Vikings Need To Get On Win Streak Again For Playoffs
Written by Tony Schultz on November 6, 2019
Everything was going quite nicely for the Purple and Gold for 4 weeks. All their previous problems seemed to be worked out and the internal bickering appeared to cease. Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Stephon Diggs were thriving as Kirk Cousins was flawless in October and even earned NFC Player of The Month. Going into Kansas City the Vikings were looking good after coming off a win on Thursday night and having a long stretch until the trip to KC. The Chiefs were missing MVP Patrick Mahomes at the quarterback position and had several other injuries. The stadium was filled with Vikings fans as The Skol Chant was just as prevalent as the Chiefs fans’ Chop chant during the game. You could hear the Vikings fans cheering “RUUUUUUUUUDY” when Kyle Rudolph scored. It was great! The Vikings should have been able to simply keep running the ball – as the Chiefs have struggled stopping it and not let backup journeyman Matt Moore beat them. Instead some old tendencies popped up.
Defensively the Vikings were playing pretty well. Xavier Rhodes has become somewhat of a liability this year after having a stellar season two years ago. He actually wasn’t too bad this week. Others though did not step up and shutdown the rest of the Chiefs wide receivers and tightend Travis Kelsey. The defense wasn’t awful and actually really came on strong near the end of the game sacking the Chiefs out of scoring range on one of their final stands. What was disappointing is that in the game they had Kansas City stopped and backed up several times, but then gave up a big play to let them keep drives alive. The back breaker was a missed tackle by not one but both safeties on a Damien Williams run. Harrison Smith was running across the field trailing Kelsey and found himself in the gaping hole that Williams was running through. He couldn’t slow down in time to stop him, but directed him back at Anthony Harris who stumbled to the ground and Williams was gone for 91 yards. Ouch. That was only the SECOND rushing touchdown the Vikings have allowed all season. It was the worst one though.
Kirk Cousins has been on fire the last month or so, but he cooled off a bit in his last outing. He did throw three touchdowns, and they all came on third down. However, he missed several open receivers as he adjusted to the swirling winds in the stadium. He was the least of the Vikings problems that day. Kirk did what a quarterback should do when he’s struggling: just don’t be the reason why they lost. He had zero turnovers and didn’t fumble. He was just around 50% on his completion percentage and Thielen went out of the game with an aggrevation to his hamstring injury that he suffered a few weeks ago in Detroit. The Chiefs wisely double and triple teamed Diggs, but Cousins found Cook, embattled wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, Bisi Johnson, and tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith. So he wasn’t the reason they lost. The offense, while stunted was effective for the most part. The only time the offense looked bad was on the final drive as the Vikings mostly had to milk the clock and maybe have to kick a filed goal to seal the game. The calls by the coaching staff became very predictable and put Kirk and his offensive teammates in a bad situation. If your kid is struggling to do math you don’t sign them up for an advanced class you put them in a situation to be successful and gain confidence. Offensive coordinator Kevin Stephanski and assistant Gary Kubiak instead had the offense run plays that were doomed from the start and merely marched them backwards. Then Britton Colquitt, in an attempt to keep th ball away from Tyreek Hill shanked his punt off the left side of his foot for twenty seven yards and giving the Chiefs a short field. They got what they need for Harrison Butker to kick a last minute field goal and send the Vikings home with the loss. Sure, the offense could have performed better, but the coaches needed to identify what would work and what wouldn’t and they guessed wrong.
Next up the Vikings travel south to take on the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. We all know the narrative on Kirk Cousins against winning teams and in primetime games. Not good. The Cowboys though have had their own struggles losing to the lowly Jets and a good number of their wins have come against teams that won’t even sniff the playoffs this year. This game has playoff implications for both teams as the Vikings are currently fighting to stay in the Wildcard slot and the Cowboys hold first place in the NFC East. Neither can afford to lose this game – more so for the Vikings who could have gained a game on the division leading Packers who lost to the Chargers this last weekend. If the Vikings can get a couple game win streak going before the bye week that would be great as they spend the month of December mostly in the comfy confines of US Bank Stadium and could be back to full health all around. It starts this Sunday and everyone needs to be in the right position to win this game. Coaches, offense, defense, special teams maybe even the fans need to show up to get things back on track.