Snap Reactions after Vikings-Steelers
From a suggestion by a reader, we author a “snap reactions” weekly piece detailing thoughts and analysis after a Minnesota Vikings game.
This will be off-the-cuff, a wee bit “random,” and hopefully insightful.
- While much of what you will read this week will be frustration over the Vikings nearly coughing away another lead, Minnesota did actually close the thing out — and that’s all that matters. If one disallows any chatter about “what if” on Greg Joseph missing the game-winning field goal in Week 2 because “in the end, they lost,” well, one cannot harp on a game’s “what-ifs” in the near-collapse versus Pittsburgh. Otherwise, that person is hypocritical.
- Dalvin Cook’s heroism, gutsiness, and downright mind-boggling performance with two bad shoulders should be remembered in Vikings history for a long time.
- Ask yourself — do the Vikings win that game without Cook? Probably not. He and Mattison are emphatically not interchangeable.
- K.J. Osborn had more receiving yards than Justin Jefferson. Bet you didn’t know or see that coming.
- One of these games — perhaps against Chicago in Week 15 or Week 18, Minnesota will click and finally trounce a team.
- It’s a true toss-up on who was the player of the game on defense. Eric Kendricks had 11 tackles, one sack, and two tackles for loss. But Harrison Smith tallied five tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, and the game-deciding pass breakup.
- Hats off to Jordan Berry for drilling the final punt inside the five-yardline. Last year, that type of clutch punting (or any special teams) was totally nonexistent.
- If you care, the Vikings all but knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs. In a crowded AFC wildcard race, the Steelers, at 6-6-1, now have a 9% chance to make the January dance, per FiveThirtyEight.com.
- On the other hand, the Vikings climbed about 10% in the same metric, now possessing 35% odds to reach the NFC postseason.
- When players like Patrick Peterson, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Michael Pierce, and Dalvin Tomlinson return to the lineup — as they did on Thursday night — it’s fascinating and unsurprising how much of an impact star-studded players make. Ordinarily, when one mentions a litany of injuries, the statement is met with, “Bah humbug. Those are excuses. Every team is injured.” As it turns out — playmakers matter.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).