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AJ Mansour’s Musings: Vikings/Texans a Recipe for Success?

KFAN’s own AJ Mansour finds a Recipe for Success, Delicious Crock Pot Houston Texans! ?

If your life is anything like mine, there’s almost certainly someone in the picture that is constantly spamming your inboxes with recipes that they’ve found on the Internet. Maybe it’s your wife, sharing a post from a “mommy-blog” she found on Instagram, maybe it’s your mom shooting you Deloris’ latest concoction from the church cookbook. Perhaps it’s you, you’re super trendy and stumbled upon some fancy Keto recipe on Tik Tok. Regardless of where it comes from, my life right now is inundated with recipes and people telling me exactly how to get a bunch of random stuff put together to make something delicious.

 

Right now it’s the fall season so many of these recipes contain keywords like “crockpot” or “slow-cooker” and needless to say, most of them sound delicious. Once you get past the fancy presentation and window dressing, most all of these posts follow the same outline. First, a descriptive paragraph about some of the recipe highlights, next a heartfelt memory that this recipe made them think of, and then finally, below four ads and a bunch of fluff is the recipe.

 

Don’t ask me why, but In a way, this is what I witnessed on a football field in Houston this last weekend. So, in honor of that special someone in your life that floods your DMs with Internet recipes with you this blog highlighting the win for the Minnesota Vikings this weekend will be presented in the same format as all those recipe blogs…oh boy! I present to you, the recipe for a Vikings Win, and Delicious Crock Pot Houston Texans!

 

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Sunday’s 31-23 win for the Minnesota Vikings over the Houston Texans really had everything that a Vikings fan could have wanted, well almost everything. Looking back at the game plan you can see that there were heavy doses of the high powered offense we still hope this could be. We saw the tried and true connection of Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen pop back into the fold to the tune of 8 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown. The sweetness of the air game was balanced off with a heavy helping of the run as Dalvin Cook racked up 130 yards himself and found the endzone two times in the afternoon. Then, to continue with the trends, the addition of Justin Jefferson continued to sweeten the entire offering with his second big week in a row, this time 4 catches for 103 yards.

 

It reminded me of the good old days where these Vikings offenses could attack you both on the ground and through the air. I’m talking Cunningham/Moss/Smith, Culpepper/Burleson/Moss, Peterson/Peterson/Peterson, and Keenum/Thielen/Diggs…ahh, the good old days.

 

For the 2020 Minnesota Vikings, Sunday’s game showcased exactly what they needed to do on the football field to win, and highlighted exactly what was missing for them to actually do it against a good team.

 

If Minnesota wants to enjoy the sweet taste of victory again this season, they’ll need to continue being balanced on offense. When this team is balanced, Dalvin Cook is involved in the game plan. Last time I checked, keeping maybe your most talented offensive player engaged in the game plan is a good thing to do.

 

They’ll need to continue spreading the ball around through the air. Thielen still commanded ten of Cousins’ twenty-two pass attempts but after that the plan included Jefferson, Rudolph, Cook, Ham, Johnson and Smith as well.

 

If they want to accomplish both of the things highlighted above, they’ll need to get out to early leads. For some reason this team freaks out a little bit and abandons their gameplan at the first sign of panic. Even if it’s in the first quarter, if they go down by two scores they move away from Cook and focus on quick passing, that means focusing Kirk’s tunnel vision on Adam Thieln, and we’ve seen that doesn’t work well.

 

You also need to keep mixing a splash of offensive creativity into the mix. Preferably shaken, not stirred. This team, this offense, led by Gary Kubiak is not going to be the Kansas City Chiefs with crazy innovation, they’re not going to be the New Orleans Saints with a gamblers attitude, but that doesn’t mean that they have to sit back and be boring week in and week out. Honestly, we’ve seen too much of this under the current regime. It’s time to take some chances, use what the nex-gen stats are telling you and pull something out of your back pocket from time to time to keep the opposition honest. In my humble opinion, this recipe could use a little more of that.

 

Another thing that the Week 3 winning recipe was lacking was defense, pretty much across the board. I understand that Harrison Smith was ejected in a surefire penalty, but questionable ruling, I get that they bent (all day long) but didn’t break, I know they held tight on the final drive and prevented a score…but that was barely. And it was the second week in a row that the opposition stormed back in the 4th quarter, moving the ball at will against this defense. If there’s anything that’s clear about this team it’s that whether you blame it on injuries, free agency, COVID or the Easter Bunny, this is no longer the same old Mike Zimmer defense that we’re used to. They’re too young, to inexperienced and too unproven at this level to run the schemes that used to work for Zim and the Vikings…so you’ve got to change it up somehow.

 

Take a long hard look at the mix you’ve got going out there right now for defense and figure out what’s good about it. Then figure out what it’s lacking. Finally scheme up a few formations that can thrive, highlight and build off of those attributes. Maybe it’s simplification, maybe it’s added aggression, I’m not entirely sure. What I am sure about though is that if you continue yielding more than 31 points per game to your opponents, you’re not going to win more than you lose.

 

So the way I see it, here’s your ideal recipe for success for this Minnesota Vikings football team, fresh with my own ad libs, secret ingredients and additions.

 

  • 2 Parts running the football with Dalvin Cook

  • 1 Part Adam Thielen

  • 1 Part Justin Jefferson

  • 2 Scoops of TE involvement

  • One heaping spoonful of Eric Kendricks and Harrison Smith

  • 1 Strip of Yannick Ngakoue

  • A pinch of creativity to shake things up

*86 the turnovers, 86 the one-dimensional offense and 86 Aaron Rodgers having all day to pass in the pocket and you should be successful.

 

Throw all those ingredients into the crock pot on Sunday afternoons at 12pm, run on high heat until 3pm and voila! Just like that the Vikings are back to their winning ways.

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AJ Mansour

AJ Mansour is the digital content director for KFAN in the Twin Cities, the self-appointed king of initials as well as one of our Vikings Insiders.

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