The Vikings had several things go wrong for them on Sunday against a bad Jaguars team, but they managed to squeak out a 27-24 overtime victory. Bad special teams play, missed tackles and costly turnovers have been a common theme for the Vikings in 2020, and all of those bad habits continued in their win on Sunday.
As hard as it is to imagine this Vikings team playing in January, they survived today and kept their playoff chances alive. Dan Bailey missed two extra points and a potential game-winning field goal, showcasing how poor the special teams unit has been as a whole this season. If Bailey would have made any of those kicks there’s a good chance this game would have been won in regulation.
The Vikings’ defense has lost some of their biggest contributors already this season and they had to play without the heartbeat of the defense on Sunday. Eric Kendricks was ruled out right before kickoff and it was clear the Vikings missed him in both run support and pass coverage.
Even though the win was ugly there were still several positives that came from their win over the Jaguars.
Justin Jefferson continued his campaign for Offensive Rookie of the Year, hauling in nine catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Jefferson surpassed Randy Moss for fifth-most receiving yards by a rookie through 12 games and is the only rookie in Vikings history with five 100-yard receiving games.
Adam Thielen also continued his stellar season of finding the end zone, hauling in eight receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. Dalvin Cook never seemed to get going, so it was critical Thielen and Jefferson helped push the ball down the field. Cook finished with 120 yards after only averaging 3.8 yards per carry.
Kirk Cousins had another solid day but started the second half off on the wrong foot. He threw a pick six to Joe Schobert on the first offensive play after halftime but managed to end up with another 300-yard performance.
He faced pressure all day, and was sacked four total times, but Cousins finished the day completing 28 of his 43 attempts for 305 yards and three touchdowns.
The offense has proven that they can hang with some of the big dogs of the NFC, but the defense the Vikings played with on Sunday isn’t going to have much success against a playoff roster. Mike Zimmer needs to address the tackling issue ahead of their showdown with Buccaneers if he wants his team to have a legit chance at coming home with a win.
It should be noted that the Vikings are playing without several defensive starters, and the Kendricks loss was a big one. The defense didn’t play great as a whole, but there were a few players that helped determine the outcome of the game.
Cameron Dantzler put together one of his best performances of his rookie campaign, finishing with four tackles, an interception and a forced fumble that he also recovered. Although he did have a couple questionable plays in pass coverage, Dantzler is starting to emerge as the team’s top cornerback with one month left on the season.
The Vikings started with the ball in overtime and had an ugly first series, but the best veteran left on the defense saved the day. Harrison Smith intercepted Mike Glennon in overtime, giving his team the chance to put the game away.
This isn’t a win that the Vikings should feel great about, but a win is a win in the NFL. Even if the Jaguars are a part of the #TankForTrevor movement, they gave the Vikings everything they could handle on Sunday.
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