on this team, but you can’t find them consistently when the opponent’s scheme is directly benefiting that style of play? A bit concerning, at least for me.

Defense is almost the same story as the offense. Deep into the second quarter, the Bears were down 21-3. Tell me how they came out of the half with a full head of steam and took the game back? I see a lot of issues with this team in terms of hustle and tackling, which is something that absolutely should not be a topic of concern for a team that’s currently in the division lead. For stats, Dantzler had eight tackles, as well as the game-sealing fumble recovery. There were only two sacks for Minnesota today, one for Danielle Hunter and one was split between D.J. Wonnum and Za’Darius Smith.

Special teams had an outlandishly bad game. Greg Joseph missed both of his field goal attempts, Jalen Reagor fumbled his only punt return (he picked it up though, and also caught his first touchdown with the Vikings), and Ryan Wright’s only punt was for a measly 15 yards. A standout sloppy performance for sure.

This team, although a win, can serve as an example of how not to close a game. This franchise is incredibly well-versed in not being able to put a match away, and this game was another prime entry into that list. There were obviously some clear positives from this game, but there’s also tons of takeaways and teachable moments to make this team a more formidable opponent.
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