Tuesday, January 31, 2023
HomeSportsWhy everybody thinks the Vikings are frauds within the NFL playoffs

Why everybody thinks the Vikings are frauds within the NFL playoffs


Regardless of ending the common season with a 13-4 document, the Minnesota Vikings are largely an afterthought within the NFC playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles seem like a Tremendous Bowl favourite, the San Francisco 49ers are using Mr. Irrelevant, Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers barely made the playoffs, Dallas all the time will get consideration as America’s staff, Brian Daboll has the New York Giants again within the playoffs, whereas the Russell Wilson-less Seattle staff grabbed the final playoff spot.

Then there are the Vikings, overshadowed by groups with higher information or extra attention-grabbing narratives however because the three seed, internet hosting the Giants this weekend.

With a brand new normal supervisor (Kwesi Adofo-Mensah) and head coach (Kevin O’Connell), many thought the staff could be in rebuilding mode with first-timers in these important positions. As an alternative, Minnesota misplaced to the Eagles in Week 2 earlier than operating their document to 8-1 earlier than a mid-November loss to the Cowboys.

A Week 14 loss to the Detroit Lions regardless of QB Kirk Cousins throwing for 425 yards, two touchdowns, and nil interceptions created nationwide doubt across the staff. A 41-17 blowout loss to the Inexperienced Bay Packers in Week 17 formalized the narrative that the Vikings had been good however not adequate.

How may a 13-4 staff, who in November beat the vaunted Buffalo Payments, be thought of not adequate?

As with every thing within the NFL as we speak, it begins with the quarterback. No quantity of shirtless, gold jewelry-clad dancing will change the truth that Cousins is the poster little one for “not adequate” on the place, whether or not it’s correct or not.

Cousins’s season was largely spectacular on the floor with 4,547 yards passing (4th within the NFL) and 29 touchdowns (tied for fifth). The veteran signal-caller additionally averaged a good middle-of-the-pack in yards per try (7.1). Below Cousins, Minnesota’s offense scored 24.9 factors per sport, good for eighth within the league.

Sadly, it wasn’t all spectacular for Cousins. He tied for the third-most interceptions thrown (14) and sacks taken this 12 months (46).

Superior statistics like DVOA weren’t impressed with the Vikings quarterback this 12 months. DVOA which defines “a quarterback with extra worth per play” has Cousins ranked seventeenth within the league. Professional Soccer Focus graded Cousins’ passing tied for tenth with Geno Smith and his general grade because the 14th-best quarterback within the league.

Very like the narrative round his staff, Cousins was good however not adequate.

Cousins is way from the largest concern on the offensive facet of the ball.

The offensive line is among the many decrease half of the league this season in each move and run blocking, and the 46 sacks fall each on the quarterback and his offensive line. As RB Dalvin Cook dinner rushed for greater than 1,100 yards (sixth within the NFL), he lacked explosiveness a lot of the 12 months as proven by his 4.4 yards per carry.

Whereas the Minnesota offense had a bit of greatness (Jefferson), some good (Cousins, Cook dinner), and a few mediocre (offensive line), the protection introduced the staff again down with quite a lot of the unhealthy.

The Vikings tied for the third-most factors allowed this season at 25.1 a sport. Whereas the offense’s interceptions didn’t assist that quantity, the next-closest NFC playoff staff (Giants) gave up simply 21.8 factors per sport. Minnesota gave up 20 or extra factors in 13 of their 17 video games this season which makes their 13-4 document much more spectacular.

The 4 video games they stored groups from scoring 20 factors present much more perspective if you have a look at the quarterback performances:

  • Week 1 – Aaron Rodgers had one of many worst video games of his profession with simply 195 yards passing
  • Week 6 – With Tua Tagovailoa out resulting from a concussion, Teddy Bridgewater returned from his personal concussion to guide a late Miami comeback after Skyler Thompson’s first profession begin went poorly
  • Week 9 – Taylor Heinicke had simply 149 yards passing in his third sport in reduction of Carson Wentz
  • Week 18 – Chicago began Nathan Peterman as a substitute of Justin Fields resulting in the anticipated outcomes of poor quarterback play. Tim Boyle completed the sport for the Bears

DVOA has the protection ranked twenty seventh within the league.

The unit has some high quality veterans main the way in which. Cross rushers Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith mixed for 20.5 sacks and 27 tackles for loss. CB Patrick Peterson and S Harrison Smith every had 5 interceptions.

After that, discovering manufacturing on that facet of the ball is troublesome. PFF has only one different participant who performed 300 or extra snaps grading out over 80 (out of 100), CB Duke Shelley. Shelley solely performed in 9 video games this season however logged 398 snaps.

The protection was mediocre at stopping the run however one of many worst at getting stress on the quarterback this season in response to ESPN’s win charge metrics.

Fortunately for the Vikings, the staff’s optimistic qualities had been nonetheless sufficient to get them home-field benefit within the first spherical and a rematch with New York. Minnesota pulled off the last-second victory within the two staff’s Week 16 matchup on a 61-yard discipline objective as time expired.

Cousins had a very good sport towards the Giants protection with 299 yards and three touchdowns. He was additionally sacked 4 occasions. The opposing quarterback that day, Daniel Jones, threw the ball everywhere in the discipline that day racking up 334 yards passing with one landing and one interception.

Sunday afternoon, the Vikings have one other probability to alter the narrative round their staff. It begins with Cousins, however the protection that has performed poorly will assist resolve whether or not the third seed within the NFC goes to be feared within the postseason or confirmed to be a middle-of-the-road fraud regardless of their 14-3 document.

Apart from shifting on within the playoffs, so much is on the road for Minnesota Sunday afternoon.

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