The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions 28-19 on Sunday.
By Jordan Wright
In the first quarter, it looked like it was going to be a long day for the Vikings, but Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings defense stepped up, took control and never looked back.
Matthew Stafford and the Lions started the game hot, racking up 160 yards in the first quarter and jumping out to a 14-3 lead. Stafford was able to connect with Calvin Johnson and Eric Ebron for gains of 46 and 55 yards respectively. When the Vikings defense wasn’t giving up big plays through the air, they were allowing Detroit to run the ball five times for 41 yards, which is surprising, considering the Vikings held Detroit to only 38 yards on the ground in their first meeting.
If the first quarter belonged to Detroit, the rest of the game belonged to Minnesota. From the start of the second quarter, until three minutes and 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Vikings out gained Detroit 363 yards to 5—yes, you read that correctly. Bridgewater had a tremendous day, completing 25 of 35 passes (71 percent) for 316 yards and two touchdowns. He was one yard short of matching his career high, which he set last year against the Falcons in his first career start. Adrian Peterson had a health scare, suddenly appearing on the injury report (illness) the day before the game. However, he was able to play and ran the ball 19 times for 98 yards.
Defensively, the Vikings did a wonderful job of limiting the high powered Detroit offense. Seemingly every defensive player was able to get to Stafford, as the Vikings had six players who combined for seven sacks and 13 quarterback hits. Minnesota also held Detroit to only 77 yards rushing, including a goal line stand in the fourth quarter when Detroit had a first and goal at the Viking’s one yard line. Eric Kendricks had a phenomenal game in his second career start. Kendricks was second on the team with six tackles, and he led the team with two sacks, three quarterback hits and three tackles for a loss.
The game ball for the player of the game could’ve gone to a number of players. Bridgewater had one of the best games of his career, and there were a number of players on the defense who were under consideration. But this week, and for the second week in a row, the player of the game is Stefon Diggs. Diggs led the offense in targets (9), receptions (6) and yards (108). Through three games, Diggs has 19 catches for 324 yards. Diggs is the first Minnesota rookie to have back to back 100 yard games since Randy Moss in 1998.
This week, the “player who could use the most improvement” will be split between six players. I’m not sure if the blame falls more on Peterson or the offensive line, but the running game is not where it should be. Peterson had a nice run for 75 yards, yet was caught from behind by a defensive end. Watching that run, it became clear to me that Peterson has lost a step. While the long run was nice to see, Adrian’s other 18 carries only netted 23 yards, good for 1.3 yards per carry. I didn’t see any holes being opened up for Peterson, so I am also putting this on the offensive line. Hopefully the Vikings can get this turned around once John Sullivan comes back.
Looking ahead, the Vikings play the Bears in Chicago next Sunday, November 1. Chicago is currently 2-4 on the season but will be coming off their bye week so this game is not a “gimmie”. In points allowed per game, Chicago is dead last in the league, allowing almost 30 points per game. If Minnesota can contain Matt Forte and put pressure on Jay Cutler, they should be able to walk out of Soldier Field with a win.