Monday Impressions: A Stressful Season-Saving Win

Well, nothing really comes easy for our Vikings. We beat the Panthers 34-28, bringing our season record to a modest but respectable .500. Obviously, this has been the goal since we dropped down to 1-3. The concerning thing is that we’ve had to have two clutch games in Week 5 and 6 to make the 3-3 record come to fruition.

Here are your Monday Impressions.

The Offense

1) Kirk Cousins was clutch. Here is what Zimmer had to say about him: “I don’t know – you guys (in the media) know all the stats on second-half comebacks or fourth-quarter comebacks and all that stuff, but I know that he’s done an awful lot. Even since that New Orleans game down in the playoffs, he’s done this continually now. I think that breeds a lot of confidence in him in some of the 2-minute drills. We talked about going some 2-minute during the game today, too. We weren’t on the ball a couple times, and we didn’t really go 2-minute. But he’s been really successful at it.”

2) Before the game, I advocated for much more Adam Thielen, arguing that targeting him early and often would lead to positive results for the offense. Thielen accumulated 11 catches for 126 yards and a TD.

3) Dalvin Cook looked fresh out there. Like the rest of us, I have concerns about him being so injury prone. When he is on, though, he is a game-changer. He still needs to be more involved as a pass catcher.

4) Christian Darrisaw did reasonably well. Carolina’s front seven is legit, so it’s not like he had an easy matchup. So far, there’s been seemingly nothing but praise for our rookie LT, at least according to the social media experts. I imagine opposing DCs will be able to identify ways to attack him, but we have reason to be enthusiastic about our pair of tackles.

5) Klint Kubiak can still get more out of this offense. We missed two two-point conversions. We could have made the missed field goals easier by gaining more yards. We committed far too many penalties. We still need more play action.

The Defense

1) Dalvin Tomlinson and Armon Watts had strong games. When Pierce returns, Minnesota will have a deep, powerful group of DTs to rely on.

2) Patrick Peterson had his best game as a Viking. I know the Carolina receivers made life easier by consistently dropping passes, but Peterson still had a nice game. He did much, much better against Moore than I thought heading into the game. Let’s hope he was simply cramping at the end of the game rather than dealing with something more serious.

3) The late defensive collapse obfuscates what was otherwise a really strong defensive performance. Mind you, allowing Sam Darnold to look like Tom Brady at the end of the game is reason for concern. Zimmer has plenty to work on with his guys.

4) I’m still not convinced Bashaud Breeland ought to be our starting corner. His opening interception was a good play, though.

5) Is there anyone on the trade market who would help this defense?

The Special Teams

1) To my untrained eye, Stephen Weatherly is to blame for the pressure up the middle on the blocked punt. Carolina had a defender loop back around to the A gap. Weatherly got caught double teaming a Panthers defender, thus leaving a massive lane for the blocked punt.

2) Zim again defended Greg Joseph following a critical missed FG (X2). He pointed out that the wind was really strong, so it was tough kicking. Fans can decide for themselves how much they put into that excuse.