|Photo Courtesy of Vikings.com|
After leaving Monday Night Football with an ugly loss, the Vikings quickly got back on track in week two. A quick start and a solid defensive performance fueled Minnesota to a 26-16 win over the Detroit Lions.
Updated: September 20th, 2015 7:25pm
By: Daniel House
After leaving Monday Night Football with an ugly loss, the Vikings quickly got back on track in week two. A quick start and a solid defensive performance fueled Minnesota to a 26-16 win over the Detroit Lions. Adrian Peterson carried the ball 29 times for 134 yards, and added an additional 58 yards through the air. Teddy Bridgewater found his rhythm, while completing 14 of his 18 passing attempts for 153 yards and a touchdown. He also added another score on a 1-yard touchdown scamper. The Vikings defense rebounded and kept the Detroit offense in check for most of the game. After allowing 230 rushing yards last week, the Vikings surrendered just 38 to the Lions running backs. Not to mention, they forced three turnovers, including two fumbles and an interception by defensive end Justin Trattou. The defensive line got after Matthew Stafford and notched one sack, along with eight quarterback hits. In fact, Stafford had x-rays after the game on his upper body. All three phases of the game were executed much better and it led to the Vikings being victorious in their first divisional contest.
Offense gets off to a quick start
The Vikings offense started the game with an 11-play 75-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 5-yard Kyle Rudolph touchdown reception. In my game preview, I said getting into a rhythm, while quickly scoring was one of my keys to a victory. The Vikings offense did that and it allowed them to control the tempo of the game. Teddy Bridgewater got into a groove and it opened lanes for Adrian Peterson to gain yardage. This team isn't structured to play from behind and when they can go into cruise control, their offense begins to flourish. The offensive line didn't play a perfect game, but they managed to protect well enough for Bridgewater to complete passes down the field. However, Teddy made some fantastic plays with his legs and extended his time to find receivers down the field. Good quarterbacks find a way to make plays when their backs are against the wall. Teddy did that by extending plays and making a few throws into tight windows. He had more confidence and it showed in the way he performed during today's win.
Peterson gets it going on the ground
After struggling in the first game of the season, Adrian Peterson got himself going in the early stages of today's matchup. He looked less tentative and made some good rushes towards the sidelines. Peterson still is a bit uncomfortable out of the shotgun, but it seems like he will get better with more snaps. Some of the rust came off this week, but the bigger concern for me was ball security. He fumbled three times, but recovered two of them. All of them came in the red zone and that definitely isn't something that can happen every week. However, you can't complain when Peterson carries the ball 29 times and accumulates 192 total yards. He found his rhythm and will continue to improve as he shakes off more rust. Rushing for 199 yards as a team is something that can really open up this offense for Teddy Bridgewater.
Defense forces three turnovers
This week, the Vikings defense looked like a totally different unit on the field. They managed to force and recover two fumbles and Justin Trattou added a fantastic interception near the line of scrimmage. Adrian Peterson put some balls on the ground, but only one of them was lost. If the Vikings can consistently win the turnover battle, they will receive great field position. In turn, that gives them a distinct advantage over their opponents. Today, the turnovers were at very pivotal moments of the game and helped turn the momentum in the Vikings' direction. The secondary gave up 286 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Xavier Rhodes made several great plays in coverage, while Captain Munnerlyn was picked on quite often. However, they didn't give up the big play and that was the difference in the game. Detroit never moved the ball particularly well and that was because of a group effort among all players on the defensive side of the ball.
Interior gets a great push
Linval Joseph might have played one of his best games in a Vikings uniform. He was getting a massive push up the middle and showed some fantastic physicality. Joseph was pulling off blocks and causing disruptions on a frequent basis. He forced some runs to the outside and it caused the plays to be strung out. Tom Johnson, Shamar Stephen, and Sharrif Floyd all did their jobs and cut many plays off that were almost extended. You could see these players had a chip on their shoulders to gain redemption. It rubbed off on the entire defense and holding Detroit to 38 rushing yards is a testament to how much this group improved. Even if it was a small sample of runs, it's still progress after the defense allowed so many rushing yards last week. They weren't burned on backside runs and both Everson Griffen and Brian Robison performed better. In fact, Robison in particular really caused some disruptions. By the end of the game, he was getting chipped often to slow him down. As an entire defensive line, it was a huge step forward.
Vikings run defense is stout
As I already mentioned, the Vikings run defense was very strong in this matchup. Detroit only ran the ball 16 times because they had limited success in the early stage of the game. The Vikings got off to a great start, which forced the Lions to pass more than they probably anticipated. The linebackers stayed in their lanes and the defensive end contain was improved. The interior of the defensive line was getting a great push, which in turn helped plays become over extended. Eric Kendricks saw more action because the Vikings were in nickel more. He missed a few tackles, but still initially looked to be in good position. Anthony Barr was very disruptive and really did a great job in the gaps. All of these players contributed to the Vikings success against the run and pass. It was a full team effort on defense and that's a good sign for this group.