Vikings vs Saints. Here’s The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
No...your'e not in the matrix. It's not a dream. The Vikings actually won today. They pulled off a huge, overtime, playoff win in New Orleans. A place where they haven't won in over 10 years.
Going into this game, the Saints had been red hot. The combination of Brees, Thomas and Cook had been practically unstoppable. I know because that trio helped me win a fantasy football championship.
Leading up to the game, I heard from quite a few Vikings fans that they not only felt the Vikings were going to lose, but that they were going to lose badly. Given how this team had played the last few weeks, I understood their feelings.
Now, while I agreed that there was a good chance the Saints would win this game, I felt it was going to be a much closer game than some people thought because the Vikings and Saints games usually are. At least in recent history they have been and the Vikings seem to give the Saints a good game.
So I'm super happy that I get at least another week of the GBU. The dream is of course to keep doing this until February 3rd but I digress. Let's get to THIS week's "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly".
The Defense: I don't care about the points the offense scored, the defense won this game. Outside of a couple of Saints drives and a few blunders, the Vikings defense was awesome. They mixed things up on the line with Hunter and Griffen moved back and forth from the outside to the inside and put constant pressure on Brees. They came up with some crucial turnovers and made some big defensive coverage plays at the right moments.
Adam Thielen: Since his return from injury, Thielen has been a non-factor. I said going into this game that he was going to be a major factor. It did not start out well for Adam. He fumbled on the first drive but the defense lessened the damage and held the Saints to a field goal.
Dalvin Cook: You could tell at the beginning of the game that Cook was well rested and fresh. He was running like a mad man. You could also tell New Orleans adjusted at halftime and shut him down in the 2nd half. Going into the half, Cook had 84 yards rushing. By the end of regulation, he had 82. Yep, you read that right. Cook lost yardage in the second half. But he did score 2 rushing touchdowns in the game and had a crucial run in overtime.
Kirk Cousins: I know, the stat line wasn't that great and he made a lot of bad decisions and passes. But he made some really nice passes and big plays at crucial times. Plus, a couple of those "bad" passes should have been caught. Most importantly, he won a playoff game...on the road...in "prime time".
Kyle Rudolph: He didn't have a big game stat wise (4 receptions for 31 yards) but he did have HUGE game in terms of when those catches happened. ....and the last one of course being the game winning touchdown catch in overtime.
Kirk Cousins: Yes, he was on "The Good" list. But, it's not the first time a player has made both. Going back to the bad decisions/passes mentioned earlier, some of those were really bad. There were times he looked confused. He missed wide open receivers, made really bad throws and had no concept of how to even slightly adjust to pressure and just looked like a statue. If the Vikings defense didn't play like it did, it would have been a different outcome.
4th Quarter: The Saints drove down the field at will in the 4th quarter and if it wasn't for the Vikings defense and the strip sack on Drew Brees, that gave the Vikings the ball back halfway through that quarter and holding them to a field goal at the end, it could have been much worse.
Rhodes: I've gotta put something or someone on here (well, not always), so I'm going to the usual fall guy...Xavier Rhodes. While he didn't have a terrible game as far as the "X" goes, he did have a big blown coverage play and then proceeded to do what he does (besides being injured), he complained on the sideline like it was Harrison Smith's fault or whoever else. Does he really deserve to make this list? Probably not, but someone had to make "The Ugly" list so why not him? Given his antics, declining skills and cost, I doubt he's a Viking next season.
The Vikings travel to the "City by the Bay" to take on the 49ers. The game is Saturday and kickoff is at 3:35 pm.
You can hear David Black weekday mornings with ‘David & Alli In The Morning’ on 96.7 The River, Central Minnesota’s Greatest Hits