Snap Reactions the Day after Vikings-Browns

Oct 3, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) runs the ball against Minnesota Vikings defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson (94) at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

From a suggestion by a reader, we debut a “snap reactions” weekly piece detailing thoughts and analysis the day after a Minnesota Vikings game.

This will be off-the-cuff, a wee bit “random,” and hopefully insightful.

  1. It is absolutely time to start Christian Darrisaw, even if it means he’s a bit unprepared. Rashod Hill is the third-worst OT in all of football through 24% of the 2021 season. His Pro Football Score is 39.3. We’re talking Dakota Dozier-Dru Samia territory. Darrisaw was drafted to grow, mature, and eventually solidify the LT spot for the first time since Bryant McKinnie. It’s time.
  2. There is no reasonable explanation on why Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson — two players individually performing well — cannot stop the run. The Vikings rank 25th in rushing yards allowed. Mike Zimmer is accountable for a fix.
  3. Kirk Cousins has provided three tremendous games and one subpar one so far in 2021. The good, by far, outweighs the bad. Have some objectivity.
  4. Cameron Dantzler ranks sixth in the NFL among cornerbacks per PFF score. All of September was used debating whether to play him. Stop the madness and play him. This is elementary.
  5. Whether the Vikings continue the Zimmer era beyond 2021 or employ someone else — find a way not to squander Justin Jefferson’s rookie contract. A full rebuild would assuredly disqualify the utilization of a discounted Jefferson.
  6. Minnesota must score touchdowns in the second half. That should not have to be typed on the internet. In 2021, they’ve scored a touchdown in the second half once.
  7. Thankfully, the Vikings defense finally arrived. Soon — like this Sunday — Zimmer needs to present a competent offense and competent defense. If they trade off every week, the season is destined for .500 or worse.
  8. Danielle Hunter is second in the NFL in sacks. He’s back.
  9. A Top 1o quarterback — not named Baker Mayfield — would have defiled the Vikings secondary in certain spots of the game.
  10. Put simply, Kevin Stefanski outsmarted his collective group of former employers — from Zimmer, Cousins, on the down the list.
  11. D.J. Wonnum continues to make minimal impact. He played 68% of snap versus the Browns. Everson Griffen produces more in fewer snaps.
  12. The Vikings have created a must-win situation for themselves — in Week 5 — of the 2021 season. It helps that Detroit is on the docket.
  13. Should Minnesota lose to Detroit, “fire Zimmer” talk will be absolutely deafening.
  14. The season should be rectifiable — if the offense and defense can simultaneously get with the program.
  15. The only “easy” spots on the Vikings remaining schedule are the Detroit Lions (twice) and the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers. Everything else is tumultuous.

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).