“And away we f****** go.”
Kevin O’Connell in the locker room after Sunday’s win in Carolina was all Vikings fans across the world after their 21-13 win over the Panthers.
While the win over the Panthers was not the most pretty game I have ever watched, a win is a win. And now we have one. That’s what matters. This group of guys needed something to rally around and believe in. Now they have it. In a season where it seems like no one wants to see the Vikings be good, they finally have a chance to build some momentum.
I admit I still felt like pain might be on the menu again Sunday night after the first offensive possession ended in a 99-yard pick-six, two plays after Justin Jefferson’s touchdown was called back. Starting the game like that is not ideal, but it definitely shows that last year’s magic may not yet be dead.
And along with that magic comes the defense making the game a lot harder than it needs to be. (Terrace Marshall lit it up, Adam Thielen continued his career resurgence and Bryce Young completed nearly 80% of his passes.) However, they were good against the run. I know this because I was starting Miles Sanders in nearly every fantasy league that I had him in and he had 6.2 points. I am never starting him again. He is trash.
Anyway, Justin Jefferson still has game-wrecking potential. Shocking development, I know. He was targeted nine times when Kirk threw the ball 19 times, and look what happened. Six catches, 85 yards and two touchdowns. Nothing absolutely insane, but that is why we won the game. Forget about T.J. Hockenson having only two catches, Jordan Addison going ghost and Osborn being a non-factor. Jefferson is the offense, and if that means sacrificing the rest of the passing game, that’s okay.
However, Alexander Mattison and Cam Akers just might work. 17 carries for 95 yards for Mattison and five carries for 40 yards for Akers is encouraging. Hopefully Dalton Risner will work his way into the lineup and improve the run game even more. Also, I believe Garrett Bradbury will be back next week, so, yay.
Defensively, obviously D.J. Wonnum taking the Bryce Young fumble to the house was a great play and he did a great job to scoop and score that, but who caused that play? Harrison Smith. Our longtime hero on the defensive side of the ball is back. His versatility is a dream for Brian Flores. Whether he lines up at free safety, box linebacker, edge rusher, slot cornerback or wherever else he wants to play, he deserves it. The swiss army knife is the best player on our defense, and he needs to be free in order to unlock his potential. 14 tackles, three sacks, two tackles for loss, a strip sack and the game sealing sack. It is easy to be a prisoner of the moment, but that may have been the best game of the future hall-of-famer’s career.
Apart from Harrison, I want to give a shoutout to Camryn Bynum, who is quietly having a great season. According to PFF, he has an 83.5 grade on the year, good enough to be the eighth best safety in the NFL. In simpler terms, how many times have you been pissed at Cam this year? Not many. But the true X-Factor of our defense for the rest of the year is and will be Marcus Davenport. His impact was noticeable Sunday afternoon, and if he can play up to his potential, he and Danielle Hunter will give QBs nightmares. Additionally, I could gush about Ivan Pace Jr., but I think we are all seeing how good he is.
Okay, so now the Vikings are 1-3, where do we go from here? What’s next? Kansas City. Ooooookayyyyy.
Taylor Swift. Travis Kelce. Patrick Mahomes. Isiah Pacheco. Chris Jones. With all the hype surrounding the Chiefs, I would bet that the Vikings come into the game as at least seven point underdogs. I’m not sure how the Vikings can beat the Chiefs, and Taylor Swift, and the NFL social media team, and the refs. Maybe forfeit is the best option…….
……Is what I would say if I hated my team and wasn’t ready to put my all into figuring out how we can continue to keep our season going. Zach Wilson looked competent Sunday night, and Mahomes looked human. Did you know that that was the first time that Mahomes got completely outplayed in a game? (Statistically speaking.)
The point is, anything is possible. In this league, any given Sunday, anything can happen. That is why I believe that they can do it. The Vikings can beat the Chiefs. For everyone that said that they need to come back down to Earth after all of the good luck we had last year, there is reason to believe that after all of the bad luck we have had up to this point, that we can rise to the occasion and take down the dynasty that the Chiefs are trying to build. We can hope, we can pray, but the game is played on Sunday, so this is going to be a long week. Skol.
Header Photo: AHAHAHAHAHAH I knew we weren’t dead! Alert the media, tell everyone that the Vikings can still go to the Super Bowl! (Rusty Jones/The Associated Press)
Write to Hayden Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org