“In terms of overall yardage, Diggs and Thielen have a slight lead over some of the other more vaunted wide receiver duos in the league. Of course it’s not all about stats, but making clutch plays when it really matters, even putting your body on the line in order to get that extra couple yards to get a first down. They do these things each week. Diggs and Thielen can certainly count themselves among the league’s top three wide receiver duos.”
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For today's edition, Vikings analyst and podcast co-host Mike Coenen discusses the Vikings 27-17 victory over the Cardinals, the good and bad of Kirk Cousins, the continuing upswing of the Vikings defense, and more.
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The Vikings took awhile to come alive in their 27-17 win against the Cardinals, finally essentially putting them away in the third quarter. Does this concern you at all, or do you think that they just didn’t come out as strong because they knew they were playing a weak opponent?
The Vikings certainly did not blow the Cardinals out, but they did keep them at a safe distance all afternoon. The Cardinals defense is actually pretty good. Coming into last Sunday’s game, they were giving up around 21 points a game, which is not great, but is very respectable in today’s high scoring NFL.
After the Buffalo debacle, the Vikings were not going to make the same mistake and look past a team they were favored to win against by double-digits. That said, it was a very “workman-like” performance on their part. Not bad, but not great, either. But certainly better than a tie.
Latavius Murray had a career game, running for 106 yards, receiving 60, and scoring a touchdown. Is this a trend or a mirage? If Dalvin Cook continues to deal with injuries or gets re-injured, are you confident that Murray is good enough to help the Vikings offense stay varied enough to succeed?
Latavius Murray rushed for over 1,000 yards for the Raiders in 2015, and had over 800 this past season with the Vikings. He is a quality back who is more than capable of being the featured runner in the Viking’s offense. He is not the pass catching threat out of the backfield that Dalvin Cook is, but he is a solid runner who can carry the running load for the Vikings if Dalvin Cook is unavailable.
Kirk Cousins had a decent game, going 24 for 34 for 233 yards and a touchdown. However, he did have seven passes batted down, a lost fumble, and an interception. Are you still confident in him, or are you afraid at all that his foibles will haunt him?
Like a lot of NFL quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins has a big ego. This past Sunday’s performance will not haunt him. It might serve to motivate him, but it certainly will not make him less confident, nor will he play scared because he is now fearful of having balls batted down or fumbling. Last Sunday’s game is far back in Kirk Cousin’s rear-view mirror by now. He is thinking about the New York Jets and their porous defense.
Is there a better wide receiver combination in the NFL than Diggs and Thielen?
In terms of overall yardage, Diggs and Thielen have a slight lead over some of the other more vaunted wide receiver duos in the league, like Brandin Cook and Robert Woods of the Rams, and Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Steelers. Of course it’s not all about stats, but making clutch plays when it really matters, even putting your body on the line in order to get that extra couple yards to get a first down. The three above-mentioned receiving duos are the league’s best, and they do these things each week. It would be hard to rank them and say who’s the best. However, Diggs and Thielen can certainly count themselves among the league’s top three wide receiver duos.
The Vikings defense looked good for the second week in a row. Is this because they were playing a mediocre team, or do you think that they’ve gelled and will continue to play well throughout the season?
The Viking defense looked pretty respectable. They were playing against a rookie quarterback in Josh Rosen, who was only making his fourth NFL appearance, so nobody should get too excited.
Nonetheless, they shut the Cardinals down when they really needed to, and had Rosen confounded for most of the day with their constant pressure and what sometimes appears to be a bevy of unscripted defensive schemes that seem more sand-lot than they do something coming from a playbook. Unfortunately, they lost top draft pick Mike Hughes for the season with a knee injury, further depleting an already scant secondary, which will hurt them down the stretch.
Again, the Viking’s defense is not great, but they are pretty good. If they can keep teams under 24 points a game, the Vikings should win.
Mike Coenen is a writer, historian, professor, and author from Little Falls, Minnesota. He is the Vikings analyst for Rambling On and is the co-host of the Minnesota Sports Ramble podcast. Since 2016 he has been creating content for Rambling On as sports analyst and podcast co-host.