This was not a good looking win by any means but the Vikings are finding ways to win even the ugly games this season. They were able to salvage a win in a game that could have easily been lost without some exceptional plays. Here are my immediate takeaways.
1. Vikings’ Offense Starts the Game On Fire
The Vikings’ offense looked nearly unstoppable as they scored TDs on each of their first three drives. They got out to a 21-3 lead a little way through the second quarter. with two rushing TDs by Dalvin Cook and a receiving TD by Jalen Reagor.
2. Vikings’ Offense Falls Asleep Behind The Wheel
They may have started the game on fire but the offense was not able to score again until the 4th quarter. After their 3rd drive, they punted, missed two FGs, and Cousins threw an INT. The Bears end up scoring 19 unanswered points to get the lead 22-21 in the 4th quarter.
3. Justin Jefferson Continues To Shine In 1st Half
Justin Jefferson continued his domination of opposing defenses in the 1st half of this game with 10 catches for 138 yards. He also completed a 23-yard pass to Dalvin Cook. Like most of the Vikings’ offensive players, he cooled off significantly in the second half with only two catches for 16 yards.
4. Dalvin Cook Comes To Life
Dalvin Cook was very efficient throughout the game with 18 carries for 94 yards and two TDs. His two TDs came on the Vikings’ first two drives of the game. He also was on the receiving end of that 23-yard pass by Justin Jefferson.
5. Irv Smith Made Some Plays
After several significant drops through the first four weeks of the season, Irv Smith redeemed himself a bit today with four catches on five targets for 42 yards. He had two catches for 28 yards on the Vikings’ final TD Drive.
6. Special Teams Unit Goes From Hero To Zero
Greg Joseph, who had gone five for five on FGs against the Saints in London, went 0 for 2 on FGs this week. He made all three of his PATs but was not as locked in as in previous weeks. Ryan Wright did not look good on his one punt of the game either, which only went for 15 yards. Jalen Reagor also fumbled his only punt return of the game, fortunately, he was able to recover it.
7. Kirk Cousins Gets It Done On The Ground, Kind Of
His rushing statistics were not impressive with four carries for a total of four yards but he was able to get a TD on a nicely executed QB sneak. He also was able to get a 1st down on a play where he sensed the pocket closing in around him.
8. Justin Fields Put Together A Decent Game
While his statistics were not impressive, Justin Fields did what he could to keep the Bears in this game after getting down 21-3. He finished the game 15 of 21 for 208 yards through the air and added eight carries for 47 yards. The main issue he had in the game was that he fumbled the ball twice and his receiver Smith-Marsette fumbled the ball at the end of the game.
9. Cairo Santos Was Solid
He went three of three on FGs and made his lone PAT as well. He kept the Bears within striking distance toward the end of the game before the Smith-Marsette fumble.
10. Dantzler Seals The Vikings’ Victory
Cam Dantzler provided excellent pass coverage all day long. He led the team with eight total tackles and it was his forced fumble on Smith-Marsette that sealed the deal in this game. He also made a very smart decision by choosing to slide after he recovered the fumble, instead of risking a fumble himself.
It was great to see the Vikings’ offense start the game with such fire and intensity but it would have been nice to see them maintain that intensity better. However, a win is a win and now the Vikings sit atop the NFC North with a 4-1 record.
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