4 Vikings Saved the Day Against Carolina
The Minnesota Vikings went into Week 4 desperately needing a win after their 0-3 start to the year.
It seemed like they were on track for another loss throughout much of the first half of the game, going into halftime trailing 13-7. However, the tides quickly turned in the second half, led by an onslaught from the defense that allowed 0 points over the final 30 minutes of the game, and Minnesota escaped with a 21-13 win.
In the aftermath of the game, here are 4 Vikings who saved the day for Minnesota this weekend.
S Harrison Smith
Yesterday was Harrison’s 163rd career regular season game in the NFL. It may have also been the very best game he’s played of his 12-year career. The 34-year-old safety turned back the clock to the tune of 14 tackles, 3 sacks, and a forced fumble that changed the tides for the Vikings.
Entering this season, Smith’s career-high for sacks in a single season was 3, and he tied that in 60 minutes yesterday. Brian Flores’ scheme has utilized Smith all over the defense, and his performance on Sunday was fantastic.
WR Justin Jefferson
Minnesota’s offense had a rather forgettable day on Sunday, but once again, Justin Jefferson showed up when he was needed most. The Vikings star receiver caught six passes for 85 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Honestly, it was a relatively down day considering what he had done through the first three weeks of the season, but at the end of the day, the Vikings needed both of his touchdowns in order to win this game.
OLB Marcus Davenport
Week 4 was Marcus Davenport’s first substantial workload of the season after playing just four snaps over the first three weeks because of an ankle injury. The outside linebacker was an instant boost to Minnesota’s pass-rush. He recorded his first sack in a Vikings uniform, and on just about all of the other sacks throughout the afternoon, he found himself in the mix despite not getting credit for them.
The Vikings have desperately needed a pass-rushing presence opposite of Danielle Hunter this season, and as long as he can remain healthy, Davenport is capable of doing just that for Minnesota.
OLB D.J. Wonnum
Smith’s strip-sack was the play of the game for Minnesota, but it wouldn’t have meant nearly as much if D.J. Wonnum hadn’t been in place to scoop the ball up and return it 51 yards for a touchdown. The rotational pass-rusher hasn’t had the greatest start to the season, but yesterday was a great improvement.
Wonnum recorded 4 tackles on the day, and he had his own sack along with the fumble recovery. With Davenport back in the lineup, there should be much less attention being given to Wonnum by opponents. This could lead to more production in the future as well.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.