Oh boy. Well that wasn't much fun.
I mean it was, then it wasn't and then it wasn't again...
For the second straight time playing the New Orleans Saints the Minnesota Vikings got off to a fast and impressive start, only to implode with self-inflicted mistakes along the way as Drew Brees and his compadres picked apart the Vikings defense. Last time, it took a miracle to recover and walk away victorious. This time around there was no such miracle.
It was an imperfect game, by an imperfect team and on this night the opposition was able to take advantage and profit directly off of those imperfections.
Below, are some of the most common knee-jerk reactions stemming from SNF versus the Saints...
I like Kirk, I really do, but he's not perfect...
Man do I like me some Kirk Cousins. I mean the dude is obsessed with LOTR (my favorite movies), his favorite band is Switchfoot (mine too) and he he's really, really good at football. But that doesn't mean he's never going to make a mistake.
Heading into Sunday Night's game, Kirk was one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league this season. And that really didn't change this time around either. He finished the day 31/41 passing for 359 yards and 2 TDs, a passer rating of 107.7. But it was the one SUPER costly interception and nearly another turnover on a strip sack that was called back that changed the momentum of everything. And yes, I can already hear you all screaming "the pick wasn't Kirk's fault". I get that, but my problem isn't necessarily with the throw. There's something internal that led to the pick, it led to the near fumble earlier in the game and we've seen it lead to sacks time and time again in which Kirk doesn't get rid of the football or evacuate the pocket when he should. Sure, it's easier said than done, but right now where he's at that's a struggle.
...but he's still worth every penny of the $84 million...
Despite what I just said in the bullet point above, I still love Kirk Cousins and there's no doubt in my mind that so far he's been worth every. single. penny. of that $84 million fully guaranteed contract he signed to join the Vikings.
Already we've seen him win games for the team, nearly win games for the team and he's dropping crazy stats left and right. He's second in the league with 2,521 yards passing through 8 games behind Patty Mahomes, he leads the league with 128 first down passes and he's got a season long 102.4 passer rating.
He's putting this team on his shoulders, coming up big in spots where his team need him and coming through more often than not.
The Vikings defense did a pretty good job...
If I were to have told you that the Vikings would play the Saints and at the end of the game Drew Brees would only have 120 yards passing, Alvin Kamara would have been stopped for only 45 yards and Ingram would get stuck at 63 yards...we all would have thought that the Vikings would have won by double digits.
Unfortunately if you mix in a costly fumble that handed the ball over deep in your own territory and a pick-six interception and you have a 30-20 Saints victory that slipped right through your fingers.
The Vikings had a plan to slow this high powered Saints offense and they executed it pretty well. New Orleans is known to be creative, tricky and sneaky. They hardly fooled the Vikings all game. Really, there was only one play on the Wildcat pass from Taysom Hill that surprised the defense. Outside of that, the defensive line was in the Saints backfield most of the day and the pressure up front forced Drew Brees to do something that he almost never does by throwing an interception.
Good to see Diggs bounce back under the spotlight...
For all intents and purposes, this was "Diggs Week" after last year's "Minneapolis Miracle". While he didn't want to talk about the miracle throughout the week, Stefon was clearly preparing for a big game and a bounce back performance after two nondescript games in a row.
It wasn't a big talking point because Thielen was blowing up, the team was winning and Diggs was being a professional about it but the Vikings highly paid wide receiver was struggling to have as big of an impact on the games as you know he would want. Two weeks ago it was 3 catches for 33 yards, last week it was 8 catches for 33 yards, couple that with five straight games staying out of the endzone and you've got a mini midseason struggle.
Well, Stef splashed last night on SNF with all eyes on him. Clicking with Kirk, Diggs reeled in 11 passes for 119 yards and a TD last night against the Saints and had even more of an impact if you're going to factor in some of the distractions that he caused to get his teammates open as well.