The overtime victory against the rival Bears on Sunday was a positive step for Vikings fans that just wanted the team to prove they still know how to win football games, but a step back for those that want to see the Vikings nab the first overall selection of the 2014 NFL Draft.
The mixed emotions about this win don’t end there, though. A win is a win, but this was not a pretty one, and there is certainly a great deal of things we saw on Sunday that were beyond worrisome. I’ve decided to split the difference and will look at five things I liked and five things I didn’t following the 23-20 victory.
1. Matt Cassel Shows Stones
When Christian Ponder had to exit early it was Matt Cassel, not Josh Freeman, who was dressed and ready to take the reigns. Cassel came in as a reserve, but played in a way that should clearly give him a leg up in the quarterback conversation in Minnesota. He went 20 for 33 and a touchdown. His lone pick was not his fault in the slightest, as tight end Rhett Ellison bobbled a perfect strike, and it really should have ended up being a second touchdown on the statline. The only reason it wasn’t a touchdown for the Bears, by all appearances, was Cassel’s hustle as he chased down linebacker Khaseem Greene after he returned the ball for 49 yards. Cassel may not be the starter next week against Baltimore, because no decision regarding this team ever seems to be the obvious one, but he showed up big after the Vikings offense netted just 16 passing yards through the first half with Ponder at the helm.
2. Nobody Does It Better
Much was written about Adrian Peterson’s greatness Monday, after the future Hall of Famer broke the 10,000 rushing yard threshold Sunday, but I’m so in awe of his everyday accomplishments that I can’t even begin to put into words how prolific his career has been thus far. Peterson ran for 211 yards on 35 carries (6.0 yard average) against the Bears and seemingly willed the offense down the field at times, including moments in the fourth quarter and in overtime, and you just know he is the still a player that makes his team a competitor week-in and week-out. Even when they are a bad team.