My hope is that I can turn this into a weekly recurring post that highlights 5 of the biggest plays from the previous game. Yesterday’s game against the Rams wasn’t short of big plays, let’s take a look at the impact of each.
#1: Josh Robinson’s Interception.
Robinson came up big with a very nice pick right before halftime. I’m not sure we’ve seen ball skills like this from a cornerback in a very long time. I believe the Vikings were playing zone here and Robinson does a nice job reacting to the quarterback and uses his athleticism to make a fantastic catch on the sideline. More importantly, this play took place at the best time. The Vikings had come off a series of short drives and the ability to get points on the board before halftime was a game changer in my opinion. Ultimately, Robinson’s play created the momentum that was carried into the 2nd half.
#2: Cassel to Jennings Touchdown.
Coming off the Robinson interception, the Vikings were poised for points with great field position. Up to this short drive, it seemed like the Vikings were continually pinned deep in their own territory. When given the opportunity, Norv Turner took advantage and dialed up a series of plays that ended with this nice touchdown connection between Cassel and Jennings. This score gave the Vikings a 13-0 lead going into halftime and helped set the tone for the rest of the game.
#3: Patterson Touchdown Run.
Probably the highlight you will see the most this week, and for good reason. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson dazzled everyone with this 67 yard touchdown run. What I found interesting with this play was that Matt Asiata was actually lined up as the single back, with Patterson motioning into the backfield from the right. Asiata had already received a handful of carries prior to this play, so the defense assumed that Asiata is in there to give Adrian Peterson a breather. Once Patterson motions to the backfield, however, Asiata becomes a lead blocker and makes an excellent block for Patterson at the 2nd level. Patterson goes on to do his thing and adds yet another play to his highlight film.
#4: Harrison Smith Pick Six.
As reported late last week, Zimmer was assuming the majority of play calling responsibilities for the defense in week 1 and it was awesome to watch him unleash it. Harrison Smith’s interception return for a touchdown ultimately served as the final dagger to a Rams team that already seemed defeated. Smith has proved to have a nose for the end zone and this interception is no different. As everyone has noticed and commented on, how about the speed of Everson Griffen? He wastes no time getting down field to help create a path for Smith to find the end zone untouched.
#5: Everson’s Sacks.
So play #5 is actually two plays, but they happen back to back. Griffen had been relatively quiet for the most of the game, but comes through with back to back sacks on Rams quarterback Austin Davis. At this point in the game, the Vikings had completely taken over and the defense was just creating walls of defenders. Linval Joseph had a nice sack, and Sharrif Floyd played a heck of a game, but Griffen’s back to back sacks stand out to me.
If I had to pick, I think Josh Robinson’s interception was a biggest play leading to the victory in St. Louis. Although it felt like we were in control for the majority of the 2nd half, the 1st half was mostly back and forth with the Vikings stalling on offense a bit. The Robinson interception was crucial from a momentum standpoint and created additional energy on the Vikings sideline. By positioning the Vikings deep in Rams territory prior to halftime, Robinson’s play set the tone for the rest of the game.
I want to hear from you, though. What play do you think contributed the most the week 1 win?