Snap Reactions the Day after Vikings-Lions

Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end D.J. Wonnum (98) celebrates a sack of Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (not pictured) during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-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. The Vikings pushed the “a win’s a win” slogan to the brink of legitmacy against the Detroit Lions. Indeed, they needed to exit U.S. Bank Stadium with a 2-3 record, setting sights on the Carolina Panthers in Week 6. But how they won was the least satisfying method imaginable. Eeking out a victory over an 0-4 team at home leaves fans with “I guess…” feelings.
  2. Offensive conservatism only really worked for the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. Like, ever. It doesn’t work for average defenses that were good a few years ago. And the Vikings offense was hitting on most cylinders as recently as three weeks ago in Arizona. What the hell happened to the playcalling?
  3. If you believe Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins were closer to a fight than an honest-to-goodness celebration at the end of the game — respectfully, you need to reevaluate your opinion.
  4. Slowly and quietly, Minnesota’s defense is jelling. They’ve allowed the ninth-fewest points through five games while showcasing the sixth-best defensive group per Pro Football Focus. It just doesn’t feel like it sometimes.
  5. Even if Christian Darrisaw stunk yesterday — he didn’t — he should receive the bulk of LT1 snaps hereafter. If healthy, it is time for the 1st-Rounder to show if he’s the real deal. His bottom floor is likely akin to Rashod Hill’s current performance. He will learn nothing watching from afar as a traditionally bad offensive line does traditonally bad things. Darrisaw was drafted to help improve the trenches. Let the man help.
  6. We’re due for a K.J. Osborn resurgence game. The Vikings WR3 displayed his toolkit in the first few weeks before Minnesota embraced offensive conservativism. Let Kirk Cousins throw, allow Osborn to profit.
  7. Patrick Peterson improves within Zimmer’s system each game. If the Vikings can make this season a worthwhile one — by, you know, merging the productive version of the offense with the recent defense — the Peterson move will pay off when it’s needed most.
  8. Cousins led a game-winning drive, and the kicker drilled a game-winning field goal — both items salivated over by Vikings fans for years. Somehow, the win was still a humongous meh. Stranger gridiron things couldn’t be scripted in screenplays.
  9. Remember, Minnesota was without Michael Pierce and Cameron Dantzler on Sunday. Those two men should vastly improve on an already-good defensive showing from Week 5.
  10. While you’re reading this, a pivotal moment in Vikings history awaits. The team can rally around the Joseph moment, capitalizing on the momentum of a squeaky triumph. Or — this win over Detroit can be a true indicator the team simply isn’t very good. If it’s the latter, we’re in the final months of Mike Zimmer’s tenure.

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).